Gordhan: Recovery won't be a fast one

South Africa’s economic recovery will not be a fast process, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“Job creation is going to be slower than what we’d like it to be,” he told a media briefing following his meeting with the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) in Roodepoort.

The purpose of the meeting had been to address issues that had arisen in the October Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, such as job creation and the National Health Insurance system.

“Our administration is very keen to engage with the different role players.”

He said he had shared with Fedusa the joy of the country’s latest positive gross domestic product data, “as mild as it might be”.

The latest turnaround in GDP would be sustainable.

“The graphs are beginning to tick upwards, but we need to exercise caution.”

He predicted growth would come in at 1,5% in 2010.

“But there are predictions that growth could rise above 2% for that year.”

On suggestions the country’s economy should be restructured, Gordhan emphasised it had made it clear its interest in hearing different views.

“We are going into the Christmas break but we look forward to dealing with all our partners next year. We require creativity from all sides.”

Gordhan said inflation targeting had been around for 20 years.

“Different methods have been used but the object has been the same, the need to manage inflation so it doesn’t damage poor people.”

He welcomed Fedusa’s views, those of the Congress of South African Trade Unions and businesses on the matter.

The world had to be careful as to how it exited its stimulus packages.

“No one is rushing to exit the door because there is concern.”

Gordhan said the National Health Insurance scheme was “a work in progress”.

“The minister of health is dealing with it and early in the new year there will be an announcement from government on the consultation path.”

Gordhan told the briefing South Africa would in future give more attention to “green jobs”, or jobs in renewable energy sector.

“We have huge potential to generate wind energy and we also have opportunities for solar energy. The government will want to play a role in this.”

Gordhan stressed the government had an important role to play in the entire economy.

“When the chips are down government is the banker of last resort.”—Sapa

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