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Zuma hails job gains, warns on global threats to S.Africa

Published on 09/02/2012

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday hailed progress in creating jobs but warned that global uncertainty posed challenges to South Africa's drive to slash unemployment and poverty.

Zuma cited improved job figures released this week as proof that his strategy of state spending on infrastructure and job incentive programmes was lifting South Africa out of the slump caused by the 2008 global economic crisis.

“As a developmental state that is located at the centre of a mixed economy, we see our role as being to lead and guide the economy and to intervene in the interest of the poor, given the history of our country,” he said in a nationally televised state of the nation address.

“The triple challenge of poverty, employment and inequality persists, despite the progress made,” Zuma said.

“The results are encouraging, although we are not out of the woods yet, given the global economic situation,” he added.

In the last three months of 2011, the jobless rate fell to 23.9 percent from 25 percent. The country created 365,000 new jobs last year, the best performance since the 2008 recession, he said.

“What is also important is that all the new jobs are in the formal sector of the economy, in sectors such as mining, transport, community services and trade to name a few,” said the president.

“The solution for the country therefore, is higher growth and job creation to reduce and ultimately eradicate poverty and inequality,” he added.