SA is a dysfunctional, broken and collapsing society


The pillars that hold South Africa as a society are being shaken violently and it is time for all citizens, civil society and the private sector to rise up and avert a total collapse which is increasingly looking inevitable with each passing day.

Describing a collapsed society is not the easiest of things.

But philosophers and sociologists generally agree that a collapsed society is typified by certain characteristics.

And I am afraid South Africa is exhibiting signs that it is headed towards total collapse.

The shock announcement on Monday that University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and murdered at the Clareinch Post Office in Claremont, Cape Town, will receive a lot of attention in the next few days.

Men will rightfully receive public opprobrium for toxic masculinity and patriarchy.

South African men – all of us men – have declared open season on women and children.

Unfortunately, laying the blame on patriarchy is a gross misdiagnosis, which will predictably lead to wrong prescriptions.

Patriarchy and toxic masculinity on their own cannot account for the ultraviolence visited on women and children.

South Africa is also not the most patriarchal society on the continent.

There are societies where patriarchy is everyday life, but men are not as bloodthirsty as their South African counterparts.

The offensive and aggression against women and children in South Africa is a sign of a collapsing society.

The onslaught against women and children is a manifestation of a collapsing society.

A collapsing society is also typified by general lawlessness and the rule of law is replaced by the law of the jungle.

In a lawless society men become like animals in the jungle and attack the weakest in their midst.

South Africa is a collapsing society.

Earlier this year, former transport minister Blade Nzimande told Parliament that during the three and a half year period to January arsonists burned 214 train coaches, setting back the Passenger Rail of South Africa by R632 million.

More train coaches have since been burned and the cost to Prasa is probably north of R700 million.

The wanton and senseless destruction of public infrastructure for no apparent reason is a sign of a collapsing society.

With each passing year, South Africans find fresh ways of collapsing their society.

Sometime last year the N3 highway to Durban, especially around Mooiriver in KwaZulu-Natal, became a no-go zone after thugs set a number of trucks on fire, looting the cargo and murdering the drivers.

Reliable statistics are hard to come by, but back-of-the-envelope figures suggest that over 100 trucks and cargo, to the value of R1.5 billion, have been set alight and looted.

Over 200 drivers, many of them Zimbabweans, have been killed in the process.

These are characteristics of a collapsing society.

South Africa is a collapsing society. Two months ago enraged protestors near Potchefstroom in the North West hijacked an excavator and dug large chunks off a tarred road, creating craters on the road, cutting off motorists.

The video clip, still available online, displays the kind of barbarism and anarchy which has no place in a modern democracy.

It is the same kind of idiocy displayed by the Fees Must Fall protestors which left a trail of destruction which cost taxpayers over R500 million in 2016.

I will probably be attacked by the woke ones for calling black people barbarians, but it is what it is. South Africa needs people who will call things what they are.

If you need more convincing that this society is broken and is collapsing, look no further than how you drive.

You skip red robots, drink and drive, drive on the yellow line, drive facing oncoming traffic, overtake on a solid line, are impatient and are ready to show the middle finger at the slightest of provocations.

The number of people who perish on the roads is exceedingly high and South African roads are generally up to par with roads in developed countries.

The explanation is that we are a dysfunctional, broken and collapsing society.

Last month South Africans watched in horror as foreigners attacked the police in the Johannesburg city centre.

It was not the first time. About a year ago there was a video clip in which foreigners in and around Berea and Yeoville had a confrontation with the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department over illegal parking.

Truth be told, the fact that foreigners don’t do violence in their own countries but do it here means that they learned from us.

We condemn them because we want monopoly on violence in our own country.

Disregard for symbols and figures of authority is a sure sign of a broken and a collapsing society.

It is only a matter of time before this society collapses completely and becomes like Mexico and many Latin American countries where drug gangs execute their rivals in broad daylight, in front of the police.

Following the run-in between the police and foreigners in the city centre, there has been a low-intensity conflict between the authorities and immigrants.

Affected areas include the Johannesburg city centre, Jeppe, Malvern and surrounding suburbs.

This past weekend violence flared again, and foreign-owned shops were looted and hundreds of cars in dealerships around these suburbs were torched.

Lawlessness in the city centre has resulted in the influx of contraband goods, general decay of buildings and public spaces due to littering and people relieving themselves on pavements.

Lastly, a collapsing society is typified by a general decline in values and morals, a deterioration of public institutions and decadent lifestyles by politicians and businesspeople.

When a society collapses, there is also a marked increase in clamour for resources by everyone, but mainly politicians and businesspeople in the private sector.

In South Africa this is clearly demonstrated by the revelations coming out of the Zondo Commission.

All South Africans are hanging on a cliff and it is up to us to haul our country back from the brink or let it tumble over the edge.

Sipho Masondo
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001  e:
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