The drive to Nampak’s factory in Vanderbijlpark takes you through a 1970s-style vision of SA as a young and thrusting industrial pup, feasting on cheap labour, its home-grown enterprises showing two fingers to the moralising curmudgeons up north.

Today the air is still crusty with smog, the roads once you get off the highway are rutted and decrepit, and throngs of unemployed people loiter on the littered verges.

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