A culture of self-enrichment among some South African politicians and public servants is putting the country’s democracy and post-apartheid promises of creating a better life for all at risk, according to the most-senior official at the National Treasury.
“We have to remind our leaders – and I’m speaking as a South African – who are in government, in public service and politicians to get off your high horse and do what we have to do to ensure we create access and a conducive environment for people’s lives to change,” Dondo Mogajane, the Treasury’s director-general, said Thursday at a National Budget Dialogue.
“If that’s not going to be a motivating factor, we can start calling South Africa a failing state because the things that define a failing state are beginning to show, where we don’t care about the poor and improving their lives.”
Mogajane’s comments come after the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) published a report this week warning that South Africa risks becoming a failed state if its lack of decisive, ethical, and courageous leadership persists.
“A few years ago, very few people could have predicted the state that the world would find itself in now, largely due to the consequences of Covid-19. In addition, there are perennial threats that continue unabated and are likely to continue into the foreseeable future,” the IRMSA said.
“In the South African context, the top risks remain similar to those of the past, albeit at an increased level, mainly due to our failure to decisively respond to them. The culmination of those risks continuing and worsening leads to the greater debate: will SA become a failed state – or is it already a failed state?”
If South Africa continues to experience a continued breakdown of ethical and legal principles, unmanageable societal unrest and breakdown of the rule of law, complete economic collapse becomes almost inevitable, it said.
“This can only be avoided if we very quickly develop and activate the skills we need to avoid disruption due to unstable utility supply and digitally-enabled economic activities, whilst retaining our relevance in Africa and respond to climate change risks.”
With further reporting by Bloomberg.
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