Democratic Eco-Socialism in South Africa
South Africa’s Carbon Capitalism
South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world according to any measure and since apartheid. Ironically, this is a conclusion of the World Bank in its recent 2018 report. The Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) have made these observations since 2014. Their research has shown that the top 10% gets two thirds of South Africa’s income. While, half of all South Africans are chronically poor, living in households with a per capita income of R1,149 or less per month. With South Africa’s drought, our first major climate shock, these inequalities have been made worse through high food prices, for instance. In addition, new climate inequalities have been created through the privatisation of water. The working class, unemployed and poor have borne the brunt of the drought. Alongside racialised and gendered super exploitation, high unemployment and increasing poverty, South Africa is a carbon intensive economy, based largely on coal. It is the 14th highest emitter of carbon emissions in the world, and despite energy inequality, has a per capita carbon footprint higher than China, India or Brazil. Carbon capitalism was the bedrock of apartheid and was part of ANC hegemony, and then dominance, in the post apartheid period. With the climate crisis, South Africa is a carbon criminal state, contributing to the greenhouse effect and the extinction of the human species and other life forms. It is an ‘eco-cidal' capitalism destroying the conditions that sustain life.