The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes the ANC’s alleged “internal squabbling” over whether or not South Africa should approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is jeopardising the country’s Covid-19 relief efforts.
“We should be getting funding wherever we can, especially if it is at the very low-interest rates that global financial institutions are now offering,” suggested the party in a statement released by its shadow minister for finance, Geordin Hill-Lewis.
According to Hill-Lewis, the government has very little money and urgently needs as much money as is available to fund the Covid-19 relief effort and to support the economy.
“To stop the government from approaching the IMF would be to put petty ideological objections above the urgent needs of the relief effort.
“Finance minister Tito Mboweni and President Cyril Ramaphosa should end this damaging squabbling and make it clear that South Africa needs urgent financial help and that there should be no objection to approaching the IMF,” he added.
The DA would like to see this money go towards protective gear for health care workers, medical equipment and the support of small businesses and employees who have lost their jobs.
Hill-Lewis also referred back to a joint letter written by Ace Magashule, Bheki Ntshalintshali and Solly Mapaila of the ANC, Cosatu and SACP respectively, and addressed to Ramaphosa, in which they allegedly rejected a Word Bank/IMF bailout and proposed what he calls “a ruinous interference in the South Africa Reserve Bank (SARB), a raid on pension funds and a state-led economic development model.”
The shadow MP argued the current economic crisis is evidence that the “Magashule-led radicals in the ANC have learnt nothing, and are intent on continuing a policy direction that has collapsed the economy and left the state all but impotent to respond in this time of crisis.”
He concluded by calling the contents of the letter a “repudiation of Rampahosa’s statement to Mboweni that ‘we now need to move more boldly on the structural reforms programme'”, and suggested that the country needs genuine economic reforms that are cognisant of our tenuous national debt position, unsustainable expenditure levels, and rising unemployment.