“Open for business” is a term often bandied about by our current government. In reality, this appears not to be the case. A ban on foreigners owning property (now partially reversed); a cap on farm ownership (which will make a mockery of farming economies of scale); failing public utilities and infrastructure; more draconian labour law adjustments in the pipeline; further discrimination against non-BEE companies (with ever-progressive requirements, and goal posts that move further each year), as well as new mooted mining legislation that will drive away any sensible investor – all of these conspire to make this country terribly business-unfriendly. Add in a dose of shocking governance; rampant public service corruption and ineptitude; the transition to a police state (witness the cellphone jamming debacle at SONA 15); the rapid destruction of the anti-corruption units and SARS investigative capacities, and there can be no wonder why so much money sits idle on balance sheets of local companies. This is not a time to invest, if one applies classical investment criteria.

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