"WE ALL KNOW THAT LAND REFORM IS ONE OF THE TRICKIEST AND MOST EMOTIONAL ISSUES FACING SOUTH AFRICA. IF HANDLED BADLY, IT COULD EVEN CREATE CIVIL WAR. IT COULD CERTAINLY LEAD TO FOOD SHORTAGES, PRICES GOING THROUGH THE ROOF AND AN INCREASE IN FOOD IMPORTS WE CAN ILL AFFORD." -
"South Africa's credit risk is rising relative to emerging-market peers on investor concern the nation may get downgraded as economic growth sputters and borrowing costs increase."
"Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's have a negative outlook on the nation's debt."
"South Africa's default swaps are the fourth-highest among 25 emerging and major markets monitored by Bloomberg."
"The rand's 18 percent plunge against the dollar this year, the worst out of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, is threatening to fuel inflation, reducing the central bank's room to stimulate the economy."
"This is the first time I have felt anxious about the future," admitted Leon Louw, a prominent anti-apartheid activist and executive director of the South Africa-based Free Market Foundation. He told WND that throughout all of the turmoil in South Africa in recent decades, "We never felt pessimistic, we felt optimistic all along, but now, I feel worried for the first time."
Today, he said, "most government positions, most of the cabinet arethe ultra-left, socialists and communists."
Unemployment, poverty, AIDS, murder, corruption and crime all have surged, and South Africa now regularly tops the charts worldwide in terms of rape and murder as average life expectancy has plummeted.
President Jacob Zuma, for example, still regularly sings "struggle" songs advocating the mass-murder of European-descent South Africans. And genocide experts even say planning and preparations to exterminate and drive out certain minorities in South Africa are well under way while vicious hate crimes escalate
The real Gross Domestic Product, for instance, has risen by more than 30 percent over the last 20 years.
But the fact that the real GDP-per-capita growth for other emerging markets during that time was 115 percent sheds light on South Africa's deficiencies.
"To my mind, the main reason for the improvement in South Africa's growth performance after 1994 lies in the lifting of economic sanctions and the subsequent reintegration of the South African economy with the global economy," says Jac Laubscher, group economist for the South African financial company Sanlam.
"the sometimes-government-propagated insinuations that life for blacks was better under apartheid"
Between 1995 and 2000, for example, the respected U.S.-based National Bureau of Economic Research found a dramatic decline in real income among South Africans.
"Average incomes of South African men and women fell by about 40 percent between 1995 and 2000, andthere has been little improvement since then," concluded the NBER study, released in 2005. "The brunt of the income decline appears to have been shouldered by the young and the non-white."
"South Africans are worse off than they were before the end of apartheid, at least as measured by real incomes," the researchers argued at the time, noting the poor were hit hardest.
Meanwhile, statistics cited by other experts suggest that by 2006, the number of people in South Africa living on less than $1 per day had doubled over the 1994 rate.
And in 2008, the United Nations reported that a quarter of South Africans were still living on less than $1.25 a day, with more than 40 percent living on less than $2 per day.
Ironically, perhaps, considering the oversized influence of communism on the political scene, South Africa now has among the most unequal distributions of wealth in the world.
Mandela, the first president of the "rainbow nation," was a Central Committee member of the South African Communist Party, which remains a formal ANC alliance partner in ruling South Africa today.
The U.N. Human Development Index, or HDI, reveals a bleak picture in terms of where South Africa has gone over the last two decades.
Prior to 1994, despite apartheid, South Africa's HDI ranking was steadily climbing upward, and the nation was ranked well above most of Asia and the Arab world, and far ahead the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa. It was also higher than the world average.
But by 2001, South Africa's HDI score had fallen below the 1975 level.
Today, the ranking - which takes into account life expectancy, health, education, income, poverty, economy, equality and more - is 121 out of 187 countries, and significantly below the world average.
Under ANC-Communist Party rule, South Africa has fallen more than 50 places on the index, despite the added emphasis the ruling establishment placed on the metric. Officials still blame apartheid for the embarrassing numbers.
Between 1960 and 1990, overall life expectancy in South Africa went from 51 to 61. While whites were still far better off, historian and apartheid critic Hermann Giliomee explained that racial gaps had started to narrow.
In 1994, average life expectancy in South Africa was generally accepted to be around 64, comparable to Europe.
By 2009, according to The Lancet journal, average life expectancy had plummeted back to 54. Today, the U.N. puts it at 53.4.
The global average, by contrast, was 70 in 2011, according to the World Health Organization.
Part of the spectacular decline is attributed to the fact that South Africa in 2013 suffers from among the worst rates of AIDS on earth, too; often being dubbed the "AIDS capital of the world."
One of the worst plagues to wreak havoc in 2013 South Africa is violent crime, with the nation now widely lambasted as the rape and murder capital of the world.
"The objective data all points to a massive rise in crime," said Louw. "The anecdotal data does the same; people are nervous, people don't walk around the streets at night, and everybody knows somebody who has been carjacked, or robbed, or brutalized, or even killed."
"This is a simple manifestation of the breakdown of the state," he said. "Government is just appallingly bad at everything it does: education, healthcare, infrastructure, security, everything that is a government function is in shambles."
In reality, international organizations such as Interpol have argued that the real murder rates are likely twice as high as South African authorities admit.
South Africa, with its strict gun-control regime, has a murder rate in the neighborhood of 1,000 percent higher than in the United States.
"Most people don't bother to report crimes," said Louw. "This is a manifestation of the failure of government, and that is basically true of everything the government does."
The police force, packed with actual convicted criminals, is viewed as the most corrupted institution.
60 percent of South Africans felt the country was better managed under the previous, white-led regime.
"South Africa is in a serious moral crisis. We are a violent society disintegrating by the day. Ghastly murders are committed daily," wrote Farouk Araie from Johannesburg. "We have become delusional. Forgetting that life is absolutely intrinsic and inviolable, our country is awash with demonic monsters in human garb, savages fit only for the wild, and satanic beasts ill-equipped for civil society."
"One child raped every three minutes, three children murdered each day," Araie added. "We are sliding towards the edge of the abyss and our people are crying out for sanity to prevail."
After more than a century as the world's biggest gold producer, South Africa has slumped to sixth position.
South Africa, home to one of the world's richest reserves, has been hit hard.
Gold's decline this year is the biggest drop since 1981.
The gold mining industry eliminated 14,461 positions in the first nine months of the year, bringing the total remaining jobs to 126,587 in September, according to Statistics South Africa, the state statistics agency.
The industry has been reeling from labour strikes that have swept the country.
Village Main Reef officials forecast they could keep Blyvooruitzicht mine operating profitably until 2030, if not longer. The company invested 190 million rand ($18 million) in the site, taking operational control in June 2012
Blyvooruitzicht mine lost 90 million rand in the quarter ending June 2013. Village cut its financial assistance on July 30, and a court approved it for provisional liquidation a week later.