Cabinet can't reach consensus on economic recovery plan as Covid-19 bites
The much-anticipated special cabinet meeting on Wednesday failed to come up with an economic recovery plan for SA, as the impact of the five-week lockdown mounts.
In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, acting cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said the different clusters were asked to work on a consolidated plan on efforts to boost the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Cabinet resolved that further discussions and consultations are still required before the final consolidated plan is approved to be shared with the nation,” said Williams.
The cabinet also wants a report from public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on the situation at SAA, after he denied the failing entity a R10bn bailout.
When President Cyril Ramapahosa addressed the nation last week, he said the cabinet would give details of an economic plan for the country as the nationwide lockdown was extended by two weeks until the end of the month.
“Cabinet will be developing a comprehensive package of urgent economic measures to respond both to the immediate crises and to the severe economic challenges that we must confront in the months ahead,” Ramaphosa said at the time.
“Further announcements on the next phase of our economic and social support strategy will be made in due course,” he added.
The cabinet meeting on Wednesday, held by teleconference, appeared to not come up with a final plan in this regard.
Williams said five presentations were received from the clusters, specifically:
- economic sectors, investment, employment and infrastructure development;
- governance, state capacity and institutional development;
- social protection, community and human development;
- international cooperation, trade and security; and
- justice, crime prevention and security.
The presentations were the culmination of work done by all the clusters, she said, focusing on the country’s economic recovery as a consequence of the pandemic. It was also in response to a recent downgrading of South Africa by ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch.
”Cabinet has also directed ... Gordhan to prepare an updated report on South African Airways, for discussion at the upcoming meeting,” said Williams, adding that only then would the cabinet finalise the country’s economic recovery plan.
”Cabinet thanks all people across the country for staying at home during the lockdown period.”