Often held up as the panacea to the country's fiscal and structural woes is the idea of privatising some ailing state-owned enterprises that hang like albatrosses around the neck of its prospects. It's rather tempting, isn't it, when one considers the past decade of corporate governance collapse and corruption at virtually every single public-owned entity. The rot is so very deep and so much of our own doing that in some corridors the only real fix being contemplated is for South Africa to follow the course charted by Margaret Thatcher almost 40 years ago in the UK. When she came to power in 1979, privatisation was just a minor part of her Conservative Party's manifesto, but by the end of her term in 1990 it was the central ideology. About 40 companies in factories, steel, transport, aerospace, gas, electricity, telecoms and even water were privatised. Even after Thatcher's time, the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown continued much in the same vein, even though it di...

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