30 years after apartheid, water and electricity remain a luxury for many South Africans

30 years after apartheid, water and electricity remain a luxury for many South Africans
30 years after apartheid, water and electricity remain a luxury for many South Africans

While rural areas and townships are particularly affected by the shortage of running water and power cuts, with infrastructure falling into ruin, large urban centers are also not immune to regular rationing which aims to tame a demand that far exceeds supply.

Undermined by years of disastrous management and rampant corruption under the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC), the party in power since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa is seeing its basic infrastructure inexorably collapse.

In this context, the exasperation of local communities continues to grow, manifesting itself in systematically organized protest movements against the negligence of public services.

The images conveyed on social networks of the violence accompanying police interventions to disperse the crowds of rioters evoke the dark years of apartheid.

“The ANC has let us down!”, protest the residents of Soweto, an emblematic district of Johannesburg which played a crucial role in the fight against apartheid. Deprived of water and electricity for months, the community points the finger at the empty promises of the historic party.

In recent months, water shortages have reached critical levels, not only in working-class neighborhoods, but nationwide. This situation is mainly attributed to underinvestment in hydraulic infrastructure, electricity load shedding, as well as the drought affecting several regions of the country.

South African authorities often cite repair work on aging pipes which burst very frequently, causing interruptions which hit households and businesses hard.

As for the never-ending electricity crisis, last year and early 2024 it reached levels never before experienced, with power cuts of up to 12 hours a day to avoid the total collapse of the electricity network national.

This situation has had a disastrous impact on economic activity, leading to disruptions in the supply chain, production delays and costs linked to the installation of generators to compensate for the electricity shortage. According to the Central Bank, this situation reduced the national GDP by 2% in 2023.

Thus, thirty years after the end of apartheid, a profound feeling of disillusionment has set in within South African society. Large sections of the population believe they have been left behind by the leaders of the ruling party, some of whom have been implicated in corruption, embezzlement and money laundering.

With MAP

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