CAPE TOWN – Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said an indefinite public sector strike will drag the economy down even further.
Unions rejected the government’s 7.5% wage offer.
Speaking at a post-cabinet briefing on Friday, Gungubele said load shedding was stunting economic growth.
He added that the economy was also being dragged down by the country’s ailing rail network and the situation at the ports.
Gungubele urged all stakeholders in the public sector wage impasse to find a workable solution.
“Any attempt not to stop now has got a huge impact on the economy and my attitude is that it undermines the very conditions under which we can improve so that at a later stage we find one another with the workers. But having said that, I strongly encourage workers to continue to engage the relevant ministers – the ministers of finance and the public works – and we hope all these things have a solution on the table.”
The government’s proposed offer will cost R31 billion to the fiscus, which Gungubele said is severely constrained.
“Our fiscal space is very minimal in SA today. There’s a difficult exercise of trade-offs. We have to pay no less than R300 billion in loan to debt costs and interest. You have to make sure those who are unemployed and those who are on social grants have access to that.”