The Recrimination Nation

Africa’s loudest birds, these noisy foragers are opportunistic expansionists, always on the move. Seeming anxious and skittish, their brash calls warn of danger, real and perceived. They do all they can to survive. Resilient, they build strong nests, returning to the same trees each year to remake their Hadeda homes.

2035 Scenarios

The 2035 Economy

Deep structural constraints in the economy and slow economic growth remain unresolved. Since Covid lockdowns in the early 2020s, South Africa has added only 3 million fulltime jobs, despite the population increasing to 70 million. Half the working-age population of 44 million are not in employment, education or training. The unemployment rate is 37%; youth unemployment at 55%. Middle class has shrunk, and SA’s tax base continues to contract. Government borrows heavily from IMF & BRICS NDB.National debt is at R12 trillion. At GDP ratio of 110%. Debt repayments now over R2 billion / day. FATF grey listing & rating downgrades raised debt costs and reduced disposable income for many. Young people are not idle. Many study, partially using AI tools and start businesses. Mutual assistance groups flourish. More young people volunteer and build productive lives, despite the weak economy.

Power and Governance

SA’s democracy contained and moderated political contestation for 40 years, but political parties now distrusted by over 70% of voters.  More than half the population no longer trusts even the courts. A centrist, social-democratic coalition governs South Africa. Party leaders still control processes; everything is negotiated via backroom deals, making decision-making slower than ever. Policy implementation is equally unhurried. ‘Speed up!’ is the cry. 70% say they would willingly suspend elections if government could do something, anything, to attract investment, reduce crime, grow the economy… rather than all the ‘better tomorrow’ slogans from the GNU.

Social Trust: As social trust breaks down in the years leading up to 2035, South Africans retreat, pulling those close to them closer.

Security and private protection: People cluster in enclaves, protecting themselves – or hiring private armadas to shield them from harm.

Renewable energy resistance: An unjust transition to renewable energy is actively resisted: clean water is scarce while acid rain, power outages and wild weather threaten food production.

Economy growth stunted: The economy is sputtering along: mining is more mechanised, agriculture battles the weather, and manufacturing growth is stalled.

Violence against Women: Women continue to bear the brunt of poverty and violence, as crime rates remain high.

High Unemployment: Unemployment is around 37%; youth unemployment is 55%.