SA is a complex swirl of emotions: edginess, anger, despair and resignation. Most worrying is that such emotions apply to business too, putting the country at a very dangerous point — there is a risk of abandoning hope. Hope should be carefully calibrated — both extremes are damaging. Too much of it leads to complacency, of which there was an excess in too many quarters between 2009 and 2018. Growth forecasts were constantly mean-reverting higher to precrisis averages despite the blatant evidence of serious damage being done. Too much hope can mean people assume other people are doing the heavy lifting of reform and change or that solutions will magically present themselves because SA has been able to deal with its problems in the past. Some of this thinking infects policymakers now. Panic is a good antidote to excess hope. As I wrote in December, we need to see hands-in-the-air panic on Eskom to drive change and clear political obstacles to taking the necessary decisions that are n...

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