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South Africans urged to scale back on spending to clamp down on rising debt

The country had been saddled with worrisome economic prospects years before the pandemic and now there are fears that debt levels will reach 100% of GDP within the next few years.

Debt management. Image: Steve Buissinne on Pixabay

JOHANNESBURG - As government counts the cost of COVID-19, there are calls for South Africa to scale back on spending in order to clamp down on rapidly rising debt levels.

The country had been saddled with worrisome economic prospects years before the pandemic and now there are fears that debt levels will reach 100% of GDP within the next few years.

Attempts by government to prevent an economic catastrophe have also been sharply criticised.

It's often said that the best form of foresight is hindsight.

It should therefore come as no surprise that as the country tries to open up more sectors of the economy, there is growing critique of government's response to the pandemic.

Economist Mike Schussler said it was likely more people would die from the country's unemployment crisis than COVID-19.

“We have very strong lockdown and we came into the situation with depression levels of unemployment.”

Schussler said higher education could see major changes in the years to come: “I think what we have seen in education is the move to online and the young children have adopted quite quickly.”

Schussler warned South Africa's debt levels could increase to 100% of the GDP by 2024.

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