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South Africa heads towards challenged future, panel argues

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

4-minute read
11 June 2024 | 17:24 CAT

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A deeply uncertain and challenging future looms over South Africa in the aftermath of the election. The seismic shift in the political landscape presents unprecedented stability challenges. Moreover, the pervasive long-term socio-economic exclusion poses a significant risk to the endurance of democracy and the very functionality of the country. This stark reality was underscored in a panel discussion jointly hosted by the Institute of Race Relations and the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies at the University of Free State on 5 June.

Terence Corrigan, Project and Publications Manager at the IRR, discussed the election results, pointing to the gains made by explicitly anti-constitutional forces and the challenge that this represented to South Africa’s future as a liberal democracy.

In an interview with Radio Islam International, Terence Corrigan discussed the main issues that arose during the panel discussion.

He explained that there are three sets of problems.

“Firstly, is the concern of can we make the politics work? Although we are a constitutional democracy a lot of it was conceived for a political system in which there was a dominant party,” Corrigan pointed out.

“The second question is obscurity and the real risk of it seeping into the main stream of our politics which has been on the fringes particularly in the KwaZulu-Natal,” he highlighted.

There is also the question of the economy.

“South Africa has never recovered from the global financial crisis and our growth rate has been round about half of the average to comparable emerging economies,” Corrigan highlighted.

Meanwhile, the presentations and robust audience engagement left no doubt that South Africa is now at an inflexion point with no proper precedent. Creating a political arrangement will only be sufficient if an economic turnaround does not match this. As the IRR has repeatedly stated, the issue on which South Africa’s future hinges is the question of economic growth.

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round Up with Moulana Junaid Kharsany and Terence Corrigan, Project and Publications Manager at the IRR, here.

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