Private sector to blame for recession - Mantashe

Johannesburg – Negative growth in the private sector is to blame for the country's technical recession, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has said.

"New sectors in the private sector, the financial sector, retail and trade are negative. All those are not in the hands of government, they are in the hands of the private sector," he told News24 on Tuesday.

Government is making considerable progress in agriculture and mining, he claimed.

“Agriculture is doing well because we paid a lot of attention to it. Mining has contributed positively."

READ: Save SA blames GDP shock on ‘recession president’ Zuma

On Tuesday, Statistics SA said the country has slipped into a recession after its gross domestic product declined 0.7% during the first quarter of 2017, after contracting by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2016, Fin24 reported

Mantashe said the ANC is putting responsibility for the country’s economic growth on the private sector, and that the government and private sector have to work together to get the country out of the slump.

READ: What you need to know about a recession

"We should not have a plan of the ANC. There should be a plan of the country, including the private sector that controls more than 70% of the economy.”

Media no regard for economy

If the private sector makes negative statements about the country, it will drive investment away. The privately-owned media sector is publishing negative stories about President Jacob Zuma, regardless of the effect this is having on the economy, he said.

READ: EFF blames recession on lack of quality leadership from ANC

“The media of the private sector... has made it its business to publish negative stories continually because they don’t like the president of the ANC, even if it sinks the economy of the country."

This is the second time in eight years that the country is in a technical recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.