South Africa grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2017 with political brawls, corruption allegations, cabinet reshuffles and political infighting. In August, South African President Jacob Zuma narrowly survived an eighth vote of no confidence in his leadership, only to be usurped as leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Party by Cyril Ramaphosa in December. These events follow long-running claims of corruption against Zuma and his cohort. Under former president Thabo Mbeki, Zuma was dismissed from his role as Vice-President after being implicated in a corruption scandal and accusations continued throughout his presidency.
But worryingly for South Africa, the Fragile States Index (FSI) also demonstrated that these were simply the latest events in a long-term decline. In the 2017 FSI, South Africa ranked as the most-worsened country over the preceding decade that was not in a state of conflict, with a ten-year worsening trend that was matched only by the likes of war-torn Libya and Syria for the magnitude of its negative rate-of-change.