At its 2017 national conference the ANC put prescribed assets on the table. The notion was to force financial institutions to invest a share of their savers’ funds in projects handpicked by the government to fund “public infrastructure, skills development and job creation”.

Given the ANC’s dismal track record in all three areas and chronic losses across all state-owned enterprises (SOEs), it is a safe bet that these forced investments would have delivered lower returns than investments made on commercial grounds. Indeed, if it were otherwise there would be no need for prescription. The upshot is that prescribed investments would take money out of the pockets of pensioners and savers, diverting it instead to the ANC’s well-greased patronage networks...

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