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Dear Stakeholders,


The Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU), a think-tank housed within the University of Cape Town’s School of Economics, has been employed by the merSETA to investigate the economic complexity of the MER sector. The theory of economic complexity, which provides the conceptual basis for our research, is most well-known by research from the Centre of International Development at Harvard University and MIT.

A growing manufacturing sector is critical for the South African economy to achieve sustained and inclusive economic growth. At its core, the research aims to identify growth opportunities that have the potential to build economic complexity, drive growth within the MER sector, and thereby contribute to the re-industrialisation of the South African economy. Most importantly, the research seeks to determine the constraints that inhibit diversification into, and expansion of, growth opportunities. By interrogating the constraints plaguing the MER sector’s future growth path, merSETA can facilitate skills development interventions and lobby the relevant policy forums toward interventions and industrial policy formulation to enable the realisation of identified growth opportunities.

We understand concerns regarding the confidentiality and privacy of the firm-level data we require in order to achieve the research objectives. And we take these concerns very seriously.

First, we have employed Citizen Surveys to implement the survey. Citizen Surveys is a member of the South African Market Research Association and adheres to its ethical standards, and the strict data protection and storage standards laid out in the POPI Act (2013). Second, the DPRU received ethics approval for this survey from the UCT’s Ethics Committee (Reference REC: 2021/05/010). Ethics approval required a data management plan that ensures all firm-level information will be anonymised, remain confidential, kept secure, and used solely for analytical purposes.

The value and intended benefits of the research rely on your firm’s participation. We humbly request 20 minutes of your time to complete this online survey. Your input will be valued and highly appreciated. In turn, we will share a report of the research findings with your organisation.

If you have any question or concerns regarding this survey, you may contact either Professor Haroon Bhorat at DPRU (, Boitumelo Makgoba at merSETA (, Washeelah Kapery at Citizen Surveys (, or Ebrahim January at Citizen Surveys (

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