Peter Bruce Editor-at-large & columnist

Sometimes you have to repeat the obvious a thousand times in SA before it has any hope of being heard. Myths and magical thinking hold the high ground in our economic and industrial policy. We can create black industrialists. We can beneficiate our own minerals and manufacture exports the world craves. We can create labour-intensive industry and join the fourth industrial revolution at the same time. All we need to grow the economy is to transform it. None of the above will happen. Apart from the minerals we dig out of the ground, which we freight to our expensive ports and ship to customers who have been beneficiating for decades and already have the customers we think will fall into our lap, the dollar cost of our exports (other than processed fruits and foods and tourism, still hamstrung by insane visa regulations) is simply not competitive. The vehicles we export are heavily subsidised precisely to overcome the cost of labour. Even where a giant exporter like China has withdrawn...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now