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As the ANC convenes its sixth policy conference, it is against the worst case scenario

Once upon a time, South Africa was on a Shosholoza Scenario under the Memories of the future scenario, South Africa 2014, says the writer. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Once upon a time, South Africa was on a Shosholoza Scenario under the Memories of the future scenario, South Africa 2014, says the writer. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Published Jul 31, 2022

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Perhaps Banyana Banyana have pointed to us in the moment of our darkness, that there is not just a lot more to gender, but there is much more to gender for the national agenda.

And it is something to bear in mind as we celebrate Women's Month in August.

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We can see this in history.

Manthatisi, the Batlokwa Queen (1784 – 1847) , acted as the regent for her son, Sekonyela, and led the Batlokoa who were retreating and surrendering on the line of battle. The Likonyela went back and returned victorious.

Woman power may just be what we need in leadership.

The ANC holds its 6th Policy Conference over the weekend and South Africa is all eyes.

Indlulamithi, an institution established in 2016 at the height of state capture, focuses on the direction South Africa is taking and draws on the promise of the National Development Plan. It projects where measures progress, or lack thereof, in South Africa in its march towards 2030. Through South Africa 2030 Scenario, Indlulamithi delivered its fifth report on the July 22 on the Indlulamithi Day.

Indlulamithi identified three scenarios that could eventuate by 2030 in South Africa, and annually the tendencies to this scenarios are measured, and this measure was the fifth on the tendencies South Africa is gravitating towards.

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The three scenarios are Gwara Gwara, which is defined as a nation torn between immobility and restless energy, Gwara Gwara embodies a demoralised land or disorder and decay.

Isibujwa epitomising a loose-limbed, jumpy nation with a frenetic edge; a South Africa torn by deepening social divides, daily protests and cynical self-interest, while Nayi le Walk represents a nation in step with itself. This defines a South Africa where growing social cohesion, economic expansion and a renewed sense of constitutionalism gets South Africa going.

These scenarios were quantified and elaborated on a combination of policies that could yield the said outcomes.

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A more optimistic scenario of Nayi le Walk points to a South Africa growing at more than 6 percent, unemployment dropping to 15 percent, and poverty going down to 12 percent by 2030. But that depends on the policy choices the government executes and key amongst these are changing the macro-economic policy framework it has pursued to date.

The barometer has been released annually since Indlulamithi was launched in 2018. President Cyril Ramaphosa launched Indlulamithi. He implored us to ensure that the scenarios become a nationally shared treasure. On that day he said something prophetic. Something worth reflecting on.

He asked why are we not having a worst case scenario? Now in the fullness of time and evidence one asks the question what is it that he knew that we were not able to see then?

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Certainly it was not Covid-19 although Covid precipitated the crisis. Was it the fire and floods? May be not. So we now explore the obvious as regards where South Africa is rapidly gravitating towards. We measure the epic forces that drive us towards an outcome scenario.

The first of these relate to resentment, resistance and reconciliation. The second is institutional capacity and leadership. And the last, and third, is social inequality.

The scorecard shows a worsening situation and obvious rapid slide towards Gwara-Gwara. Our plunge into Gwara-Gwara within a short five years has been from 46 percent to 62 percent. If the pace of decline into Gwara-Gwara, which averaged 3 percent represented growth in the gross domestic product, then the country would have seen progress.

Social inequality contributed the greatest in the Gwara-Gwara scenario and was at 85 percent. The Nayi Le Walk scenario, the most optimistic scenario is fading fast by the day. It stands at 9 percent in 2022 from a share of 17 percent. This is almost a 50 percent drop.

So as the ANC convenes its sixth policy conference, it is against the worst case scenario. This of course is not new. The last two scenarios, one which is the future we chose, South Africa 2025 pointed to the worst case scenario eventuating. This was the Muvangho Scenario and on the eve of the conference the country is facing a real vortex, a deepening Gwara Gwara.

Once upon a time, South Africa was on a Shosholoza Scenario under the Memories of the future scenario, South Africa 2014. Even under the Mont Fleur Scenario, which influenced the shape of the settlement, South Africa had an aura about it despite low growth, increasing unemployment, but stronger and clear leadership.

Dr Pali Lehohla is the Director of Economic Modelling Academy, Professor of Practice at University of Johannesburg, a Research Associate at Oxford and the former Statistician General of South Africa.

Dr Pali Lehohla is the Director of Economic Modelling Academy, Professor of Practice at University of Johannesburg, a Research Associate at Oxford and the former Statistician General of South Africa.

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