CENTURION (PRETORIA), South Africa – “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”, “God Bless Africa”. This is the beautiful beginning of South Africa’s National Anthem. Well, the country is in trouble and it really needs God’s blessings.
There is some good news. BusinessReport says that South Africa improved its competitiveness ranking. According to the World Economic Forum, it is now among the 50 most competitive countries in the world, (out of a total of 140 listed).
This is definitely good news. Much of it has to do with the spreading of ICT systems, financial markets improved efficiency, and an improved transportation infrastructure.
However, in some important categories relevant to competitiveness, (the average of all of them gives the final score), South Africa has a lot of work to do. On corruption, (too much) the country is 76, (out of 140); on government regulations (too many) the country is number 117. But by far the most worrisome score is on security (too little). South Africa ranks 102nd out of 140.
The truly frightening aspect of this bad security score is that violence in South Africa is getting worse, year after year. The newspaper The Star comments on recently released national violent crime statistics with the headline: “Gangster Paradise“, followed by chilling data: “Murder, up 10%, Robberies, up 11.4%, Residential Robberies, up 9.9%, Carjacking, up 13.4%.; Truck Hijacking, up 47%. Children aged between 10 and 17 responsible for 47 murders”.
In announcing these figures, the police authorities stress that these numbers are better than what they were 10 years ago. (Murders are up, but –do not be fooled– we are winning the War on Crime).
Small consolation for those who see homicides and robberies trending up. A Justice Department official in fact commented that: “This number of deaths is what you would expect from a country at war”.
“Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”. “God Bless Africa”.