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Sunday Oct 04, 2020

Activists celebrate small victory, mull next move

A GROUP of queer activists occupying a lavish Camps Bay property are mum on their next move following an eviction order issued by the Western Cape High Court last week.
This comes after property management and hospitality group Turnkey365 instituted legal and civil action against the #WeSeeYou movement members who refused to vacate the property after their paid stay expired. The group occupied the mansion about two weeks ago, fighting what they called "global elites in a corrupt and broken system of inequality".
The eviction order stated that the group had to vacate the property by 12pm on Thursday. Judge Mokgoatji Dolamo paused court proceedings to confirm that the City could provide emergency alternative housing for three activists who were left homeless during the lockdown. Yesterday, the group would not confirm their next course of action.
After court proceedings, the group posted on social media that the collective was an "anomaly" to the system, celebrating the judgment as a small victory.
Turnkey365 said: "We are pleased that the rule of law and property rights have been upheld."
WE ARE all familiar with the health, economic, social and inequality impact of Covid-19. Humanity is reeling.
In Australia and the US, right-wing protesters are resorting to violence in opposition to lockdowns and wearing masks. In the US too, BLM supporters, sometimes infiltrated by extremists, continue to protest against police brutality against blacks. The pattern is repeated in countries the world over.
Is this Covid-19 fatigue, the isolation of which is manifesting itself through increased mental health issues, violence and civil disorder?
In South Africa, race remains a raw nerve, where an insult or oversight can in the blink of an eye lead to ugly protests, often led by those with a nefarious agenda in which fuelling race hate seems to be the modus operandi. The way the EFF, for instance, has overreacted to the online Clicks advert debacle at a time of great hardship for millions of South Africans, suggests it is losing the plot.
If we magnify the protests, threats and tensions on a global scale, Covid19 or not, the world beyond 2020 faces a cornucopia of emerging new risks.
South Africa is still in a better place than many peer countries, especially in Africa. As such, Risk Map 2020, the crisis management guide on Political Risk, Terrorism and Political Violence released by insurance giant AON and its partners, makes uncomfortable reading because its takeaways have the potential to be more pervasive and devasting than Covid-19.
These include riots and civil unrest fuelled by a growing disgruntlement; extreme right-wing terrorism against foreigners in the US and Europe; adoption of trade barriers and protectionism; expropriation by governments; sovereign and corporate debt default; and the long-term effects of Covid19 on health infrastructure and the economies of 188+ countries affected by the pandemic.
"The socio-economic implications of Covid-19," stress the authors, "are likely to be significant, creating complex security challenges long-term. Hard-hit countries have greater potential for civil unrest and government-focused protest regarding response and lockdown measures. Economic grievances may also incubate nationalist extremism or encourage political violence."
The economic consequences of Covid-19 also come through supply and labour market disruptions; consumer anxiety leading to restricted consumption; wider risk premia for equities and corporate debt, which impact on pension performance; and restrictive Emerging Market bond issuance because of debt default risk.
According to Risk Advisory Group, a co-author of the Guide, three out of five countries are exposed to some form of riots or civil unrest in 2020.
For South Africa, this is too close for comfort. Neighbouring Mozambique, which since 2017 has been experiencing a violent insurgency in the gas-rich northern Cabo Delgado province, and Cameroon are two such high-risk states. But, nearly half of the world "faces some degree of terrorism risk in 2020", with Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Nigeria having the highest number of casualties.
Africa is susceptible to "jihadist terrorism" in the Sahel, Nigeria, DCR and Mozambique. Countries with high food insecurity levels, highly reliant on trade and plagued by economic mismanagement or corruption are more likely to be vulnerable to unrest.
For Africa the outlook is bleak in two other trends – Argentina, Angola, Djibouti and Togo have a high risk of sovereign debt non-payment, while 75% of countries least prepared for climate disruption are in Africa.
Political interference in emerging markets similarly is assuming indirect forms – increasing tax pressures, export restrictions and tougher local content requirements.
Miga, the World Bank Group’s political risk guarantor, has provided $115.8 million (R1.9 billion) in guarantees for four renewable energy projects in the Northern and Western Cape. The electricity generated will be sold to Eskom. The guarantees, says Miga, "will help unlock funding and support economies severely impacted by Covid-19".

Cape Times 5 Oct 2020 Chevon Booysen


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