When economists search for explanations of SA’s economic sclerosis and its persistently weak growth, one of the factors that comes up is the high level of concentration in the economy. There are key sectors dominated by just three to five large companies that collectively often have market shares of 80% or more. Economists, including those of the IMF and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have pointed to economic concentration as a drag on SA’s growth rate. They have pointed as well to the way in which economic concentration inhibits the entry of smaller, newer competitors, whether black-or white-owned, and so undermines SA’s ability to generate inclusive growth and jobs. And if the economics of concentration are problematic, so too are the politics, with the dominance of so few in so many sectors feeding into the “white monopoly capital” narrative that blames big, supposedly white-owned businesses for the exclusion from the economy of smaller black-owned as...

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