South Africa’s Manufacturing Ability Shrinks: Here’re The Facts


Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) preliminary statistical release on “Manufacturing: Production and Sales” revealed that South Africa’s manufacturing ability has declined.

As culled from the statistical release, the country’s manufacturing production reduced by 0.8 percent in May 2017.

Comparing the latest state of South Africa’s manufacturing ability with that of May 2016, Stats SA listed that the largest year-on-year contributions to the decline were made in the following divisions:

  1. Petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products (-8,4% and contributing -2,1 percentage points);
  2. Basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery (5,2% and contributing 1,0 percentage point); and
  3. Food and beverages (3,5% and contributing 0,9 of a percentage point).

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Also, it was found that seasonally adjusted manufacturing production decreased by 0.3 percent in May 2017 compared with April 2017.

“This followed month-on-month changes of 2.3% in April 2017 and -0.6% in March 2017,” stated Stats SA.

It wasn’t all about a bleak manufacturing outlook. Seasonally adjusted manufacturing production increased by 0.4 percent in March, April and May 2017 compared with the previous three months.

Again, five out of ten manufacturing divisions reported positive growth rates over this period.

As learnt, the largest contributors were the food and beverages division (2.6% and contributing 0.7 of a percentage point) and the petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products division (-1,8% and contributing -0,4 of a percentage point).

Moreso, seasonally adjusted manufacturing sales increased by 1.1 percent in May 2017 compared with April 2017. “This followed month-on-month changes of 0.9% in April 2017 and 0.9% in March 2017,” added Stats SA.

DA Calls For Parliamentary Hearings

Reacting to the statistical release, the Democratic Alliance (DA) party asserted that the manufacturing, production and sales figures have confirmed what most South Africans already know.

“…Our manufacturing sector is in a crisis, overseen by the ANC-led government,” the party declared and called for parliamentary hearings into manufacturing crisis.

“By these figures, we now know manufacturing is in a recession with no clear way out from the Government.

“That is why we need Parliament to step in and take control by holding hearings to get to the bottom of what is really going on in the sector and how we can turn it around,” DA explained.

Already, the party’s Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry, Dean Macpherson MP, has written to the Chairperson of Trade and Industry, Joan Fubbs MP concerning South Africa’s manufacturing ability.

Dean Macpherson requested that the hearings on the issue be prioritised above all other business.

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“The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, has stood back while his political principal, Jacob Zuma, has wreaked havoc on our economy, taking us into a recession and seeing us downgraded to junk status.

“What South Africa really needs in this volatile atmosphere is a government committed to strengthening the manufacturing sector as it will create the jobs required for economic growth,” Dean Macpherson commented.

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