South Africa has a troubled history. Ruled by apartheid for much of the Modern Era, it’s been slowly becoming a more equal and economically stable society. As of 2015, 80.5% of South Africa’s population is black, 8.2% is white, 8.8% is black and white, and 2.5% is listed as another race, according to Britannica.
During apartheid, the white minority made up the majority of the government. Post-apartheid, this racial inequality has slowly lessened. Former President Nelson Mandela paved the way for black South Africans to see their race represented in government. South Africa also has 11 official languages implemented after the end of apartheid as a way to promote equality. Swati, Pedi, Tsonga, Zulu, Venda, Ndebele, Sotho, and Xhosa are primarily spoken by black South Africans, while Afrikaans and English are primarily spoken by white South Africans, according to Britannica. Clearly South Africa is still experiencing the after effects of apartheid.
South Africa’s water shortage is hitting the farmers the hardest. With dams drying up, South African farmers have no choice but to lay off workers. The farmers have had to significantly decrease the crops they plant this year due to the severe drought and can no longer afford to hire back many of their seasonal workers, according to NPR.
The Theewaterskloof Dam is one of the major water sources for farmers but is only filled to 13% capacity. NPR describes the dam as a “beach with no water.” The South African government allocates a certain amount of water every year to farms based on how much estimated water is needed for their crops. If the farmers use up their quota early, they have to come up with alternative methods to water their crops. Boreholes, or small wells, are South African farmer’s last source of water. Once the groundwater runs out, the wells will dry up just like the dams. Without water, South Africa’s agriculture will crumble.
Many farmers are forced to rely on boreholes before they use up their quota. The South African government has redirected most of the remaining water in dams to Cape Town in the hopes that Day Zero, the day Cape Town runs out of water, will not occur, according to NPR.
The situation is so dire that even private hospitals are hesitant to rely on water from the dams. Some major South African hospital groups such as Netcare, Mediclinic, and Like Healthcare are choosing to research other water supplies in the persistent drought. They are currently experimenting, like many farmers, with boreholes and finding alternative water sources from the sea, according to Times Live. As Day Zero approaches, I will keep you up-to-date on how South Africans cope with the severe drought.
Possible Oust of President Zuma
Leaders of the African National Conference, a ruling political party in South Africa, are expected to meet tomorrow to discuss President Zuma’s leadership. While the leaders have kept mum on whether or not this meeting will result in a formal recalling of Zuma or a motion in parliament, it’s being classified as an emergency meeting at Zuma’s residence, according to the BBC. It’s unclear what prompted this emergency meeting, but it follows months of investigation of Zuma’s allegedly illegal activities such as misuse of power and corruption mentioned in my previous blog.
Zuma recently went before South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority in attempt to convince the NPA not to press charges for 783 counts of corruption stemming back to the 1990s, according to Africa News. This is just one of the many accusations Zuma faces as members of the ANC leak to the press the mounting dissatisfaction with Zuma, as proven by Cyril Ramaphosa taking over the ANC as its president this past December, a position previously ruled by Zuma.
ANC’s political opposition, Julius Malema, announced Zuma has refused to resign as president ahead of the emergency meeting that will be held tomorrow, according to Reuters.
With South Africa’s seemingly imminent change of power, it’s in a unique position to set a new standard of honesty and trustworthiness after years of rumors surrounding President Zuma’s alleged corruption.