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Zahid Jadwat
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SA's biggest challenges in 2019

08 January 2019, 12:44
As the buzz and hype of a new year fades, the reality of a wide range of issues are inevitably beginning to settle in.
February marks one year since the removal of former president Jacob Zuma, but much is still left undone since President Cyril Ramaphosa took over.
From scepticism on the land issue to unemployment and crime, there really is a plethora of issues South Africa grapples with.
Here are five key issues which need urgent proactive attention, amongst an endless list of others:
1. Unemployment
I chose to begin with this one particularly because it is widely accepted as the undoubted root of many to follow.
With unemployment at an all time high, it comes to me as no surprise that crime is a major consequential issue. 27.5% of the population faces despondency in the face of joblessness as of October 30, 2018.
Further job slashes in a declining economy don't help to bring this number as low as we'd like it to be.
2. Crime
We know this all too well. Nobody is safe from the pervasive grip of crime.
From costly CCTV systems to huge 'fort' walls and at least two locks, it's evident almost everywhere that we've gone to extensive security measures to ensure the safety of ourselves and our loved ones.
But crime has still managed to afflict almost everyone. 
Police haven't allayed our fears and many now seek the protection services rendered by private security firms.
Thanks to that trend, South Africa now has one of the largest private security industries in the world with a whopping 9,000+ registered companies, 450,000 registered active private security guards and a further 1.5 million qualified (but inactive) guards; hugely outnumbering the available personnel of the combined South African police and army.
3. Inequality
Inequality is rife in South Africa, needless to say because it's widely evident to every eye.
Especially income inequality. With one of the most unequal income distribution patterns in the world, approximately 60% of South Africans earn less than R42,000 per annum, whereas 2.2% of the population has an income exceeding R360,000 per annum.
Such inequality is disgusting and the gap needs to be closed sooner than later.
4. Maladministration, inefficiency & corruption
The current South African government needs no training on how to fail a nation. 
Corruption has plagued even the highest office, leaving a long trace of destruction in almost all state institutions.
It has a knock-on effect on efficiency. Public hospitals, police and even basic services are on the brink of collapse - at least for the most part of it.
That also links to maladministration which obviously means inefficiency. 
One can expect to waste an entire day to get serviced at government institutions, sometimes not at all.
5. Housing
Housing is a basic right, but unfortunately it's the issue many destitute folks face in South Africa.
Estimates indicate that the number of homeless people in South Africa is around 200 000. This whilst the housing backlog in Gauteng alone stands high at nearly a million houses.
The headlines of a man who died due to weather conditions in July last year highlight the poor status of shelter and housing in South Africa.
Despite such an undignified death, to a large extent caused by gross failure of the government on performing its mandate; and an outcry, countless numbers still reside on the streets with just cardboard and a worn-out blanket as their mere cover.
These issues certainly have gone out of control. We need decisive action from the leaders - and we can't get that without true, dedicated leaders.
These are just five issues. There's a broader range of issues including the state of education, healthcare, infrastructure amongst many others.
I believe the 2019 elections will be a defining moment in the history of the ANC's prolonged victory since the dawn of democracy. If they don't convince the ignorant in their favour on the land issue (another matter worthy of its own column), they'll lose bitterly.
I guess the future president has a lot piling on his table since the beginning of ANC failure.
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