There’s an innocuous item in the ANC’s 2019 manifesto, which many people would have skipped past. In soothing, sensible language, it talks of investigating a new framework to mobilise funds for "socially productive investments, including housing, infrastructure for social and economic development and township and village economy, and job creation".

It seems benign enough. Certainly, you could hardly argue against the rationale — until, that is, you grasp the nuts and bolts of this plan. This tool, it turns out, will be a regime of "prescribed assets": forcing pension funds or financial institutions to buy specific assets, decided by the government...

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