Although there is money to be made on the edge, most
entrepreneurs prefer political stability and the rule of law.
The past, present, and future of South Africa may prove the
It was not the ANC but South Africa’s business community
that finished off apartheid – by financing the “yes” vote in the referendum to
It was rewarded by a period of prosperity and stability
under President Mandela. However, concerns about the longer term prospects for
business in the “rainbow nation” have grown under President Mbeki, and next year
may see the even greater uncertainty of a President Zuma.
A glance northward, to Zimbabwe, reminds South African
entrepreneurs how easily and swiftly even a strong economy can be ruined by
corrupt, statist politicians.
Alongside political concerns are worries about the personal
safety of those doing business in South Africa. Crime is a serious threat to
the economy. The murder
of historian and entrepreneur David Rattray was a particularly significant
As a place to do business, South Africa retains several big
advantages: wonderful natural resources, a real entrepreneurial ethos among
significant sections of the population, and the rule of law, still administered
by a fairly honest system.
Yet it remains an edgy place for entrepreneurs.