Tucked away at the back of the 2020 Budget Review were a series of exchange control updates that included the following: “Approval conditions granted by the minister of finance for corporates with a primary listing offshore, including dual listed structures, will be aligned to the current foreign direct investment criteria and/or conditions to level the playing field.”

As it turned out, the “corporates” involved were just one: Anglo American. It was granted permission to move to London in 1999 subject to a series of conditions, including on moving money. Over the next two decades, SA largely abolished exchange control for foreign companies operating in SA — and the other four companies that had moved to London, subject to similar conditions, disappeared. That left Anglo alone with its old-style excon restrictions — and the group negotiated successfully to level that particular playing field...

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