Let’s hope the creation of a new government on Wednesday marks the end of the madness of industrial policy in democratic SA. The imposition of a 10% import duty on solar panels by former trade, industry & competition minister Ebrahim Patel — as almost a final act before departing (https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2024-07-02-trade-authority-slap-10-duty-on-solar-panel-imports/) — being greeted by admirers as the beginnings of a local PV industry, is just wild. 

Patel became economic development minister in former president Jacob Zuma’s first government in 2009, and he had 15 years of planning and fiddling and intervening in industry before leaving. Always he did so with the wrong goal in mind — he wanted to “create” jobs where he should have concentrated on creating wealth. ..

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