Sunday, 2 June 2019

The Present - June 2019

by Trevor Watkins 2/6/19
In June 2018 I wrote an essay entitled "The Future". I outlined 3 possible future scenarios, the Greek, the Zimbabwe and the Ramaphosa scenarios. Despite sturdy attempts to get this published on Politicsweb and elsewhere, it received little or no public exposure other than on the Individualist Movement blog and Facebook group.

I revisited this essay in June 2019, and was quite pleased at how accurately at least one of the scenarios had played out. - the so-called Ramaphosa scenario. Of course, if you paint enough scenarios, at least one of them is likely to be close. 

I did put in some hard predictions, like the election results. The actual results (with my predictions in brackets) were: ANC 57% (55%), DA 20% (20%), EFF 10% (15%). Except for the EFF, pretty close.

I also predicted that the ANC would split before the end of the year. Ramaphosa seems to have done a good job of unifying the party, so that seems less likely now. However, the probability of a split in the DA seems to be growing, with Mmusi Maimane heading the ANC-lite wing, and Zille and others going back to their liberal roots. The good news is that the EFF came nowhere near the feared 15%, and also seems to be sailing in fairly troubled waters. I must confess that the resurgence of the FF+ (and to a lesser extent, the IFP) caught me (and everybody else) by surprise.

I think that the potential for catastrophic fiscal shocks, as described in the other 2 scenarios, is still lurking out there, but a more sensible cabinet and a less corrupt government may yet succeed in overcoming them.  Unfortunately, I still think my last line of the scenario remains most likely.
Late 2019
Ramaphosa remains president of a deeply divided country.
South Africa stumbles along with no major policy shifts and poor future prospects.
For your information, here is the original and untouched prediction.
Ramaphosa scenario

Timescale
Description
Consequences
Late 2018
The “Incident” does not occur. Eskom or SAA do not default on their loans, there is no natural disaster,  assassination,or epidemic.
The fragile fiscal house of cards remains intact.
The government manages to borrow enough money to avoid catastrophe. Salaries, grants, creditors continue to be paid.
The rand declines, the stock market declines, service delivery protests continue.
Ramaphosa’s government continues to strengthen, prosecutes corruption, reduces size of cabinet, makes reassuring noises on EWC.
The delicate juggling act begins to pay off for Cyril.
EFF and the Zuma faction become ever more hysterical, and irrelevant.
The DA continues to flounder.
Malema’s star begins to wane. Internal dissensions in EFF mount. Court cases takes their toll on Zuma and Malema.
Early 2019
Early elections announced. Ramaphosa under huge pressure from radical elements in ANC and EFF. In order to curry favour with ANC base, several businesses and farms expropriated in high profile cases.
Court cases challenging expropriation ensue.  DA is enraged. Ratings agencies threaten further downgrades.
Elections take place. ANC wins 55% majority, EFF 15%, DA 20%.
Economy continues to crumble. Growth rate is negative 1%. Little new fixed investment. Unemployment reaches 50%.
ANC splits into verligte wing, committed to market friendly policies and economic recovery, and verkrampte wing committed to ongoing socialist policies.
Verligte wing absorbs most black members of DA, forms the DANCe party. Remains titular government under Ramaphosa, with narrow majority.
Verkrampte wing (called the ANC Loyalists League) merges with the EFF, forms the EFFALL party.
Remainder of DA becomes a liberal party.
Separatist movement in Western Cape gains strength. Tax revolt in Western Cape.
Basic services in northern provinces severely compromised.
Mid 2019
DANCe party encounters major internal strategic and philosophical differences. Majority dwindles due to desertions.
Service delivery rioting increases around country. Riots move from dusty townships into leafy suburbs.Many middle class suburbs in Western Cape and Gauteng become walled cities with own management, independent of state entities.
Tax collections plummet, adding to pressure on fiscus.
Late 2019
Ramaphosa remains president of a deeply divided country.
South Africa stumbles along with no major policy shifts and poor future prospects.

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