Why South Africa may crumble after Mandela

Mandela

Former South African President Nelson Mandela

By Alex Stambaugh
@malexstambaugh

South Africa, considered the flagship of southern and sub-Saharan Africa for democratic government and racial peace, is now at a standstill with the anticipated passing of its former president and national hero, Nelson Mandela, who remains in critical condition,

Mandela, who violently protested against white apartheid rule and spent 18 years doing hard labor at Robben Island Prison because of it, has become a symbol of resistance and inspiration for the black populations because of his ability to increase racial equality and maintain peace between the two races.

But now, growing tensions on both sides anticipating what’s next for the African nation jeopardize his peaceful legacy.

In addition to a slipping corruption index that puts their ranking lower than most Eastern Europe and Middle Eastern nations, contentious resentment between whites and blacks and the “haves” and “have-nots” has led to fear that the anger could spark into full-scale war … or even the next genocide.

One of the strongest points of contention: employment. (Sound familiar Americans?)

The government’s Black Economic Empowerment program has created a race based employment regime that critics argue has led to massive emigration of skilled workers, soaring poverty rates for whites, and resentment against black businesses who amassed wealth through government contracts.

Africa still has the second highest degree of inequality in family income distribution in the world. One of the largest inequalities now is the divide within the black population. At the top are “black diamond” men who made wealth through mining and at the bottom is the majority of the black population.

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Share of Income in South Africa 1993 and 2008

As of 2008, blacks received less than 10 percent of the country’s wealth while whites’ share had decreased to below 50 percent and Asians’ share had increased to over 30 percent.

Growing inequality has even become subject for fierce media battles. Earlier this year, BBC published a contentious article examining the growing white poverty in the country. As a result, criticism erupted to reach the national stage as columnists refuted the claim and pitted the races against each other in a “who’s worse off” war.

Politically, Africa has also witnessed diminishing signs of thriving democracy. When the wife of the minister of state security was convicted of drug smuggling, the same minister sought to muzzle the media through passage of secrecy legislation. Additionally, President Jacob Zuma and the African National Congress deemed themselves supreme leaders having been “freely elected by the people” with the right to judicial review of Constitutional Courts.

Because of these economic and political issues facing the nation, Genocide Watch has put a level 5 alert, the polarization stage, and warned audiences about the possible ruling African National Congress’ incitement of genocide against white farmers and their families.

“We have experienced a traumatic past and we have not yet healed. We long to be united but we don’t know how to be – beyond the superficiality of sporting achievements,” wrote columnist Khaya Dlanga.

Is it possible that South Africa may now crumble without its national father bringing the sides together?

Posted by on July 3, 2013. Filed under Recent News,Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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