Gigaba announces plans for further budget cuts


South Africa's Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday the Treasury was looking for ways to cut government spending further and reallocate funds to help boost growth while maintaining its fiscal target.

"We will be thrashing out detail as well as the timeline", Gigaba said of the planned meeting.

"We do realise that there are hard decisions to be made. that may require that we look at further cuts to government spending and programmes", Gigaba told a news conference, adding that the Treasury was committed to remaining within its fiscal target announced at during the annual budget in February. "This continues the trend of low growth over the last several years, undermining our progress in significantly reducing inequality, unemployment and poverty".

Pressure on Zuma, including from within the ruling African National Congress, has risen since a controversial cabinet reshuffle in March that led to downgrades to "junk" status by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch and allegations of influence peddling.

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Moreover, South Africa's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017, following a contraction of 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.

"We have heard the call from business and investors that providing policy certainty and stabilizing and revitalizing state owned companies are among the most important short term steps we can take to restore confidence", the minister said.

Inclusive growth and economic transformation are the top priorities of the government, and are mutually reinforcing, Gigaba said.