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South Africa’s economy shrank for the first time in a year in the third quarter as the country was hit by riots and tighter Covid restrictions, official statistics showed on Tuesday.
After four consecutive quarters of growth, the economy contracted by 1.5% between July and September compared to the previous three-month period, Statistics SA (Stats SA) said.
The contraction eroded “some of the economic gains the country has made since the severe impact of Covid-19 in the second quarter of 2020,” Stats SA said in a statement.
South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), measured by production, has lost another 1.5% due to contraction in most sectors during the third quarter, while expenditure on GDP decreased by 1.6%.
Professor Jannie Rossouw from the Wits Business School says the decrease is very serious and it means that South Africa will not be able to erase the negative performance of 2020 this year. It also means that the economy will grow less than expected and that government will receive less tax revenue.
“The fact that manufacturing contracted so much is the most serious aspect of the new GDP statistics. Add to this the decline in tourism that will reflect in the statistics for the fourth quarter and it becomes very worrying.”
The ANC believed it would undo the “original sin” of land theft, but more than 140 Members of parliament apparently disagreed, which led to the National Assembly failing to pass proposed bill on land expropriation without compensation on Tuesday afternoon.
145 members voted against the bill, while 204 voted in support of the bill, meaning a failure to obtain a required two-thirds majority.
South Africa has breached the 90,000 death mark after reporting 27 Covid-19 related deaths in the past 24 hours.
As of Tuesday, the country has a total of 90,002 Covid-19 related deaths.
13,147 new cases have also been identified, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases to 3,051, 222.
This increase represents a 24.9% positivity rate, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, announced.
Former Gauteng health MEC and ANC chief whip Brian Hlongwa, as well as seven other individuals – among them his wife Joeline Davids-Hlongwa – have been granted bail of varying amounts between R20,000 and R50,000.
Hlongwa and his co-accused on Tuesday made their first appearance at the Johannesburg Regional Court.
They face more than 250 counts of racketeering, fraud, corruption, benefitting from the proceeds of crime and money laundering.
This is in connection with graft allegations dating back more than a decade, to when Hlongwa was still at the helm of the province’s health department.
Suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has filed papers at the Bloemfontein High Court to force the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to disclose the list of witnesses that implicate him in the R255 million asbestos corruption case.
Magashule also says his lawyers have looked at the state’s docket of evidence and claims they “cannot find any evidence… which would lead the prosecution to find that there is a prima facie case against me”.
As the debate over Covid-19 vaccine mandates continues to divide South Africans, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Tuesday said it was opposed to mandatory vaccination of workers.
NUM, an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), vowed to defend workers who refuse to be vaccinated by all means, saying this would ensure that their members are not discriminated against because of their constitutional right to exercise their beliefs.
NUM made the announcement following a meeting of its three-day extended national executive committee (NEC) in Cape Town.