Business people and entrepreneurs should be treated as heroes, as their aim is to develop and grow SA’s economy, President Cyril Ramaphosa preached to the converted to much applause at last week’s investment summit. As the president highlighted, we’ve treated business as the enemy for far too long in this country. It shows in all the numbers — declining foreign direct investment, declining per-capita GDP growth, rising poverty levels, unemployment near record levels. Today nearly 9-million South Africans who would like a job are sitting idle. This may be an odd time to turn to former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld for advice. You have to go to war with the army you have, he said, not the one you wish you had. The good news is that the economic army we have may be a bit battered and bruised, but there are a few bittereinders left standing that we can go to war with — and win.

First, we need to acknowledge the importance of the mining sector in SA: not just for the sake of...

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