Bloomberg News

South African Fiscal Policy Is ‘Consistent,’ Gordhan Says

October 25, 2011

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan made the following comments in an interview in Cape Town today after the National Treasury released its medium- term budget outlook.

On unemployment:

“Joblessness is becoming a global pandemic in its own right.”

South Africa’s unemployment goal is “an ambition, the circumstances may change tomorrow. What we shouldn’t distract from is the intent.”

On the role of government in supporting growth:

“What the current times are teaching us is that you have to be agile and adaptable in the case of how we work and in particular keep our eyes on the ball, which is how we do we keep the government playing the supportive role to growth, whatever the circumstance.”

“Even with all the challenges we have, 3.1 percent growth overall is not bad.

On the budget deficit:

‘‘We know what the limits of our own fiscal trajectory is. And we will work within those limits and make the adjustments we need.’’

‘‘What’s important is policy consistency. We’ve been consistent in the way we’ve come across in regard to counter- cyclicality, in regard to supporting growth and at the same time recognizing that we’ve got to undertake fiscal consolidation. We’ve successfully managed the two so far.”

On return of surplus cash from state enterprises:

“We’re looking at the numbers at the moment. In the next month, we’ll have a clearer idea.

‘‘We’ll look at any option” including asset sales.

“What we want is effective cash management within the state. You can’t have one arm holding onto cash and the other arm going to borrow. That’s nonsense.”

--Editor: Nasreen Seria

To contact the reporters on this story: Andres R. Martinez in Johannesburg at amartinez28@bloomberg.net; Mike Cohen in Cape Town at mcohen21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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