Robert Mugabe’s (93) 37-year-long rule of our neighbouring country, Zimbabwe has come to an abrupt halt and most probable end. This comes shortly after Mugabe fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Unknown to Mugabe, Emmerson had the support of Zimbabwe’s military. The majority of Zimbabwe and the world will be happy to see Mugabe’s rule come to an official end. Change at this point is inevitable but how exactly will this coup affect South Africa?
The coup might be beneficial for South Africa’s economy in the long run. A regime change for Zimbabwe has the potential to bring about an economic turnaround for the country, directly affecting South Africa. The immediate effects, however, may not be as positive. As the new government struggles to find legitimacy. This lack of legitimacy makes trade, future growth and the economy, very fragile. In the short-term, things might get worse for Zimbabwe before it gets any better.
Zimbabwe makes use of the Rand and the US Dollar as they do not have their own currency. This means that, if things don’t look good for Zimbabwe then they automatically don’t look good for South Africa. This is as a result of the their strong trade ties. A full-blown coup will lead to a surge of illegal immigrants into South Africa. South Africa already has to deal with rife unemployment. As it stands, there is already too little jobs available for South Africans therefore accommodating even more immigrants will only have a negative effect on levels of employment and therefore our economy.
What was once the breadbasket of Africa has since turned into a wasteland as a result of colonial legacy and because of Robert Mugabe’s extended rule. Although the fall of an essential dictatorship is to be celebrated, the immediate and long-term effects of the decision needs to be taken into consideration. The extreme action the coup has taken suggests that they have taken it all into consideration and perhaps the people of Zimbabwe have just simply had enough. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, along with other African leaders has chosen to intervene. Although the military has assured that the coup is ultimately non-violent that status could change any second. Tensions are high and the Africa waits in anticipation to see what happens next. And also, what happens after ‘next’.