On August 24, 2022, a strike was called by trade unions in South Africa to protest against skyrocketing prices, high cost of living, and lack of wage increases.
Two leading trade unions are spearheading the protest. One of the two is the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), an ally of the African National Congress (ANC) for a long time.
The past few days have witnessed South Africa engage in a nationwide protest because of the soaring inflation and numerous supply chain disruptions. Due to the surge in fuel and energy prices and the Ukraine-Russia war, South Africa unable to adapt to the rising costs that are taking a toll on its citizens.
South Africa has been a victim of economic blackouts for too long. As per a report issued by the World Bank, there are 30.3 million citizens that reside in extreme poverty in South Africa. The current rate of unemployment is a staggering 33.9 percent. There is no job creation for the South Africans. The situation is indeed alarming for most economists.
Ever since India’s wheat export ban, the Russia-Ukraine war, and ongoing production uncertainties, price of basic commodities such as grain and rice have starkly increased. The above, melded with increasing power cuts, lack of increments, and lower wages for workers, have led to many expressing their concern for the country’s future, and marching on the streets as a show of protest.
Numerous areas of Pakistan right now are reeling in floods. Till last reports, around 350,000 people have been evacuated from Charsadda and Nowshera, while others still wait for help. The situation in Balochistan is no different.
As per a report issued by the World Bank, there are 30.3 million citizens that reside in extreme poverty in South Africa. The current rate of unemployment is a staggering 33.9 percent.
As people criticize the government for not taking timely rescue and relief action, the leading political parties continue to engage in hateful power politics — the recent one being jalsas held by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) on August 27, 2022. While people die in flood-affected areas, the parties continue to fight for power.
Pakistan’s Sensitive Price Index (a measure of assessing the price movement of essential short-term items) peaked at 44.58 percent. This is the highest in the country’s history. It is particularly concerning because, in the weeks ahead, the nation will probably have an acute food shortage. With food, medicine, and electricity prices already soaring, it would not be surprising to see Pakistani citizens protesting in the streets. For South Africans, this was a way to express their discontent with their government. Pakistanis would not hesitate to follow a similar path.
However, it could get problematic for PM Shehbaz Sharif if people resort to mass protests. When he came to power in April this year, the economy was struggling, and not much has been done to improve the situation in the past five months. Sharif and his PML-N would lose support if nothing is done to control the spiraling inflation, counter food shortage and rehabilitate flood-affected victims.
We need guidance, and we need it now. Otherwise, Pakistan’s future will become bleaker. Many more will suffer due to such negligence and mismanagement.