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Ramaphosa’s Economic Problems Pile On

South African trade unions said on Tuesday that they would lodge a formal dispute if the government doesn’t honour a three-year public-sector wage deal, a step that could lead to months of arbitration and culminate in a strike. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday focused discussions would be needed between the government and trade unions to slow the rate of growth in public sector wages. His comments in a weekly newsletter to the nation signalled support for a proposal by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to make 160 billion rand ($10.3 billion) of cuts to the public sector wage bill over the next three years. In the meantime, South Africa’s gross domestic product contracted 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, following a revised 0.8% contraction in the third quarter, data from Statistics South Africa showed on Tuesday.