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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s comment on job creation in the state of the nation address has sparked an irritating debate in SA about whether the private sector or government create jobs. That’s like arguing about whether it’s the doctor or the medicine that heals. Both have roles. To oversimplify, the government creates conditions in which businesses grow jobs.

Those who love big government say the private sector has been losing jobs and cannot be trusted to look after people. Those who love small government say the government has failed to manage its existing state-owned enterprises and cannot be trusted to look after anything. Both have a point, but reflect mistaken views on the role of each...

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