Why is South Africa melting down?

One of the YouTubers I follow is from South Africa. While his channel isn’t about South Africa, and he’s moved away, he often will comment about how the country is melting down. I did a bit of digging and found out that crime, especially rape and murder are off the charts there, and the economy seems to be melting down as well. There are also some radical Marxist groups that are talking about seizing farms and businesses without compensation. No idea how powerful these groups actually are, but it reminds me a bit about the meltdown in Zimbabwe.

So, thought I’d see what 'dopers think. Why is South Africa in such straights today? What happened to put it where it is? Where is it headed? I assume that much of this has to do with past racial issues and current racial tensions that remain unresolved, but I want to see what all is happening and why.

I’m not doubting you, XT, but I’d be curious what your cites are about the crime and the economic problems. I’m no expert on South Africa, but I think I’m fairly well read and the only thing I remember seeing in recent news about the country is the whole water crisis and impending Zero Day in Cape Town.

I think it’s a very big leap from “increased crime” to “country melting down”.

South Africa isn’t melting down, until you show that it is.

these are the only 2 non partisan websites I could find for the land issue


It’s still here AFAICT…

Would those be the same charts that show most crime is significantly down from the highs of the 90s? Rape being an exception, although that might also be a reporting/awareness thing.

Define “melting down”, please?

This is true. I believe they call this “radical Marxist group” the Government

South Africa is nothing like Zimbabwe.

We are? I thought we legalized gay marriage way before the US.

Oh, I’m sure someone will hit on the white answer.

Oh, no, I meant the *right *answer. Don’t know why I said that.

Hell in a handbasket. Just like everyone else.

Honestly, I don’t know that much about South Africa aside from what I’ve read, and it’s not a country that is usually in the news for good or ill. I’m basing the whole ‘country is melting down’ and high crime rate on some comments by a YouTuber I subscribe to (who actually lives in China these days) and some of his asides.

As for stats, the murder rate per 100k in South Africa is 33. To give that some context, in the US it’s a bit under 6 (or, to say it a different way, in the US there were 17k murders the year these stats were made…in South Africa, a country with a smaller population it was 19k). While South Africa isn’t the top country, it’s certainly in the top 1/3. I can’t really get good stats from earlier than 2015, but this site shows that murder and assault are up, but rape and drug offenses are down. (https://africacheck.org/factsheets/factsheet-south-africas-201516-crime-statistics/).

I don’t KNOW if this indicates a melt down in progress, so I guess the thread title is misleading. My apologies for that. Economy wise, it seems that inflation is up, unemployment is up and the population is actually going down (which could mean people leaving or could just be part of their population dynamic). Also the population below the poverty line seems to be going up while the ease of doing business in the country is going down. Whether this means melt down or not I don’t know.

(sorry in advance for lack of links, but I still can’t figure out how to link easily without the ugly long ass URLs…most of the data above is from various Wiki pages though and is easy to Google)

So, you agree that they are talking about (or doing it?) seizing farms and businesses…and you think this is a good thing? Or just it’s ok because it’s the government (I didn’t realize it WAS the government btw…I thought it was just one of the factions). That seems…disturbing, unless I’m misreading what you are saying.

Not sure what gay marriage has to do with anything. :confused:

So, what you seem to be implying in your short answers is that it’s a white issue that things are bad. I’m hoping you will elaborate, since you are one of the posters who actually lives in South Africa and should have a lot to say on this. I get the feeling you think my post is a gotcha or something, but really I’m curious. If you say it’s fine and not melting down then just elaborate. Is it just white people who think it’s an issue? Or is it not an actual issue at all? Really, you will have insights no one else on this board, afaik will have so please elaborate and discuss your country. It’s not something that is in the news much in the US, and also it’s not something that gets debated much on this board afaik so go nuts.

ETA (and sorry for the disjointed reply…again, it’s a bitch not being able to cut and paste): Why is the situation nothing like Zimbabwe?

Because the word is actually “straits”, not “straights”.

