Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has said in the “foreseeable future”, government would “take the country into its confidence” on how it intended to deal with the country’s low economic growth, a staggering rate of unemployment, and cash-strapped power utility Eskom.
Briefing the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, Mthembu said the government would make a plan public, which he said was in the works, on how it intended to grow the country’s economy and deal with high levels of unemployment.
“Cabinet is concluding that plan,” Mthembu said, confirming that during the Cabinet meeting, discussions were held on how government should respond to the country’s low economic growth.
“There is a broad plan that is being cooked,” Mthembu said, adding that this plan would be shared in due course, in two or three weeks time, probably by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The minister said when the government responded “broadly” and in an “integrated” manner to the country’s economic challenges, that response would include how Eskom and other state-owned entities would be dealt with.
Mthembu said that plan would also speak to the public sector wage bill, a matter which he said finance minister Tito Mboweni would address at the appropriate time.
The South African government “does not have the appetite” and did not see the need to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist it with its economic woes, Mthembu said.
However, he said there was a need for prudent financial management in the public sector and “probably also in the private domain”.
Mthembu said Mboweni would deal with such matters when he delivered the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS), expected on October 23.
Other matters which Cabinet discussed on Wednesday include the attack on police in the Johannesburg CBD a week ago, a matter which it condemned, calling on law enforcement agencies to continue enforcing the law and for all municipalities to do the same with municipal bylaws.
Mthembu said Cabinet was of the view that an attack on the police was an attack on the state and those found guilty of doing so should be meted with “harsh” punishment.
Following the arrest of seven police officers for allegedly attempting to resell to illegal traders counterfeit goods confiscated during police raids in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday, Mthembu said police found guilty of corruption should also be severely punished by the law.