South Africa

South Africa becoming a failed state


South Africa is on the way to becoming a failed state with increasing violent crime, financial recklessness, and poor policymaking putting it on the path to ruin. 

This is feedback from Stellenbosch Professor and Commissioner at the National Planning Commission, Dr Morne Mostert.

Mostert told Newzroom Afrika that if the country does not course correct, it will become a failed state. 

“We are not quite at failing state level. But, one of the scenarios is that should we perpetuate some of our current behaviours – the way we spend money and make policy decisions – a failed state is not impossible,” Mostert said. 

“There are seeds of hope, but the overall trajectory is not what we are looking for.”

Mostert also said that South Africa would be far from the first developing country to face such a scenario, and it is following the path of many that have become failed states. 

One advantage the country has is that thanks to freedoms in the Constitution, it is well-known what is going wrong and what can be done to fix it. 

Mostert said the country needs to undergo a course correction by taking one of the few chances left to avoid becoming a failed state. 

The key shift that must happen, Mostert said, is that the government must begin to listen to expert advice and create policy based on science and research. 

“Our state-owned enterprises and large businesses do not use the astonishing intellectual capital present in our universities today. It presents a huge opportunity for our society.”

The failure to use expert advice in forming policy is due to the government’s attitude towards experts, particularly those who disagree with the country’s policy. 

“We are a tremendously ideologically driven country,” Mostert said. This has resulted in the government having one of the worst relationships with business in the world. 

The government and businesses have a highly contentious relationship, while the relationship between business and labour is ranked the worst in the world. 

This creates a challenging environment for businesses to operate in, despite South Africa asking businesses to solve many of its social ills. 

“Let us remind ourselves that our government is in a formal alliance with a large labour union and a formal alliance, hard to believe in the 21st century, with the Communist Party.”

“Try to do businesses in a world like that,” Mostert said. 


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