South African Economic Woes: Poor Political Leadership and Rating Downgrades Hampers Growth and Development

Document Type : Research Paper


Regent Business School, Durban, South Africa


Purpose:  The paper aims to focus on South Africa’s poor economic performance and the regular downgrades of the country’s economic and financial rating by international rating agencies. It attempts to show that these continuous downgrades are a recipe for economic and financial disaster in the long – run; that the continuance of this phenomenon will stymie the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the securing of the much desired developmental state. A host of other important and necessary issues will be raised that pertain to the economic woes of South Africa. Research Method: The classical research design is not followed. A range of economic and financial issues amidst other salient issues are analyzed by the researchers. In so doing South African newspapers and its media including the opinions of other writers will be utilized in formulating the thought processes of the researchers. This will allow for a clear delineation of the economic and financial woes that confront South Africa, under a so – called democratic state. The research method is therefore self – explanatory as captured above, and relies on articles that appeared in the South African media and invokes the critical analysis of the writers in terms of projecting on the issues raised in the title of the paper. Findings: The findings are influenced by the thought processes of the researcher and the analysis made, by various writers as concerns these issues. The implications for South Africa and its people are immense. These findings are dispersed throughout the discussion undertaken in the paper. It also draws attention to the poor political leadership in South Africa, exhibited by the ruling party. It draws attention to the all embracing fact that a successful election win for the ruling African National Congress Government on May, 7 2014 is not a panacea for sound development nor will it promote the general welfare and the enhancement of the public good. It argues that if the economic and financial challenges and problems are not dealt with decisively, then poverty, unemployment and inequality will escalate and spiral out of control. Originality Value:  The paper draws attention to a number of vexing issues that require urgent attention by politicians and the South African bureaucracy to address the issues raised in this paper. The originality value underscores a host of issues as concerns the economic, financial and downgrade woes that generally are not addressed by the government in a proactive and sustainable manner.