South African parliament. Picture: GCIS
South African parliament. Picture: GCIS

Parliament is to debate the economic recession next week.

The speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete has acceded to a request by the DA for the debate that will take place a week after the announcement that the economy contracted in the second quarter by 0.7% following a 2.6% contraction in the first quarter.

The DA will use the debate to tackle the ANC government, which party leader Mmusi Maimane blames for the recession.

"The recession is a vote of no confidence in the ANC government, its economic policy trajectory, and its ability to create jobs and opportunity for all South Africans," the DA leader said in a statement on Friday. What is needed, he added, is an agenda of reform to turn the economy around.

"We are in this recession, with 9.6-million unemployed South Africans because President [Cyril] Ramaphosa is more dedicated to shoring up his political support in the ANC than sorting out the economics in SA. President Ramaphosa’s political consolidation comes at the cost of the country’s economy."

The government, meanwhile, is pinning its hopes on an economic stimulus package promised by Ramaphosa. Details of the package will be released "soon", communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane said at a post-cabinet media briefing on Thursday. She said the government is busy costing the measures to be implemented.

Maimane said the DA will present its agenda for economic reform in parliament on Monday. This will include "implementable ideas to reverse the persistent economic decline, ignite growth and create jobs".

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