The decline of Johannesburg: Why Africa’s richest city is crumbling

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Facing power outages, crumbling infrastructure, and a governance crisis, Johannesburg, once hailed as Africa’s richest city, is facing a deepening struggle for survival.

The dysfunction in the city stems from unstable coalitions, a lack of maintenance, and the shortcomings of Eskom, with load-shedding leaving businesses idle for hours, disrupting daily life, and forcing residents to rely on ingenuity to navigate the chaos. With high unemployment rates, widespread poverty, and escalating crime, Johannesburg’s decline reflects a broader collapse of basic services across South Africa, raising concerns about the country’s future.

Africa’s Richest City Is Crumbling Under Chaos and Corruption

By S’thembile Cele

Solomon Owa’s fingers work quickly as he speaks over the hum of his sewing machine. That’s because the hum of his sewing machine might stop at any moment. “In a few minutes, the power will go,” he said.

The 51-year-old runs a tailoring business from his garage in Johannesburg. Outages leave him idle for up to 10 hours a day. Surrounded by piles of colourful material, he needs to work while he can.

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