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Mantashe welcomes 3.1% economic growth, economists not celebrating

The strongest performer in the second quarter was the mining sector which grew 14.4% driven by iron ore, manganese and coal growth.

FILE: Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe participating in the Sona debate on 25 June 2019. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - While economists on Tuesday said the 3.1% economic growth in the second quarter of the year is nothing to celebrate, Minister of Mineral and Energy Resources Gwede Mantashe has welcomed the performance of the mining industry.

The strongest performer in the second quarter was the mining sector which grew 14.4% driven by iron ore, manganese and coal growth.

Minister Mantashe said the expansion of the mining sector was indicative of the work undertaken by the department and its social partners to turn the industry around.

The 14.4% mining growth in the second quarter follows a 10.8% decline in the sector in the first quarter of the year; mining contributed 1% to the GDP.

Meanwhile, Standard Bank chief economist Goolam Ballim said the GDP’s second-quarter performance did not discount structural challenges in the economy.

“We can’t be seduced by this. Structurally, the economy is mired after a decade of the destruction of very critical institutions.”

The GDP had recorded a revised 3.1% contraction in the first quarter.