The "primary" sectors — agriculture and mining — together contributed three-quarters of the surprisingly robust quarterly economic growth number of 2% for the third quarter. In a sensible environment, policy makers would surely be looking to these two growth drivers to see how their contribution to growth and jobs could be sustained and even boosted. They would be looking to nurture the investment in these sectors that would enable them to thrive in the long term, not just rebound in the short term. Not so SA’s policy makers. If one had to pick the two sectors that are subject to the worst policy uncertainty and where the regulatory environment is the most unfriendly to investment, it’s mining and agriculture. Investment in agriculture has fallen sharply in real terms over the past four years. In mining, investment has essentially moved sideways in real terms over the past eight years and is now slightly below 2009 levels.The regulatory environment wasn’t that friendly before, but t...

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