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Around this time in 2017, SA’s major state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were in the grip of a multifaceted crisis of governance, leadership and capital structures. Even though the trains were still running, moving freight to ports and passengers to and from work, the lights were on and the national airline was airborne despite its controversial board, the sense of deepening crisis wasn’t lost to funders, investors and bondholders.

Five years on the picture has worsened, and yet no sense of urgency around this economic emergency is evident. Eerily, it’s almost like business as usual...

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