Cabinet welcomes positive GDP

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cape Town - Cabinet has welcomed the positive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures released this week which exceeded market expectations.

GDP figures released on Tuesday indicated that South Africa's economy grew by 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. This after the economy crawled out of its first recession in 17 years in the third quarter.

Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, on Thursday said this was an indication that government, with its partners in business, labour and the community sectors had responded and handled the recession appropriately and "that the worst of the recession might be behind us".

"We are particularly pleased that important sectors in the economy such as manufacturing, mining and financial services recovered well and had made significant contribution to the GDP figures," he said after a Cabinet meeting.

Chabane said the national budget tabled by Minister Pravin Gordhan last Wednesday will further strengthen the economy by focussing on matters that will sustain and grow the economy.

"Government is committed to channelling our efforts towards developing a new growth path that will ensure that the economy grows at a higher level and creates jobs," he said, adding that suggestions that the budget is anti-poor had no truth.

"Evidence that this budget, like previous budgets, is pro-poor can be found in the fact that significant resources have been directed to the poorest of the poor, for example, social grants, health, education, human settlements, and basic services," said Chabane.

In the budget, education received the lion's share of R165-billion for 2010/11 while R89-billion was allocated to social grants.

Almost 14 million South Africans are benefiting from the country's social assistance programme and more than 9 million of these grants are for households with children.