A strong economic recovery is possible in South Africa even as the economy remained below its pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.Ramaphosa said this while commenting on a Statistics South Africa report that revealed that the country had witnessed a 13.5% rebound in gross domestic product (GDP) during the third quarter of 2020.
“The strong rebound in GDP growth for the third quarter provides support for the approach that we have taken both to confront the pandemic and to protect the economy,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “Our task now is to ensure that this momentum is sustained to enable a full recovery of the economy.”
According to the StatsSA report, the third quarter rebound was supported by the stimulus effects of emergency relief packages the president announced in April 2020, which included direct payments to over 22 million South Africans through additional grant payments, the Special Covid-19 Grant and the Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme.
In addition, a strong recovery in economic activity was made possible by the country’s success in bringing the virus under control, the report noted.
Ramaphosa, however, expressed anxiety over the current resurgence of the virus as the single most serious threat to the on-going economic recovery.
“As we move into celebrating the festive season and spending time with our families, we must remain vigilant to prevent a second wave,” he said.
The president called on all South Africans to wear a mask, keep a safe distance from others, avoid crowded or poorly ventilated spaces and wash hands regularly to stop the second wave of the virus.
“These simple measures are necessary, not only to protect ourselves and others, but to support the continued recovery of the economy,” Ramaphosa said as the country mourned over 22,000 people lost to the virus since March this year.