What kind of future will South Africans find themselves living in by 2030?
This is a question the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has set out to answer.
A set of scenarios explaining how South Africa’s long-term future will unfold has been released. It is in the form of a book entitled A Time Traveller’s Guide to South Africa in 2030.
The book is authored by scenario planner and IRR CEO, Dr Frans Cronje. The book is a follow-up to 2014’s A Time Traveller’s Guide to Our Next Ten Years.
According to Kerwin Lebone, the IRR head of risk analysis, “The latest scenarios cut through all the uncertainty confronting South Africa to provide clear answers about how the economic and political climate in the country will change between now and 2030.” The latest book introduces four new scenarios for South Africa, one year after the 2019 election.
Above: Frans Cronje’s new book sets out to provide various possibilities about what South Africa’s future will look like.
The first of these, the Rise of the Right, suggests that the state will grow more powerful and authoritarian and use that power to force pragmatic economic policies along the lines of the model followed by Singapore and Rwanda. Coinciding with a global economic recovery and commodity price bounce-back, those reforms will take the economic growth rate to new highs and trigger a massive boom in new job creation and entrepreneurial activity. By the early 2020s South Africa emerges as a stable and increasingly prosperous society – a remarkable feat that will shape the evolution of high growth economies across the continent.
The second scenario is titled the Tyranny of the Left. In this scenario, the state also becomes extremely authoritarian, but uses that power not for reform, but to extort wealth out of the tax base and the private sector, while suppressing political dissent and civil rights. Land and businesses are nationalised and property rights destroyed. In this future the economy will stutter and stumble along, foreign and domestic investment will dry up, and living standards will fall. South Africa collapses into the grip of a cruel dictatorship and all hope for a better future is lost.
The third scenario is titled the Break-up. In this future, the state weakens as the economy stalls and, amidst rising levels of internal conflict, South Africans drift apart into separate enclaves. Behind their high walls, the more prosperous enclaves become de facto private countries with high standards of living. But, outside of the walls, the rural poor will fall under the control of tribal leaders, while an emerging gang culture effectively becomes the government in urban slums. As South Africans turn away from each other, the country splinters irreparably along lines of race and class.
The fourth scenario is titled the Rise of the Rainbow. In this future a broad new political alliance allows the private sector to take the lead in returning economic growth rates to levels of 5% and higher – as unemployment falls, living standards increase, and South Africa emerges, against all the odds, as a free, open, stable, and prosperous society.
The new book predicts what kind of future South Africa will have.