JOHANNESBURG - Treasury has reacted to the latest GDP figures, saying they put more pressure on government to intensify its growth programme and improve confidence.
Stats SA confirmed the country has entered a technical recession, with growth contracting in two consecutive quarters.
GDP narrowed by 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to a contraction of 0.3% in the last quarter of 2016.
Standard Bank chief economist Goolam Ballim said: “I think the reason why we need to look beyond the numbers is that South African economy is weak. And even though we would cheer the positive performances of the mining and agricultural sector, overall the quality of growth in the country is pitiful.”
Treasury says Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will be seeking a meeting with business leaders soon to discuss ways to achieve inclusive growth.
The Reserve Bank has hoped to achieve overall growth of 1% for 2017.
Stats SA says South Africa has slipped into a technical recession for the first time since 2009.
Nedbank economist Isaac Matshego says the latest figures are concerning.
“The economy has been on a downturn since December 2013 and it seems like it’s going to continue at least for a good part of this year. It means we’re going to be in the longest downturn since the mid-1980s."
(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)