DA points to ANC over recession

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday blamed the African National Congress (ANC) government for South Africa’s first recession since the end of apartheid.

“This not only confirms that our economy is now in a full-blown recession, but also that the ANC government has not taken the necessary steps to ensure that we survive the worst effects of the global economic crisis,” DA member of Parliament Dion George said in a statement.

The country’s growth rate contracted by 6,4% in the first quarter of 2009, compared to the fourth quarter of 2008, when it shrunk by 1,8%.

The two consecutive quarters of negative growth put South Africa in its first recession in 17 years.

“In light of this larger than expected contraction of the economy it is now more clear than ever that government, labour and business need to work together to find solutions to the economy’s woes,” said George.

“These include lowering wage expectations, targeted assistance to certain labour-intensive industries to ensure that we retain much-needed jobs, and government needs to ‘unpick’ the numerous constraints that stifle business productivity, expansion and job creation.”

He called on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates by at least 100 basis points as “a much-needed measure to stimulate domestic demand, and get the economy going again”.—Sapa

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