by Stanley Karombo
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) --
South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba unveiled an action
plan on Thursday for reviving the economy with sound timelines
The plan outlines the Treasury’s
intention to reduce government guarantees for operational
reasons and will provide the power utility Eskom with
In an attempt to pull out of the technical recession, the
minister said, the plan intends to sell noncore government
assets and partial privatization of government and state-owned
"Government has been deeply engaged with the issue of low
economic growth and the recession, analyzing its impact on
social welfare, and considering an appropriate response," Gigaba
said at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton.
The country still faces challenges ahead and South Africans
need to tighten their belts, Gigaba said.
The World Bank expects the South African economy to grow by
0.6 percent this year, cutting its January projection by 0.5
The current economic growth, the minister said, was so low to
address the triple challenges of high inequality, unemployment
Gigaba said robust steps need to be taken to achieve radical
economic transformation and create more jobs.
The SOEs targeted in the plan include the power utility
Eskom, South Africa Airways and telecommunications firms.
Others areas to be addressed in the plan include Postbank’s
licensing enquiry, the Minerals and Petroleum Resources
Development Act Amendment Bill, the broad-based socioeconomic
empowerment charter for the South African mining industry and
the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill.
The minister lauded South African president Jacob Zuma for
his meeting with ministers in June where the latter urged for a
coordinated response related to the government’s nine-point
"These interventions are the beginning of a response program
that will be unpacked in the MTBPS (medium-term budget policy
statement) and the 2018 budget," Gigaba said.
Gigaba also cautioned that South Africa faces tough budget
decisions in 2017 as the country has entered its first technical
recession since 2009.
The minister also noted the external pressures to the
country’s economic growth, including the marked increase in
global policy uncertainty as well as rising rhetoric suggesting
more inward-looking trade policies, he said.
South Africa hosts
international film festival to lure producers
CAPE TOWN South Africa(Xinhua) --
The 38th Durban International Film
Festival (DIFF) kicked off on Thursday with the aim of luring
more film producers to South Africa.
The DIFF, which will last till July 23, is an annual film
festival held in the coustal city of Durban and one of the
oldest and largest film festivals in southern Africa.
In a congratulatory message, South African Minister of Trade
and Industry Rob Davies said his department was participating in
the DIFF which "is one of the best platforms a country can
promote and showcase the country’s creative skills."
The SA Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) was fundingd
workshops, dialogues and screening of productions in support of
Davies said the platform will be used to market the
department’s South African Emerging Black Filmmakers Incentive
and target producers who qualify.
The incentive includes a rebate of up to 50 percent for the
first 6 million rand (about 450,000 U.S. dollars) of the
Qualifying South African Production Expenditure (QSAPE) and 25
percent thereafter. No cap is applicable for this rebate.
"The incentive objective is still to create an environment
that take advantage of the country’s diverse and unique
locations as well as low production costs and favorable exchange
rates, which makes it significantly more cost-effective to
produce a movie in South Africa than in Europe, the United
States or Australia," said Davies.
The film industry has enormous potential in bringing the
necessary currency into the economy and can act as an important
vehicle through which technology is transferred and South
African skills base is upgraded, the minister said.
The SA government spent 468 million rand with projected
investment of 3.4 billion rand in the 2015/2016 financial year
supporting the sector.
Productions to be screened during the festival include:
The Wound, Hard To Get, Double Echo, Hope, The Killing Floor,
The Whale Caller, Winnie, Vaya, The Most Beautiful Day, Catching
Feelings, Mhlola and Asinamali.