South Africa's Industrial Policy: Time for a Review and a Rethink

Spelt out in a series of annual Industrial Policy Action Plans (IPAP), South Africa’s industrial policy has been in place for over a decade. Instruments have been chosen to support the manufacturing sector in general and certain sectors have been prioritised and receive additional support. This paper examines the major instrument of South Africa’s industrial policy, namely investment subsidies, and the three major priority sectors, autos and components, clothing and textiles and mineral beneficiation. The paper outlines the failure of industrial policy to realise its objectives. It also outlines the poor performance of South African manufacturing as compared with comparator countries. In the light of this failure and South Africa’s poor comparative performance, the paper proposes some alternative strategies to enhance manufacturing growth and employment.