The fact that SA is now in recession has come as a big shock to even the most expert economy-watchers. But if you were looking for reasons why the economy is contracting you could do worse than glance at the 2018 draft Mining Charter. I don’t mean necessarily the specific details of the charter, which closed for public comment last week. I mean in a broader philosophical sense of what it says about how the ANC views business. By all accounts the new charter is better than its predecessor, but only in that it is authoritarian as opposed to grotesque. The Gupta provision, for example, whereby naturalised Indian immigrants would suddenly become qualifying black South Africans, has been scrapped. Hallelujah. The new Mining Charter to me is a reflection of how the ANC has changed from the Mbeki-era approach to the economy and business to that of the Zuma era, and now under the new Ramaphosa administration. This is a kind of subset of the broader political argument about whether the ANC s...

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