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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: ISS Today by Gareth Newham.]

For more than a decade corruption, poor policy choices and deteriorating governance have weakened South Africa’s criminal justice institutions and its economy. The recent outbreaks of violence, mostly against foreigners in the cities of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, are a warning sign that the government cannot afford to ignore.

Levels of public violence in general are rising, and foreign nationals living in under-developed and crowded areas are particularly vulnerable when the poor face increasing hardship and frustration. In the medium to long term, prioritising economic growth and fixing basic service delivery are key. In the meantime, government needs to act decisively to counter public violence, often directed at foreign nationals, by strengthening the rule of law.

The violence is driven by a toxic mix of increasing unemployment and inequality, deteriorating trust in government and especially the police, and growing desperation among the poor and jobless.

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South Africa at a Glance
58 780 000 (mid 2019 estimate)
4.1% y/y in March 2020 (CPI) & +4.5 y/y in February 2020 (PPI)
-1.4% q/q (4th quarter of 2019)
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