ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula has warned that South Africa will become a failed state unless certain things are resolved.
Mbalula told the BBC’s HARDtalk host, Stephen Sackur, that South Africa faces challenges like many other countries.
“However, to put us into a category of a failed state is an exaggeration,” the ANC’s secretary general said.
He said the “powerful thinkers in the country” projects South Africa as displaying characteristics of a failed state.
“We are not too defensive to that. If certain things are not resolved, we will become a failed state,” Mbalula said.
However, he added that South Africa was not journeying in that direction and claimed the country was recovering well from its economic challenges.
These challenges include high unemployment, electricity shortages, rampant crime, crumbling infrastructure, widespread corruption, and a struggling economy.
Mbalula acknowledged “some of our own weaknesses in managing the economy well” but defended the ANC’s economic record.
His comments followed warnings from numerous economists and business leaders that the country was heading towards becoming a failed state.
Sygnia founder and CEO Magda Wierzycka said South Africa is already a failed state, and nothing is on the horizon to change the situation.
She said municipalities, which form the backbone of South Africa’s government, cannot provide basic services like water and electricity.
“Besides daily power cuts due to load-shedding and infrastructure failures, the water supply is also becoming unstable,” she said.
MTN CEO Ralph Mupita warned that inaction from the government and business could turn South Africa into a failed nation-state.
“Government and business must act decisively to deal with the quadruple crises of energy, logistics, crime and corruption, and youth unemployment,” said Mupita.
Lumkile Mondi, a senior lecturer at the School of Economics and Business Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, also sounded the alarm.
He said South Africa is coming closer to being a failed state, with national and local governments unable to provide many basic services outlined in the Constitution.
Daniel Mminele, a former South African Reserve Bank deputy governor, Absa CEO, and Nedbank chair-designate, shares this view.
“We are indeed, as many have said, running the risk of becoming a failed state because we’re already on borrowed time,” he said.