The Recession’s Aftermath: Economic and Social Conditions, 2009-2016
On April 22, 2009, South Africans went to the voting booths to elect a new government. The mood of the country differed significantly from past elections, with increasing discontent among South Africans who had traditionally supported the ANC. Yet while the ANC failed to gain a two- thirds majority for the first time since coming to power, Zuma won the presidency, and the ANC was victorious in the election, gaining 66 percent of the vote.
Zuma was re-elected to a five-year term in 2016—despite corruption charges, high unemployment, and increasing income gaps. The ANC again won the election, as well, with 62 percent of the vote.
How has South Africa fared under the Zuma presidency? How have the nation’s economic and social indicators changed, if at all? And what implications, if any, can be drawn, given the great global recession in 2007-2008, falling commodity prices worldwide, and the worst drought in South Africa in 30 years in 2015—which forced 50,000 South Africans into poverty?
The following section will provide a brief overview of South Africa’s economic and social conditions—and its persistent and continuing chal- lenges—since Zuma took office.