SA a victim of slow growth, high inflation ‘stagflation’, says Radebe

SOUTH Africa is suffering from stagflation, a “toxic” combination of slow growth and high inflation with interest rate increases putting further pressure on growth, Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday.

The country also faced the danger of a sovereign credit rating downgrade, he said at a media briefing ahead of his budget vote speech in the National Assembly.

Questioned about corruption, Mr Radebe said the government’s drive to root it out had met with success.

Since 2009, a total of 23 high priority corruption cases involving 1,065 people had been investigated and 116 people convicted. Since 2012, a specialised commercial crime unit had convicted about 3,340 individuals for serious corruption and serious financial and economic crimes.

The minister reported that 234 government officials had been convicted of corruption-related crimes from the start of the 2014/15 financial year to date.

“Clearly we have much ground to cover in all these areas,” Mr Radebe said.

Asked about the progress in revising the ministerial handbook — a process that has taken a number of years — Mr Radebe said it was discussed by Cabinet two weeks ago and would be finalised “in the next month or so”.

A revision of the ministerial handbook, which details among other things the perks ministers enjoy in terms of security, accommodation, motor cars and travel has been long awaited as the current handbook is believed to offer them too much largesse.

Mr Radebe said President Jacob Zuma was currently considering the issue of the reprimand — as ordered by the Constitutional Court — of those ministers involved in ignoring Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings on Nkandla.

Deputy Minister Buti Manamela remarked on the improvement in the governance, integrity and credibility of the National Youth Development Agency. He said the restructuring of the institution and its senior management had resulted in a R37m reduction in salaries — money which would be invested in its programmes.

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