It's official: South Africa ended 2019 mired in recession. Things have not been this bleak since the global financial crisis a decade ago, and since this data was recorded the coronavirus has started taking its toll on key South African trading partners such as China.
South Africa's economy in the fourth quarter of 2019 contracted 1.4%, Stats SA said on Tuesday 3 March. That was a far worse showing than economists had expected. A Reuters consensus forecast saw a shrinkage of just 0.1%. As a result of the dismal Q4 performance, South Africa's economy only grew 0.2% in 2019, its worst showing since the throes of global financial crisis in 2009, when it shrank 1.5%.
This followed a 0.8% contraction in Q3 - a downward revision from a previous estimate of -0.6% - so this also heralds the second recession since Cyril Ramaphosa became President just over two years ago. The roots of the malaise lie with the previous administration, but ultimately the ANC - the party Ramaphosa leads - owns both recessions. Its policies over the last decade have laid the groundwork for epic failure.
In the 2020/21 Budget review last week, the Treasury had estimated 2019 growth of...