Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says the country is entering next year with great economic uncertainty.
It was not clear where the next shock would come from, he said.
He attributed some of the uncertainty to widespread anti-establishment sentiment around the world, the emerging of right-wing forces that were gaining popularity among voters, especially in Europe, and the ever-growing gap between poor and rich.
Gordhan said the fact that US president-elect Donald Trump had threatened to cancel some of the trade agreements that America had with other countries was unsettling to all nations affected.
On the local economic front, the minister said the country was spending more than it was able to borrow and lack of economic growth was a major contributor to this situation.
In a speech billed as a “Dialogue with metalworkers”, delivered at the 12th National Congress of Numsa in Cape Town on Monday, Gordhan gave a reportback on the economic state of affairs facing SA and the world today.
He said South Africa would have to reduce borrowing so as to meet the challenge of stagnant growth. “If we don’t grow our economy, we need to reduce our borrowing. We spend more money than we can borrow. To counter this, we need faster inclusive growth and we need inclusive transformation that will benefit all the 55 million South Africans,” he said.
He said there was a need for people to earn better salaries, but that all depended on growth.
“There is no doubt that we will be able to transform our economy, but we need to work together if we are to raise more people out of poverty and more people out of unemployment.
“The time has come for us to rally more resources so as to close the gap between the rich and the poor,” he said.
Gordhan, who stayed clear from making a political statement about his own personal issues with President Jacob Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority, said South Africa had done very well to deliver to the poor in its 22 years as a democracy and it could do even better.