JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South Africa has repaid on time a controversial $1-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund granted in 1982, the Reserve Bank reported Tuesday.
The repayment was seen as a psychological boost for sanctions-hit Pretoria and clear proof to the IMF of the underlying resilience of the country's gold-based economy.
The South African central bank said it repaid the loan in eight installments over the past two years. Only two years ago, South Africa's reserves were barely $1.5 billion, and with black townships engulfed in violence, the country was beset by its worst crisis.
"I am proud we have met our commitments in full," said Reserve Bank Governor Gerhard de Kock.
Despite the repayment, South Africa's relations with the IMF remain cool. The IMF was assailed by the overseas anti-apartheid lobby for granting the loan to compensate South Africa for falling export earnings during a serious drought.