'Government does not gamble with growth numbers'

Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene will deliver his medium-term budget policy statement next month.

FILE: Finance minister Nhlanhla Nene. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene is expected to revise the country's economic growth prospects downwards when he delivers his medium-term budget policy statement next month.

Nene will table his mid-term policy review in Parliament on 21 October.

Answering questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Nene told MPs that South Africa faced significant constraints to faster economic growth.

He said the recent contraction in the economy reflected the impact of the electricity supply shortage, falling commodity prices and slowing growth in the country's trading partners.

The Economic Freedom Fighters' Floyd Shivambu asked Nene why the government was still punting the possibility of three percent growth, given the state of the economy.

"Does it come from treasury or you just throw some dice and say three?"

Nene's February budget forecast three percent growth in GDP for 2017.

But the minister said conditions have since changed.

"It is only when we've taken into account all those changes and all the other indicators that we'll come back to this house in a month's time to be able to give you what the numbers look like, because indeed we don't want to thumbsuck them."

Nene said the government did not gamble with growth numbers.