BHP’s proposed takeover of Anglo American has been roundly criticised by politicians, including finance minister Enoch Godongwana and mineral resources & energy minister Gwede Mantashe. That the Australians are not keen on Anglo’s platinum and iron ore interests may indeed be interpreted as a motion of no confidence in South Africa.

More broadly, this kind of deal can also be seen as a reflection on the country’s main stock exchange, where many companies are trading at what appear to be rock-bottom valuations following years of underwhelming performance. In a free market such a situation will ultimately be noticed by global players with deep pockets who are happy enough to swoop in and pick up bargains...

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