Efforts to revive the ailing sugar and steel industries — which jointly contribute close to R500bn to SA’s GDP — have been scuppered by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown measures meant to control the spread of the disease, parliament heard on Tuesday.

The local sugar industry generates an income of about R14bn a year and is responsible for at least 350,000 jobs. The sector is in dire straits due to a number of serious challenges, including the significant decrease in local demand due to the sugar tax and the continued reduction of the industry’s share of the local market because of imports...

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