Despondency is growing among businessmen, investors and members of the professional class in SA. In the past three months the future has become less certain. The economic turnaround, if it can be pulled off at all, will be more difficult than imagined. At the same time, the ANC and President Cyril Ramaphosa are being driven ever further down a developmental cul de sac, as they fear losing power and are making it up as they go along, pushed in the direction of short-sighted populism because of earlier failures. Ramaphosa’s announcement on land expropriation without compensation last Tuesday was an important example. In and of itself it will have profound implications for whether SA is considered a good place to invest. But just as importantly there is reason to believe it will not be the ANC’s last capitulation to populism. It is also a critical indicator of another disturbing trend: the declining influence of business and the investor community in shaping government policy. How we g...

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