COVID-19 and Regional integration in Southern Africa: South Africa’s moment of truth

South Africa must lead in revitalising a post-COVID-19 social compact for Southern Africa as a foundational inspiration for Africa’s socio-economic and democratic recovery. A core assumption held by observers of global affairs is that societies and economies benefit from close cooperation. This is assumed to evolve where interests and values overlap, leading to political and economic integration, benefiting all who participate. A global political economic system, driven by globalisation is seen as an ultimate outcome. A complementary assumption is that systemic checks and balances (for example, regulation by the World Trade Organisation) tend to reduce capitalism’s excesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has put these assumptions to the test as never before.