XT: I think this topic got well poisoned not that long ago in this thread. You’re probably experiencing the hangover. Not your fault, but there it is.

…why does MrDibble need to elaborate?

This is your thread. You have asserted South Africa is melting down. You need to back up your premise, not the other way around.

Land reform. Promised, but denied for two generations.

There I said it! That’s the answer you wanted, right?

I’m neutral on the matter - it very much depends on how its done. I’m not against some forms of land reclaim without market compensation, yes.

No. Most of what my government does is not OK by me, in fact.

It was a joke, like earbones said.

Partly a legacy of apartheid and colonialism, partly a legacy of Marxist thinking. I think of both of those as sides of the same White coin.

No, but I do think relying on an ex-South African for any insight on current South Africa is … not advisable, is the most charitable way I would put it.

I didn’t say it’s fine. I said it wasn’t “melting down”. South Africa is measurably better than it was 20-40 years ago, especially on the crime front. Any current economic blips are not exclusively a South African phenomenon.

Naah. But mostly… funny, that.

Not in any “melting down” sense, no.

Because it gets tiresome
the same
I didn’t reply to all of those, and one person is responsible for more than half of them, but maybe do some frigging research before just posting what “Some guy on Youtube” says, yeah?

Especially since quite a lot of White “ex-South Africans” left here post-94 for the most obvious reason. Not all, not even most, I’m sure, but many.

Like I’ve shown, you just haven’t been paying attention.

Different demographics, different history, different geography, different economy, different political structure…I could go on, but I don’t see the point.

I think you’ve answered your own question there.

This is some pretty bizarre gaslighting MrDibble. The mainstream Western consensus view has been that Jacob Zuma was a disastrous leader for South Africa and, while there was brief hope that Cyril Ramaphosa might bring about saner economic policy, his forced land expropriation proposal is being compared to Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

Now you might certainly argue that Western media has its own biases and self-interests and is not reporting accurately on the ground but the idea that South Africa is currently going through a marked economic decline is not some fringe view, it’s pretty much the consensus opinion as reflected through publications like The Economist, The Wall St Journal and The Financial Times (I’ve chosen to include only paywall only sites because they contain the most high quality analysis, you can find similar stories reflected in more mainstream news sources as well).

Just going by raw economic facts, South Africa’s GDP peaked in 2011 at $400B USD and has now declined to $295B (mainly due to the devaluation of the Rand). GDP growth is hovering somewhere around 1% while inflation is at 5 - 6%, Unemployment has grown from ~15% in the 1990s to ~25% now but, more importantly, labor participation rate remains stubbornly low and the structural unemployment issues aren’t being addressed: “The 2005 Labour Force Survey found that 40% of unemployed individuals have been unemployed for more than three years, while 59% have never had a job at all. In September 2010, over a third of South Africa’s workforce were out of work, and so were more than half of blacks aged 15–34, three times the level for whites.”

I get that different people can have different legitimate opinions on the issue and I’m more reporting what constitutes mainstream western orthodoxy rather than any particular stance I have on the issue. However, to act like the question has some hidden agenda behind it or that it’s pushing some fringe conspiracy is kinda strange. It’s a totally legitimate question, reflecting the viewpoints of a large group of people, and containing a lot of truth behind it. Yes there’s a lot of racial and social politics behind the actual answers to the question but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to have a reasonable debate about it.

White South African here. I don’t blame MrDibble for reacting the way he has - topics on South Africa do end to bring out the racists. (Although the OP for once, does seem sincere and not a racist dipshit.)

There is a huge streak of racism amongst vocal expats; my money would be on the unnamed Youtuber being one of those.

Glibly comparing SA to Zimbabwe is also a favourite of racist dipshits; SA has been on the road to “becoming the next Zimbabwe” since 2000 according to same.

This is the mainstream middle class SA view too. I seriously doubt MrDibble was defending Zuma.

