Opposition parties accused of ‘talking down the economy’

Ebrahim Patel accused the DA and EFF of 'schoolboy debating tactics', like inventing imaginary prophets.

FILE: Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel has hit back at opposition Members of Parliament (MPs), accusing them of talking down the economy.

Patel was the first speaker on Day two of the debate on President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Patel accused the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters of "schoolboy debating tactics", like inventing imaginary prophets.

"They make good prophets of doom and gloom at a time when we need collective leadership and a closing of ranks as South Africans."

Patel fleshed out government's plans to kick-start the economy and create jobs, including fast-tracking 20 massive infrastructure projects.

The DA's David Maynier lamented the lack of new ideas.

"Yes, there was a turnaround plan but the turnaround plan did not contain any new economic policy. What the turnaround plan did contain was economic policy that had never been implemented."

Patel acknowledged big headwinds facing South Africa, including the drought, global economic woes and lower demand for commodities, but he insisted it wasn't all doom and gloom.