As South African voters prepare to head to the polls in two weeks' time, an investment go-slow is not showing any signs of dissipating, reflecting anxiety about the makeup of the new cabinet after the elections. And the numbers tell the story. Inbound foreign direct investment during the first quarter of this year is close to its lowest level in five years, with only 19 deals recorded compared to 35 in the three months to March last year. The total value of the deals has dropped from $595.5m (R8.65bn) in the first quarter last year to $438.7m for the same period this year, data from global investment consulting firm Refinitiv shows. Business and consumer confidence surged last year as President Cyril Ramaphosa sought to root out corruption and restore credibility to key institutions, but sentiment has soured since.

Foreign direct investment flows into SA are volatile.In the first quarter of 2007, $4.39bn flowed into SA as China's thirst for commodities seemed insatiable, but i...

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