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01 Sep 2009 15:13
The road to economic recovery will be “slow and gradual” for South Africa, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday.
Gordhan said in the National Assembly that it was in the rising numbers of unemployed that South Africa was seeing the “very real human costs” of the economic crisis.
“While there are indications that the South African economy might have reached the bottom of this sharp downturn, the road to recovery will be slow and gradual,” he said.
“One of the roles of this administration going forward is to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are protected from the effects of these boom bust cycles.”
Gordhan said employment had fallen by 3,5%—or 500 000 jobs—since the last quarter of 2008.
He said South Africa’s fiscal expansion was having a positive effect on its economic performance.
“In particular, the acceleration of infrastructure spending is contributing to both greater long term capacity and short term employment creation.”
Gordhan said the economic growth path had to be a more labour absorbing one.
“Reducing unemployment is our single biggest priority,” he said.
For this to succeed, a radical departure from “business as usual” was needed.
The public sector needs to create many more jobs, mainly though its infrastructure programme and through the delivery of labour intensive services, such as early childhood education and home-based care.”—Sapa
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