We will kill more people by socio-economic devastation than Covid, says Bonang Mohale
By Rudolph Nkgadima 10m ago
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Cape Town – When the Covid-19 pandemic hit South Africa, the country was already finished as it had just come out of a downgrade and a technical recession, Free State University Chancellor Bonang Mohale says.
Mohale who was speaking during a webinar, hosted by non-profit organisation, Afrika Tikkun, on Thursday morning, said one only needed to look at the figures in order to see why the country found itself in a “spot of bother“.
“Our debt… is R3 trillion, we are borrowing at a rate of R2.1 billion a day,” he said. “Our debt to GDP ratio is 93% but this excludes government guarantees. If you include those, the ratio goes to 110%. South Africa… cannot afford to pay its debt. Our debt-servicing costs are R20 million, so 70% of the almost R1.4 trillion that is collected by Sars goes towards the public sector, social security and debts.
“Pre-Covid our unemployment rate was approaching 40%, when you include the people that have given up and the 3 million jobs we have lost as a direct result of Covid. So, it looks like we are going to kill more people by socio-economic devastation than the virus will. A country that values more the loss of the economy than the loss of lives actually doesn't need a vaccine, it is already sick.”
Speaking on SA’s vaccine funding and roll-out programme, Discovery Health chief executive Ryan Noach, who was also part of the webinar, said the information was changing daily and it was unknown where it would end up.
“It looks like it will be a multifunded model, where the government, the solidarity fund, medical schemes and the private sector will jointly contribute funding into a collective funded pool.”
Meanwhile, the Treasury said the government was considering many funding options for the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine. The statement comes after its meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Treasury said the government would continue to be transparent in its dealings with vaccine manufacturers.
“South Africa remains committed to reduce its fiscal deficit and to stabilise debt over the next five years and return the public finances to a sustainable position. We have confirmed that the government's medium-term policy priorities are economic recovery, fiscal consolidation and that reductions to the wage bill,” it said.