Welcome though they may be, it would be a mistake to read the newly released quarterly growth figures as indicating a turnaround. Growth for the year is likely to remain anaemic, coming in at well under 2% at best, and quite possibly under 1%.

The reality is that SA faces enormous challenges to its prosperity, many of which are self-inflicted. Leave aside for the moment such deeply entrenched problems as the country’s poor educational outcomes and its inefficient and politicised public service. It is breathtaking that a country with unemployment at 29% has introduced a national minimum wage and threatens tougher action to police the racial profile of workplaces. Or that, as SA peers into a fiscal black hole, its government promises an unaffordable national health insurance scheme and dismisses concerns about its costs.

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