It is almost poignant that trade & industry minister Ebrahim Patel invests his hope in consumers buying SA products — “made proudly by local workers” — as a way of making sure “we can rebuild the economy”.

We should, and most will try to. SA’s manufacturers and retailers might well pray that such spirited patriotism will do the trick, as Patel imagines it will. But local pride will come to nothing if domestic producers are unable not just to get back on their feet but to be free enough to be competitive, enterprising, innovative and flexible — all of which will depend on an environment stripped of every impediment to their success.

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