In 2014, poultry company Astral Foods built a R200m animal feed mill in Standerton, a town on the Vaal River about two hours from Joburg. It was exactly the kind of investment the economy needs to trigger growth, create jobs and compete globally.

Astral, which sells more than 200-million chickens a year, is the town’s biggest employer, as well as its biggest customer for water and electricity...

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