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At the end of June SA’s economic narrative swung firmly into positive territory. The catalyst was bold energy reform, which unleashed the prospect of billions of rand in green energy investment. This, coupled with a robust first-quarter recovery driven by the commodity boom, transformed SA’s immediate fiscal and growth picture.

Suddenly it was possible to imagine a future without load-shedding, where the debt ratio and SA’s credit risk were falling in tandem, and positive per capita growth restored after years of steady decline. But before the new, constructive mood could gain a proper foothold it all came crashing down in an orgy of looting and violence...

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