SA’s ranking may have slipped in the annual economic freedom of the world index, published by conservative Canadian think-tank the Fraser Institute — but it also reveals how many of these freedoms remain in place in SA.

The index, which measures factors including the extent to which property rights are protected and the ability to trade freely, puts SA at 84th out of the 165 countries surveyed. True, this is lower than the 62nd of 2005, or the 42nd of 1995, but there has been real improvement from 6.67 out of 10 at the 2005 peak to 6.97 today.

SA also ranks considerably higher than any of our peers from the Brics economies: Russia (100), India (108), Brazil (109) and China (116). Still, on the list headed by Hong Kong, seven other African countries rank higher than SA.

The warning signs are ominous — and this year’s report contains an entire chapter about SA’s proposed expropriation regime, written by the Free Market Foundation’s Martin van Staden. The report calls it a "confiscation regime", and warns of the "uncertainty and dangers that come with such an awesome power".

The ANC, recklessly flirting with expropriation, should take heed — not least because of the cautionary tale provided by the country placed stone last: Venezuela.


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