Carol Paton Editor at Large

The crowning achievement of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s trip to China earlier this month, according to press reports, was the clinching of a deal for China to build a 4,600MW coal-fired power station in Limpopo, a cement plant and a stainless steel and ferro-chromium plant for around $10bn. As we know, Ramaphosa is shopping for investment and will take what he gets, but even by these standards this seemed of all the options a surprising and arbitrary priority to have persuaded Africa’s most enthusiastic investor to back. First, we have an excess of electricity, which is set to grow in future; second, the world steel industry is in crisis; and, third, none of these are sectors identified by the government as potential job-rich, growth-rich places to invest. It is also worth mentioning that the above-mentioned power station (which is only a little smaller than the huge Medupi and Kusile) appears nowhere in SA’s long-awaited and much anticipated energy blueprint, the Integrated Resourc...

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