Ramaphosa to unveil economic recovery plan ... in three weeks

President Cyril Ramaphosa is putting the finishing touches to an economic recovery plan, which will be unveiled soon.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is putting the finishing touches to an economic recovery plan, which will be unveiled soon.
Image: Esa Alexander

In three weeks' time, President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation on his blueprint to stimulate economic growth.

This is according to Jackson Mthembu, the minister in the presidency, who was briefing journalists on the outcomes of the cabinet's fortnightly meeting.

Mthembu rejected speculation that government was now left with no option but to seek a financial rescue package from the International Monetary Fund as the economy declined by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019, while unemployment shot up to 29% - the highest in more than a decade.

Analysts have also raised the state of public finances, particularly the levels of public-sector debt, as another danger to the economy.

However, Mthembu said, cabinet was convinced that there was no need at this stage to approach the IMF, as Ramaphosa was putting together an economic recovery plan he would present to the public in the next few weeks.

"The government will, in the foreseeable future, take the country into its confidence on how we intend on growing the economy, responding to, among others, what the statistician general has said about the levels of unemployment.

"Cabinet is concluding that plan, there have been discussions on how we grow the economy, how we respond to the low growth of our economy. All that we can say at this point in time is that cabinet is finalising its response on various packages that will speak to this matter, inclusive of how we help sectors of the economy that have potential to assist us in growing our GDP.

"That broad plan will be shared in due course, probably through our head of state in two or three weeks' time."

Mthembu said there was "no appetite" to approach the IMF, cap in hand.

"No, there's no appetite and actually no need," said Mthembu. "While there's no need to approach the IMF, there's a need for us to be prudent with our financial management."

He added that finance minister Tito Mboweni would provide further details on this when he presents his medium-term budget policy statement in October, including how to rein-in the runaway public sector wage bill.

Turning to foreign nationals who attacked the police in Johannesburg last week during a raid to root out sellers of counterfeit goods, Mthembu said law-enforcement agencies needed to clamp down on "banditry".

"Any attack on our law-enforcement officers is an attack on our state and its sovereignty. Such attacks should not go unpunished. We call on all communities to support our government agencies, particularly those enforcing our laws and also unite against these banditry actions that seek to attack police officers.

"Cabinet calls on the law-enforcement agencies to continue to enforce the law and act decisively against those who violate the laws of our country. Municipal bylaws must at all times be adhered to and we call on all our municipalities to enforce our municipal bylaws. We remain a law-abiding country that will continue to ensure peace, stability and prosperity for its citizens."

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