Like all countries, South Africa has been grappling with the deadly coronavirus, Covid-19, since it made its untimely appearance on the world stage earlier this year. Although it is tempting to put everything else on hold while acting to contain the virus and treat its victims, Covid-19 has highlighted and indeed reinforced the existing serious fault lines in South African society – from record levels of unemployment and a depleted fiscus to ever-deepening poverty and inequality.
When the public health crisis eventually subsides, the old structural socio-economic problems will of course still be there, but they will be felt more acutely in the aftermath of the coronavirus hurricane. What should South Africa be doing to prepare for the ‘new normal’ after Covid-19?
That is the overarching question that a new book from Jacana Media, Recession, Recovery and Reform: South Africa after Covid-19, seeks to tackle. Edited by prominent economist, Raymond Parsons, the book comprises a fascinating collection of essays by some of South Africa’s top intellectuals and thought leaders. While covering a wide range of topics, from labour market and land reform to economic empowerment, fiscal policy, productivity and the role of business in policymaking, the book’s core message is this: South Africa needs to reimagine a better future by using lessons from the past to craft and implement bold reforms that will pave the way for a more just and resilient society.