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Only 1% growth will mean 80 000 jobs for SA - Zuma

Oct 06 2016 07:45

Cape Town – A 1% economic growth rate for South Africa will translate into over 80 000 jobs, while 3% will enable the country to create over 300 000 jobs, said President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday. 

He was addressing delegates attending the World Trade Unions Congress held in Durban. 

Zuma pointed out that this year’s congress is taking place during a difficult period in the global economy. 

“The global economic environment remains sluggish and according to the International Monetary Fund global growth is estimated at 2.9% in the first half of 2016, lower than in the second half of 2015. Advanced economies are growing at a slower pace than previously anticipated,” Zuma said.

The recovery in the global economy remains uncertain, and the sluggish and uncertain recovery threatens the creation of jobs and the living standards of all workers.

Zuma cited recent negative economic shocks such as the vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union or the instability in the Middle East as more reasons why the global economic recovery failed to gain momentum. 

“The rebalancing of growth in China is providing long-term opportunities for industries but it is also threatening jobs through its impact on trade and on commodity prices,” he added. 

According to Zuma, the pressure on the global economy also has an impact on the “social dynamics” in many countries.

“The pressures have led to increases in migration as people search for better opportunities outside their own countries. We have seen painful scenes of people drowning in harsh seas in the Mediterranean, escaping poverty or conflicts in North Africa or Syria. Most are workers, fleeing their home countries in search of a better life. Indeed, we live in difficult times.”

READ: Professional migrants rush to and from SA - report

He added that in “wealthier countries”, the migration crisis has in turn led to increased xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. 

“The Brexit vote in the UK, the political climates in many European countries and the rhetoric about building walls in the United States, are all examples of this.”

Zuma said the international climate also had an effect on South Africa’s economy. 

“While we have limited control over what other countries do and how they affect the global economy, we have control over our economic environment,” he said, adding that labour and business should work together with government to manage the domestic economic environment. 

“And indeed we are working together to reignite growth so that we can save existing jobs and create new ones. We are working hard to boost the performance of sectors such as mining, agriculture, infrastructure and manufacturing among others, in order to save and create jobs.”

READ: Ramaphosa calls for fiercely independent trade movement

He said that South Africa will ultimately need to raise the level of economic growth to 5% in years to come if it is to make a dent in unemployment, inequality and poverty. 

“Solutions are being sought globally as well. During the recent G20 Summit held in China, the Chinese hosts with South African support, proposed a new path for growth in the global economy,” Zuma said. 

“This includes macro-economic policies that create jobs, address unemployment, improve people’s employability and promote decent work. These are policies that will reduce inequality, which poses a serious economic challenge.” 

Zuma concluded that the fact that the meeting takes place in Africa gives delegates the opportunity to reflect on the impact of the global crisis of capitalism on the African working class and engage further to find solutions.

“This is also a very critical time for us to work together to close the gap that has divided people between the rich and the poor and which has divided countries between big and small economies.” 

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

unemployment  |  capitalism  |  growth  |  poverty  |  workers


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