From Capitol Hill to Cape Town, financial markets and economic participants grapple with the phenomenon of political uncertainty. In SA, many analysts dwell on the deepening divisions within the ANC and its alliance partners, the allegations of state capture and its impact on economic growth, in particular private sector investment. But politics only accounts for part of the considerable growth gap between SA and its peers. More likely, the roots of SA’s lacklustre growth go deeper than today’s political headlines; they can be traced to entrenched inequality and skills gaps, combined with the fading of the secular growth underpins that previously helped lift living standards. Over the last 15 years, these tailwinds were the commodity super-cycle, global reintegration and an emergence of a middle class helped by public sector employment. Recognising these core economic challenges is an important step. Indeed, the ANC’s elective conference may not be the economic turning point for SA ...

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