At this point “exproppriation without compensation” (EWC) is a vague principle, not a clearly formulated policy. There is currently no draft constitutional amendment, no legislation, no delegated legislation, no clear idea of what land is to expropriated and under what circumstances, who the beneficiaries are, how the benficiaries are to be determined, the form of title they will receive, etc. Right now public hearings have just concluded. Thats it. There is still a long process ahead, involving, inter alia, a report by a constiututional review committee, draft and publish amendment for comment, approval by both houses of parliament, repeat for legislation to give force to amendment. Don’t forget delays due to court challenegs. This process will take years.

Ill also point out that land invasions were effectively authorised by decree, not law in Zimbabwe. Only after the fact was a law enacted, in a society devoid of substantively free and fair elections.

Ramaphosa has also stated repeatedly that EWC will not be implemented in a manner that threatens the economic stability or food security. In my opinion that will limit EWC to unused land, land fraudulently obtained and abandoned properties.

Not disputed. Not a “meltdown” either.

Of course, but citing some expat rando on YouTuube and dropping a reference to Zimbabwe is a good way to posion the well from the get go.

Questioning a source is not “gaslighting”.

It’s also the majority South African view.

It’s a realisation of the demands on the ground, not some sort of trendiness. And distributive justice, of course.

It’s fundamentally about the fact that it’s bleedingly obvious to the majority here that the people who currently own the best farmland and make a fat living off it are the beneficiaries of land theft and forced removals. And they refuse to have anything to do with a willing seller-willing buyer model, so should they just be allowed to continue living off their cross-generational spoils of murder and rapine? In a country where they don’t, actually, have any real political power any more?

That’s true (but so is a lot of the world) but that is not “a meltdown”, nor was the OP an economic analysis at all. And when it comes to crime, the facts are the opposite of what the OP’s anonymous, uncited Youtuber says.

I don’t think the OP has an agenda, I think* his source *does. And I don’t think it’s fringe at all. It’s sadly all too common.

Maybe if the OP was more than “Some expat chicken runner in China on Youtube says…”, we can have a “reasonable debate”.

As a South African, I can say that South Africa is most definitely NOT melting down. Things are going reasonably smoothly here and tending to improve.

There are a small number of people who love to predict disaster for the country. They are usually either far right-wingers, or expatriates who feel a need to justify having left the country, or both. They’ve been making shrill predictions that the sky is about to fall for the past 25 years. The objective facts don’t support them.

Well, I do seem to have opened a can of worms with this one. My apologies…I didn’t realize it was such a touchy subject, nor that it had been trodden on before. I guess I missed all the other threads on it.

As for the YouTuber mentioned in the OP, here is his channel home page (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl7mAGnY4jh4Ps8rhhh8XZg). He certainly doesn’t seem like a racist to me in anything he’s done or said. He also doesn’t talk about South Africa that much…just every once in a while he’ll bring up something about how South Africa is doing. He certainly is white, but I seriously doubt he left in 1994…if my rough estimate of his age is correct that would have made him about 5-10. While he doesn’t give a lot of details, he has said his family is still in South Africa.

At any rate, it was obviously a touchy subject AND a poorly thought out OP. I basically was just connecting dots, hearing that South Africa was having major issues, did a few quick Google searches and saw the economic factors as well as crime stats that seemed to go along with stuff I saw on YouTube and was curious as to why it would be happening. I had heard about the water shortages in one of the major cities and thought maybe it was climate change, or maybe some other factor…perhaps hold over anger from the Apartheid days or something along those lines. I certainly didn’t mean to fire anyone up or cause an explosion, was just curious.

It’s *definitely *climate change - my wife works in the field, I’ve done work on it in the past.

Similar challenges are beginning to become an issue in California. It’s not as dire as South Africa’s recent struggles, but it is increasingly a problem. It’s quite possible much more erratic rainfall( either too much, resulting in flooding/levee breaks or not enough year by year )have become the new normal here and combined with a decreasing snow pack due to warming will result in more or less permanent water restrictions with real impacts on agricultural productivity.