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Political parties urged to set aside narrow agendas

Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas says parties need to put the interest of the country first.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas says while South Africa is going through difficult times, the economy is not about to collapse, and appealed for political parties to set aside narrow agendas in the interest of the country.

Jonas was speaking during the debate on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's budget in the National Assembly.

The budget was adopted after, at times, heated debate by 218 votes in favour and 63 against.

The threat of South Africa losing its investment-grade status overshadowed the debate

"Ratings agencies are circling us like sharks, ready to downgrade us to junk status," the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s David Maynier said.

Jonas then replied saying South Africa is not on the brink of collapse.

"There is no doubt we are going through tough times. There are clear dangers we need to avoid. But we're not on the brink of collapse as many would have us believe. Yes we know it is an election year, but as elected leadership, we put the country above our narrow short-term political interests."

The African National Congress (ANC)'s Makhosi Khoza told the house that Gordhan has the full backing of the party.