Deputy President David Mabuza told Members of Parliament in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon that South Africa was on the cusp of recovering from the economic difficulties that triggered the latest technical recession.
He was replying to a question from Member of Parliament for the ANC Juliana Kilian about the progress government has made in its anti-poverty programs and how the governing party hoped to narrow inequality.
Supplementary questions drove the latest technical recession to the centre of the discussion. Stats SA announced recently that the South African economy contracted by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2018, following a revised 2.6% contraction in the first quarter.
Mabuza maintained that analysis of South Africa’s quarterly economic data painted a bleaker picture than the one which would emerge from annual data.
“I don’t agree that we are in a technical recession. We have not taken a comprehensive picture of our economy. We are looking at it quarter by quarter. But if you look at the bigger picture, we can turn the situation around,” said Mabuza.
Mabuza expressed confidence that small and medium enterprises would help boost the South African economy’s lacklustre performance.
“We need to do more. I am encouraged by the fact that the Department of Small Business is finding its feet and I believe that it is one department that we should keep because we need to support SMMEs,” Mabuza said.
Responding to a question from Democratic Alliance MP Dean MacPherson on a dispute between National Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry over the monies of the Employment Creation Fund, Mabuza said the impasse was resolved and that the money which was withheld for two years will be released.
“I am sure that money will now be dispersed. I will make it my business to ensure that it is disbursed to those that need and deserve it. I accept what the minister told me because there is nothing credible that tells me something else,” he said.