Tokyo - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday labour
strikes in the mining sector have hurt the rand and
expressed confidence the currency will bounce back.
Widespread labour unrest has already shut down large parts
of the mining industry in the world's top platinum producer and a major
supplier of gold, pushing prices of precious metals higher.
"The initial stage of the (rand) depreciation, clearly
gloomy news coming from Europe has impacted in our situation," Gordhan
told Reuters in an interview ahead of meetings of the International Monetary
Fund and World Bank in Tokyo.
"And I'm sure the last 10 days or so, sentiment must
have been impacted by the strikes in our country as well. But I'm sure we'll
bounce back and get to some level of new normality."
The rand has fallen against the dollar, hitting a
three-and-a-half year low earlier this week as the strikes fanned volatility.
Gordhan said the government had taken steps to address the
labour unrest, stressing that South Africa was still a "a prime
nation" for investment.
"I want to assure everyone concerned that the
government as a whole is putting immense efforts to bring together the employer
community, trade union movement and the government itself in order to stabilise
the situation rapidly as possible," he said.
Gordhan acknowledged that the strikes will have an impact on
the economy in the short-term but said the nation has programmes to ease such
"We have many programmes on the other hand, which are
in place and as they begin to operate will mitigate some of the damage that
might be done during this period of strikes and dropping exports," he
Separately, Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus
said the country's economic outlook was deteriorating rapidly.
The IMF said on Tuesday spillovers from the eurozone crisis
into Africa have so far been modest except for in South Africa, which has close
financial and trading ties with Europe.
The IMF cut its 2013 forecast for South African growth to 3%
from a July projection of 3.3% mainly due to the impact from the continuing
eurozone debt crisis. It maintained its 2012 projection of 2.6%.
Gordhan said the government would seek to balance the need
for enhancing growth and medium-term fiscal consolidation. He will present his
medium term budget to parliament on October 25.
He also stressed that his country wants to see greater
representation for Africa inside the IMF as part of the institution's
long-running reform effort.
"South Africa wants to see the third chair in the IMF
board, either within the current arrangement of 24 chairs or by the additional
extra chair," he said, referring to the IMF's board of directors.
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