Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt warned things could go very wrong in South Africa with a toxic mix of unemployment, absolute poverty, rising food prices, and a looming election.
Roodt told WorldView that the people in South Africa are working on improving the country, but the ANC and politicians are standing in the way of progress.
He said the ANC is making life very difficult for South Africans to do what is needed and is causing damage to the economy in the process.
He highlighted that South Africa has 30 million people receiving an income from the state who rely on this money to survive.
However, the state’s finances are under severe strain, which means it will spend less money on these 30 million people.
With the high levels of unemployment, increased poverty, rising food costs and an election around the corner, he is “very concerned that things can go horribly wrong”.
Roodt previously said he is worried about a recurrence of the public violence and riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng two years ago.
“The economy is not growing. We have high levels of unemployment and poverty, and I am concerned about public violence seen two years ago,” he said.
Numerous business leaders, including Pick n Pay chairman Gareth Ackerman and CEO Pieter Boone, echo Roodt’s concerns.
Ackerman cautioned that the entire food industry in South Africa is under existential threat because of load-shedding and government inaction.
“The probability of social unrest relating to food shortages and possible store closures, if blackouts get too high, is now heightened,” he said.
Boone also warned of food shortages and social unrest in South Africa as load-shedding moves to higher stages.
“I foresee, because of the government’s inactivity, that we will experience a further deterioration of power supply. It is not if stage 8 will occur, but when,” he said.
Boone said if South Africa goes to stage 8 load-shedding, food manufacturing will suffer, and South Africa will experience a food shortage.
“It is no longer a question of pricing, but rather whether you can secure stock to serve your customers,” he said.
He added that higher stages of load-shedding also affect the water supply in many parts of the country.
When people struggle to get food and water, it causes severe social problems and can lead to civil unrest.
“That is my biggest fear – potential social unrest. We cannot afford a second wave of social unrest in South Africa,” he said.