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Mboweni: Economy must be re-opened urgently, but people's lives come first

The National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service briefed Parliament’s finance committees on their annual strategic plans and budgets.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: @TreasurySA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Tuesday said it was urgent that the economy should re-open, but he said this had to be balanced with the need to protect people’s lives.

Mboweni was speaking during a virtual meeting of Parliament’s finance committees. The National Treasury and the South African Revenue Service briefed the committees on their annual strategic plans and budgets.

The lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has brought South Africa’s economy to a grinding halt, threatening businesses with closure and the loss of millions of jobs.

Mboweni said the quicker the government was able to ease lockdown restrictions to level 2, the better, but he added that there was no room for carelessness as the needs of the economy had to be balanced with the health of all South Africans.

“There’s no doubt, in my view, that opening the economy is urgent – but the urgency must be tempered by the need to protect the lives of our people. So, we need to have a balance. It is not an either or situation, but a balanced situation,” he said.

Mboweni said the National Command Council would make appropriate recommendations to Cabinet on what to do to open up the economy.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.