PARLIAMENT - Parliament on Thursday passed the Adjustments Appropriations Bill after a fractious debate Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba termed a missed chance to discuss measures to turn around the country's underperforming economy.
The measure, which sets out government spending, was approved by the National Assembly by 214 to 11 votes. There were six abstentions.
Gigaba said the opposition wrongly accused him of failing to spell out measures to boost the economy, which emerged from a recession in the second quarter, and stabilise debt when he delivered his medium-term budget policy statement in October.
Responding to Democratic Alliance finance spokesman David Maynier, who has maintained that the minister is being undermined by a new presidential fiscal committee, Gigaba said this body's role was to focus on how to offset revenue shortfalls and reduce borrowing.
He said Maynier had also failed to acknowledge set out goals on industrialisation and revitalising manufacturing, before castigating Willie Madisha from the Congress of the People for mistakenly stating that Moody's last week downgraded South Africa's credit rating to sub-investment grade.
"Evidently our fractious politics are robbing our people of getting the leaders they deserve," he said.
Gigaba added that the economy would improve, and said he planned to help achieve this not through perpetual fiscal consolidation but structural reforms that would include improving the way the country's state-owned enterprises are run.
"Our economy will turn around, we will not always be in this situation, a brighter day beckons," he said.
"It is fiscal consolidation and more fiscal consolidation we need to focus on, but stimulating our economy by implementing structural forms including in the way we run our state-owned enterprises."
- AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY