d820e870030b4fc0bdf76e003282a5a1In the first quarter of this year, South Africa’s normally staid and insignificant mask industry exploded.

Like its peers across the globe, it had orders pouring in from the original epicentres of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Locally, a layer of parasitic middlemen sprang up overnight. One local manufacturer contacted by amaBhungane requested anonymity on the unusual basis that being named in the media would exacerbate the unbearable deluge of new business coming their way.

There had already been enquiries he could not fulfil in his lifetime, with traders queuing at the door, he said.

“If you put out an email to say you had a 100 million FFP2s on hand, by Friday you wouldn’t have one left. Before that, you were lucky to do five million a year.”….more