Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana revealed that South Africans spend 10% of GDP – around R640 billion – per year to be safe amidst rampant crime and social unrest.
Godongwana told delegates at News24’s On The Record Summit that a World Bank official told him the institution has been tracking how much South Africans spend to be safe in the country.
World Bank’s data indicates that South Africans spend as much as 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP) on keeping safe.
This comes as a response to living in a country with rampant crime and one at high risk of social unrest, as experienced in July 2021.
Earlier this year, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) released the 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI) estimated that violence cost South Africa $176.49 billion (R3.30 trillion) in 2022.
The GPI ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness. It is considered the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness.
The 2023 report tracked 23 indicators distributed over three domains – internal conflict, external conflict, and levels of militarization.
Global peacefulness declined for the ninth consecutive year. The global economic impact of violence was $17.5 trillion in 2022, equivalent to 12.9% of global GDP, or $2,200 per person.
Iceland was ranked the most peaceful country, while Afghanistan was ranked last. South Africa fell by eight places to 130th.
South Africa placed 15th on the Economic Cost of Violence Ranking, sorted by the economic cost of violence as a percentage of GDP.
The cost of violence in South Africa grew by $57.58 billion (R1.08 trillion) between 2021 and 2022. The GPI estimates that the per capita impact of violence in South Africa in 2022 was $2,947 (R55,133.96).
In the Sub-Saharan Africa region, South Africa ranked 32nd out of 44 countries. Overall, Sub-Saharan Africa recorded a slight fall in peacefulness in the 2023 GPI, with the average country score deteriorating by 0.57%.
According to the report, the region is less peaceful than the global average in the Safety and Security and Ongoing Conflict domains but more peaceful than the worldwide average in the Militarisation domain.
IEP Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa Serge Stroobants told eNCA that there had been a clear rise in internal and external conflicts fought in South Africa and the Sub-Saharan region.
He said the IEP has also seen a rise in violent demonstrations and political instability in the region, as well as lower levels of resilience to cope with the impact of this violence.