Weak consumer demand, elevated input costs and even industrial action may lead to job cuts over the next year, says an employer organisation.
The purchasing managers index has dropped to a near five-year low as a four-month long strike in the platinum belt continues.
As the rand weakened for the first time in three days against the dollar, economists expect a report will show manufacturing growth slowed in August.
Factory output is looking good as the rand's decline has boosted revenue from exports.
Factory output have expanded as weak currency increased demand for South Africa's manufactured goods.
Central bank decisions, the latest economic reports and new South African mining and manufacturing data will keep investors and economists hopping.
Amid the struggling manufacturing sector one business owner is standing out.
The rand weakened, reversing earlier gains, after a report showed manufacturing growth slowed more than estimated in May and mining output fell.
Results show manufacturing has rebounded, but the outlook for the sector is expected to remain challenging.
The cost of goods leaving factories rose at a slower pace in May than the previous month, easing pressure on the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates.
South African manufacturing rebounded in April, giving the central bank room to keep lending rates unchanged.
Over the coming days, earnings season is due in the US, Europe will update on its industrial production and SA will release manufacturing figures.
Based in Cape Town, Rotex Fabric is a prominent manufacturer of circular knitted fabrics.
Sheraton Textiles manufactures and distributes household linens.
Peter Blond & Associates had a different challenge to overcome when compared to other companies in the local industry.
Now that the sector's wishes for a rand slump have been granted, it says this will have an inflationary effect.
Warning bells are sounding in Zimbabwe as cheap imports replace locally made products and the manufacturing sector stagnates.
Inconsistent policy and aggressive Chinese imports have shrunk local business considerably, writes Aneesa Fazel.