Cape Town – South Africa is one of the top 10 risks to the world in 2017, a report in Time magazine revealed on Tuesday.
Time magazine gave South Africa a special mention as the 10th risk to the world, with the tag line “Struggling South Africa”.
“The deeply unpopular President Jacob Zuma, beset by corruption allegations, is afraid to pass power to someone he doesn’t trust,” American political scientist Ian Bremmer explained in his report.
“The resulting infighting over succession stalls any momentum toward crucial economic reform in the country and limits South Africa’s ability to offer leadership needed to stabilise conflicts inside neighbouring countries.”
The country’s gross domestic product showed a worrying 0.5% growth in 2016, far below the 5% growth required by the National Development Plan to create 11 million jobs by 2030. Nomura economist Peter Montalto forecast SA growing by only 1% in 2017 and 1.6% in 2018.
A lack of growth will not help the increasing unemployment figures, causing social instability and further increasing inequality. Unemployment figures hit a 13-year high in November 2016, with 27.1% job seekers unemployed in the third quarter of 2016.
What won’t help matters is if South Africa is downgraded to junk status. It avoided being plunged into non-investment grade status in 2016, but analysts warned that 2017 could see rating agencies Standard & Poors, Moody’s and Fitch move to downgrade the country, warning of political noise.
The noise focuses on Zuma, who has yet to face 783 fraud, racketeering and corruption charges. The Constitutional Court in October 2016 refused to hear the National Prosecuting Authority’s appeal on the North Gauteng High Court judgment, which reinstated the charges.
Zuma survived a call by ministers at a National Executive Committee meeting in November to step down as his relationship with the Gupta family comes increasingly into focus. His term as ANC president ends at the end of 2017 and as state president in 2019.