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The global commodities boom has been good for SA’s public finances and for its currency, with soaring mining profits providing a huge boost to tax collections and high mineral export prices boosting the balance of payments current account.

The boom has been less good for SA’s real economy, as it were. GDP figures show the mining sector grew in 2021 by an encouraging 11.8%. But that didn’t reverse the previous year’s 11.9% contraction or the decline in 2019. Nor did it create jobs: official figures show mining employment declined in 2021 by 3.5%...

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