Whilst there is consensus that routine-biased technical change has contributed to patterns of job and wage polarization in industrialized economies, there is less evidence about whether the same conclusions can be drawn for developing labour markets. We employ two measures of routine cognitive work to investigate the association between occupational routine-task intensity and wage and employment changes in South Africa between 2000 and 2015. Although wage change is polarized between 2000 and 2015, it is unlikely that routine-biased technical change is a key factor here. Instead, growth at the bottom is likely related to minimum wage growth whilst growth at the top end is likely linked to increasing returns to skills and higher education. Results also differ by gender: with women clustered in care, cleaning, and clerk-based occupations, the routine-biased technical change hypothesis is more relevant for men who are more evenly distributed across occupations in the economy.