Last Friday Ebrahim Patel, the minister of trade, industry and competition, gazetted proposals to allow local companies to collude in the interests of the “localisation” strategy he is following to re-industrialise SA. Good heavens!

In doing so, Patel, the Great Cartel Slayer of the 2010 World Cup construction firms, tacitly concedes that collusion may have positive outcomes. Economic historians like Glasgow University’s Jeffrey Fear could have told him that a long time ago...

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