The Sunday Times reported an apparent mea culpa by finance minister Enoch Godongwana over the increase of the institutional offshore investment limit two years ago to 45%. His description of it as a “grave mistake” was unusual for a politician. But it misses the mark in a big way.

First, a brief background. Since the end of apartheid, the regulations governing exchange control, introduced in 1961 based on legislation passed in 1933, have been gradually relaxed. Those regulations cover everything from the amount of jewellery that travellers can leave the country with to how much South Africans are allowed to invest offshore (the manual is 293 pages long)...

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