President Cyril Ramaphosa has entered the fray on the fiscal crisis and denied that South Africa has run out of money.
He said Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana tabled a report at the meeting of the African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC), which was held over three days.
In the report Godongwana outlined the country’s fiscal challenges and members of the NEC noted the crisis was caused by jobless growth.
The NEC urged government to speed up programmes that will grow the economy.
Unions were up in arms a few weeks ago after it emerged that government was preparing to implement cost-cutting measures.
Maphosa said they would get through this period as they were implementing reforms in the energy and logistics sectors.
But he denied that South Africa was running out of money.
“The NEC received a report from our deployee, the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, on the fiscal situation or position of our country at this point in time,” Ramaphosa said.
“The NEC is reassured that South Africa is not running out of money. The fiscal pressures that our country faces stem fundamentally from economic challenges of slow and jobless growth.”
He said fiscal discipline was not the same as austerity measures. He said austerity undermines developmental objectives of government.
The government will continue to implement reforms in energy and logistics sectors, he said.
Ramaphosa has set up task teams on logistics with business following poor performance by Transnet in the last few years.
This is due to disruption on the transportation of goods by rail because of vandalism and cable theft, which has cost Transnet billions.
The Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel, said cable theft costs the economy more than R46 billion a year.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa infrastructure has also been affected with rail tracks being stolen and affecting its operations.
Ramaphosa told Parliament last week that they have set up 20 task teams to deal with infrastructure crimes. They have classified these crimes as economic sabotage.
Ramaphosa said they have so far arrested a number of people behind infrastructure damage and destruction.