South Africas purchasing managers index (PMI), which is used to gauge manufacturing sector activity, fell to a three-year low in September
Kagiso Tiso Holdings, which compiles the PMI, warned that the four point drop in the index to 46.2 points indicated weak manufacturing production in South Africa for the third quarter.
A PMI reading of over 50 indicates growth whereas below 50 shows a contraction.
The drop is being attributed to flagging European demand and the spread of mining strikes across the country.
Manufacturing, which makes up 15 per cent of the South African economy, fell by one per cent in the second quarter.