Industrial development and climate change mitigation have historically been opposed to each other. This is reflected in the industrial and climate change policy frameworks in South Africa. As a result of these two opposing frameworks and the disruptive and complex nature of the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy, the emergence of a climate change regime is seen as a threat and a risk to industrial development. Without immediate and ambitious action, the dichotomy between industrial development and climate change mitigation is moreover due to amplify. This raises the need to overcome the limited prism of analysis focused on incompatibility. This policy brief aims to contribute to filling the gap by investigating the interplay between industrial and climate change policies, the compatibility of the two frameworks and the options to manage the transition. This policy brief first argues that South Africa’s institutional arrangement and policy vision for industrial development and climate change are mainly mutually beneficial and provide an opportunity for a holistic approach. Second, the necessity for South Africa to position the country on short-term trade-offs associated with the cost of the transition is put forward. Third, the need for a strategic discovery and policy impact assessment process is ascertained.