(Unfortunately most of this article is true. I pray that South Africa will not become the next Zimbabwe - Roelof)
Apartheid was a terrible crime against humanity. It left people with deep scars, but I can assure you poverty is worse than that,” Rev. Faleni Mzukisi of the Presbyterian Church of Africasaid last October.
“People do not eat human rights,” he said. “They want food on the table.”
An astounding 40 percent of South Africans now live beneath the poverty line.
The exact unemployment rate is contentious. Unions place it at around 40 percent, while official government statistics say it is “only” around 23 percent.
Mining is the single most important employment sector for the South African economy. It is also the most important source of foreign revenue. But with commodity prices plummeting, revenues have fallen, and more job losses could be coming.
And as things are getting darker, the cost of eating is skyrocketing. National food price inflation hit 17.1 percent in December.
HIV infection rates remain high. About 29 percent of pregnant women visiting hospitals are infected, according to a 2007 survey.
Murderers run free too. About 19,000 people were murdered last year—more than 50 per day.
South Africa’s government has shifted radically to the left, according to the Sunday Times. In a move to placate angry voters and cement power, the ruling anc party’s Jacob Zuma is pushing a manifesto largely dictated by the country’s Communist party. Zuma’s election promises, if adopted, could easily bankrupt the country.
The possibly soon-to-be-published new state manifesto is said to call for universal health insurance, free education, increased child allowances, new maternity grants, wage subsidies, an old age savings scheme, subsidized housing for farm workers and military veterans, and free food handouts to all poor families.
Servaas van der Berg, professor of economics at Stellenbosch University, said that just the proposal for a basic income grant of R100 (us$10) would force up marginal income tax rates from 40 percent to 66 percent.
Lest we forget, Zimbabwe used to be even more prosperous than South Africa was at its peak. But then Robert Mugabe set off on his post-colonial reforms, his social programs, his government handouts, and the land grabs. And how did Mugabe pay for it all? First, he redistributed the land in order to fill his coffers and buy favors. When that wasn’t enough, he started nationalizing other sectors of the economy, including some of the world’s richest mines. But that wasn’t enough either. So eventually, he was forced to nationalize and assert complete control over the nation’s reserve bank—that way he could print whatever money he wanted to pay the bills. Unfortunately, that destroyed the value of Zimbabwe’s currency—completely wiping out what little savings his people had left. But Mugabe and his cronies got filthy rich in the process, moving assets offshore, or converting their devaluing dollars into gold or other currencies.
The ANC’s supposed desire to nationalize South Africa’s central bank should be a clear indicator of what is headed in South Africa’s direction: Zimbabwe economics. And that means a Zimbabwe standard of living for the vast majority.