SA’s construction industry is being demolished. After 45 years of trading on the JSE, Group Five’s stock was suspended on Tuesday after the company filed for bankruptcy protection, making it the fifth local builder to enter business rescue in less than a year. From a peak market value of R8.2bn in 2007, it was worth less than R100m when the shares stopped trading. While the construction industry is notoriously cyclical, the current mix of a depressed SA economy, high levels of national debt and low infrastructure spending is proving toxic as contracts dry up. At risk are thousands of jobs — including 8,000 at Group Five alone — in a country with an unemployment rate of more than 27%.

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