Since Ebrahim Patel’s arrival as political head of the department of trade & industry, a new buzzword is gaining momentum: the master plan. The seeds for this new approach were planted by his predecessor, Rob Davies, but now Patel seems to be becoming the master plan minister.

The idea is to take an industrial sector in need of support and investment, and set up a structure to nurture it. Most probably, this approach has been influenced by the auto sector, which already has its own master plan. The auto master plan has set ambitious targets for growth in vehicle assembly, local content and BEE support. In return, the government has extended its generous support mechanism...

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