“THERE is something of a divine symmetry to Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel’s predicament.   For 10 years, as secretary-general of probably the most inflexible union in the country, he presided over the precipitous decline of the clothing industry from more than 100000 to barely 50000 jobs.   Now he has been put in charge of the Sisyphean task of creating 5- million jobs in the next 10 years.

The vengeful gods of politics seem to like synchronicity.   Just as the Cabinet met for its recent lekgotla to fantasise about how Patel’s New Growth Path will create 350 000 jobs in manufacturing, the clothing industry bargaining council pushed the hara-kiri sword deeper into its own belly”.

Go to the Business Day website to read or download this important contribution to the current debate by Barrie Terblanche, a freelance journalist specialising in small-business issues.