Popular opinion would have you believe that the private sector is pursuing an aggressive acquisition strategy overseas at the expense of fixed investment domestically. And people seem to think that the profits such acquisitions generate are hoarded abroad — again, to the country’s disadvantage. Since 2013, R385bn has been spent to acquire and raise equity holdings in offshore undertakings — a gobsmacking figure. This explains why some conclude that business prefers expanding overseas to investing in fixed assets locally. Others push it further still, calling it unpatriotic. It’s tempting to focus solely on the private sector’s offshore activities. But that’s not fair. In reality, the private sector invests meaningfully more every year in SA than this R385bn, which the firms have invested overseas over five years. Also, not only have corporates continued to invest in plant, tools, machinery and so forth, they’ve even increased capital outlays moderately, from R470bn in 2013 to R550bn...

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