Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to BooksLIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Books LIVE

Pan Macmillan

@ Books LIVE

Pan Macmillan Latest

South Africa is Not a Failed State: It's in the "Low Warning" Category - Greg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst

How South Africa WorksGreg Mills and Jeffrey Herbst, authors of How South Africa Works: And Must Do Better, have written an article for the Rand Daily Mail about the dangers in the “hyperbole” that is present in much writing about South Africa’s current political and economic situation.

Mills heads the Brenthurst Foundation, and Herbst the Newseum in Washington, United States.

The authors refer to both We Have Now Begun Our Descent: How To Stop South Africa Losing Its Way by Justice Malala and How Long Will South Africa Survive?: The Looming Crisis by RW Johnson, saying that these publications are indicative of the three main channels arguments about South Africa take.

Mills and Herbst argue that South Africa’s problems are “more than just Zuma’s doing”, adding that they are institutional and, in fact, linked to the country’s resources.

They also insist that the “hyperpoliticisation and personalisation” of certain arguments make it easier for the ANC to dismiss the criticism.

Read the article:

THE season of goodwill is also the season of analytical apocalypse. Debate about SA’s fortunes is transfixed on the country’s “descent”, its leadership crisis, and how long it might “survive”. There are three main strands of argument: SA, if not a failed state, is on the brink of failure; this is the result of the governing party losing its way, hastened by President Jacob Zuma; and the situation requires a radical solution, such as international intervention by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to “turn things around”.

While these views may move copy, they are at best hyperbole. While there are aspects of concern in SA, it is not a failed state. It ranks, for example, 113 of 178 countries measured in the Failed States index, in the “low warning” category, the same as Malaysia, Brazil or Cyprus. Compared to fellow Brics members Brazil, Russia and India, SA has a lot going for it — it is relatively open (unlike Brazil), is not dependent on a single commodity or authoritarian (unlike Russia) and has, for all its failings, few of India’s infrastructure and bureaucratic constraints.

Related stories:

Book details