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The trouble with the president’s social compact aspirations is not so much that he has missed his own 100-day deadline, but more that the whole concept is fundamentally flawed. And the draft compact document, which has been widely leaked, just serves to highlight those flaws.

First of these is that the partners to the proposed compact are not equal. That is, some of them matter a great deal to the economic outcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is trying to achieve; some of them don’t. He speaks of the grand compact he has in mind in the context of the need “to turn our economy around and create the millions of jobs needed”, as he put in his weekly newsletter last week...

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