The ideal of South Africa’s rainbow nation might not survive the 2019 national elections, unless a new political coalition allows the private sector to lead the country into economic growth.
This is one of a new set of scenarios explaining how South Africa’s long-term future will unfold, released in the form of a book titled “A Time Traveller’s Guide to South Africa in 2030”.
The book is authored by scenario planner and Institute of Race Relations (IRR) CEO, Dr Frans Cronje, and follows the 2014 publication of “A Time Traveller’s Guide to Our Next Ten Years”.
Kerwin Lebone, head of risk analysis at IRR, comments: ‘’The latest scenarios cut through all the uncertainty confronting South Africa to provide clear answers about how the economic and political climate in the country will change between now and 2030.”
The latest book introduces four brand new scenarios for South Africa, one year after the 2019 election.
The first of these, the Rise of the Right, suggests that the state will grow more powerful and authoritarian and use that authority to force pragmatic economic policies along the lines of the model followed by Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore and Paul Kagame in Rwanda.
Co-inciding with a global economic recovery and commodity price bounce-back, those reforms will take the economic growth rate to record highs and trigger massive new job creation and entrepreneurial activity.
By the early 2020s South Africa emerges as a stable and increasingly prosperous society – a remarkable turnaround that will shape the evolution of high-growth economies across the continent.
The second scenario is titled the Tyranny of the Left. In this scenario, the state also becomes extremely authoritarian, but uses that power not for reform, but to extort wealth out of the tax base and the private sector, while suppressing political dissent and civil rights.
Land and businesses are nationalised and property rights destroyed. In this future the economy will stutter and stumble along, foreign and domestic investment will dry up, and living standards will fall.
South Africa collapses into the grip of a cruel dictatorship and all hope for a better future is lost.
The third scenario is titled The Break-up. In this scenario, the state weakens as the economy stalls and, amidst rising levels of internal conflict, South Africans drift apart into enclaves.
Behind their high walls, the more prosperous enclaves become de facto private countries with high standards of living. But, outside of the walls, the rural poor will fall under the control of tribal leaders, while an emerging gang culture becomes the de facto government in urban slums.
As South Africans turn away from each other, the country splinters irreparably along lines of race and class.
The fourth scenario is titled the Rise of the Rainbow. In this future a broad new political coalition allows the private sector to take the lead in returning economic growth rates to levels upwards of 5%.
As unemployment rates fall, living standards increase, and South Africa emerges, against all the odds, as a free, open, stable, and prosperous society.