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No need for IMF bailout but SA must be financially prudent - Mthembu

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said that while there was no appetite from government to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout, there was a need to exercise prudent financial management.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu at a post-Cabinet briefing on 8 August 2019. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said that while there was no appetite from government to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout, there was a need to exercise prudent financial management.

Mthembu spoke to journalists on Thursday after the conclusion of this week’s two-day Cabinet meeting.

He explained that government was still working on a plan to get South Africa out of the current economic slump, the details of which would be shared by the Finance Minister during the midterm budget statement.

There had been several suggestions in the public discourse about how the country could claw its way out of the dismal economic growth rate and high debt levels.

Some business people have pointed to a dire situation that would lead South Africa to the doorstep of the IMF with a begging bowl.

The economy contracted by 3.2% in the second quarter of the year, while the unemployment rate rose to 29%.

But Mthembu said the IMF was not an option for government.

"Is government approaching the IMF? No, there is no appetite and no need and I can assure you that there is a need to be prudent with our financial management."

Instead, the government expressed concern about the state of the country’s finances, saying it remained committed to addressing structural challenges affecting economic performance and the ability to respond to developmental challenges.

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