12 May 2010
The continued loss of jobs this year, including those recovered in the final quarter of 2009, is a cause for concern for the government and requires renewed action, says South African President Jacob Zuma.
Close to one million jobs have been lost so far during the global economic recession.
Speaking at the Business Unity South Africa (Busa) annual general meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday, Zuma said it was clear that some sectors of the economy were still suffering, even though overall, some were beginning to grow fairly well again.
“As we predicted, although the economy was turning positive, the impact of the recession might still lead to some job losses.
“We have been working well together as the partnership of business, government, labour and community sector, implementing the framework agreement for South Africa’s response to the international economic crisis,” Zuma said, adding that a range of interventions, including programmes to help firms avoid retrenchments, had been introduced.
He said the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) had allocated R6.1-billion to support companies that were hard-hit by the economic crisis, and encouraged all employers who faced the prospects of layoffs to use facilities that the government had created in an effort to curb unemployment.
Zuma also called on business to explore the growing African market, adding that Sub-Saharan Africa was the third-fastest growing region in the world after China and India.
He said that, following his attendance at the World Economic Forum in Dar es Salaam, he had returned “encouraged about Africa’s prospects”.
Zuma, who has a pending State visit to India next month, said businesses should not miss the opportunity to leverage a relationship with one of the world’s largest markets.
Stronger partnership with business
Meanwhile, Busa elected Futhi Mthoba as its new president. Mthoba, who received majority votes in her run against businessman Sandile Zungu, said her first priority will be to build unity among members.
“I’ll help them build capacity and then reach out to small businesses and capacitate them as well so they can create jobs. A lot of work needs to be done but I am extremely excited and honoured to be appointed,” Mthoba said.
Zuma congratulated Mthoba saying government would continue to work for a stronger partnership with business. “We look forward to ongoing fruitful engagement with Busa, to tackle the serious socio-economic matters affecting our country,” he said.