There are numerous definitions attached to the concept of failed and/or fragile states. While SA may escape being branded a failed state, there is no doubt it qualifies as being a fragile one, and extremely so.
Fragile states are characterised by weaknesses within their political, social and economic institutions. If they do not fix their state of fragility, they degenerate into a failed state.
Our political structures — from the presidency and the president’s plethora of advisory committees and his over-populated cabinet, to government departments, corrupt provincial and municipal establishments, our farcical parliament, even the judiciary, our National Prosecution Authority and our chapter nine institutions, especially that of our public protector, but perhaps with the exception of the auditor-general — are all exhibiting signs of confusion, indecisiveness, inexperience and incompetence.
Nowhere in our economy is the weakness more exposed than in our state-owned entities, where dithering, corruption, looting, nepotism, BEE and plain stupidity have destroyed the institutions that once were, and should now be, huge value generators for our economy. The provision of housing, education, health care and basic services in our country falls way short of that expected of a capable state.
The real tragedy of our fragile state lies in the refusal of the ANC-led government to recognise that among the SA citizenry there exists a vast pool of expertise, competence, experience and desire to get us out of this shambles, but which is ignored and sidelined by the ANC for their own arrogant, self-important and self-serving racial purposes.
This will surely backfire on them as the country descends into the failed-state class on their watch, obliterating any proud legacy they may have acquired as the victors of the struggle. Sadly, the president is doing nothing to avoid that failure.
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