The current structure of South Africa’s economy is partly a product of the terms of the country’s political dispensation. The availability of capital mobility as an exit option is a key aspect of South Africa’s negotiated democracy. As long as inequality remains high, capital continues to gravitate towards sectors emendable for expedient capital mobility such as finance. Promoting manufacturing investment in a high inequality environment may require tailor-made policy innovations that are compatible with existing political constraints. Such policies include weaving industry-specific property rights provisions with the industrial policy framework and creating a sizable political constituency for industry-led development.