South Africans warned pain likely with debt-reducing budget

29 Jan 18

South Africans will have to “bear some pain” as a result of the “tough decisions” made in the budget to stabilise the country’s debt, the finance minister has said.

Malusi Gigaba said the budget, which will be unveiled in the spring, would involve measures to boost the economy and confidence, at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday last week.

He said: “What I will be doing at the budget will be going to announce the tough decisions to stabilise the debt but reduce the budget deficit.

“We have to announce tough decisions and South Africans will have to bear some pain [as a result] of some of the decisions we are going to announce in order to stabilise our debt.”

He did not give any details of the budget proposals.

In November, South African president Jacob Zuma asked Gigaba to identify measures to “urgently” address economic challenges, as ratings agency S&P downgraded the country’s local currency to a ‘sub-investment grade’.

Gigabe announced at the end of last year that the country’s projected growth has been slashed from 1.3% to 0.7%, but said he had confidence in the country’s economy.

He also said he expected growth to increase slowly, reaching 1.9% in 2020.

A South African public health campaign group pledged to hold the government to account for the “health crisis” and called on national leaders to “thoroughly review” the healthcare system.

The government said earlier this month it would offer free university education to students from poorer backgrounds.

 

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