South Africa's economic growth 'could be better'

South Africa’s economic growth could be better despite suffering knock-on effects from Europe and the US, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and trade union Uasa said on Tuesday.

“There are many other economies across the world that are managing to perform well despite the global economic climate,” DA MP Dion George said in a statement.

Earlier, Statistics South Africa said economic growth slightly expanded to a growth rate of 1.4% in the third quarter of 2011.

This was marginally up from 1.3% in the previous quarter.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has previously said South Africa needs growth of 7% per annum for at least a decade if unemployment is to be significantly reduced.

‘Difficult economic conditions’
George said South Africa’s poor performance could not be blamed on the financial troubles faced by Europe and the US.

“President Jacob Zuma’s government will no doubt attribute this to difficult economic conditions in Europe and the US. This is not a sufficient explanation for our poor performance.”

He said other developing countries were growing quicker than South Africa.

China grew at a rate of 9.1%, India 7.7% and Nigeria 7.4% during the third quarter of 2011, he said.

‘What are we doing wrong’
“We have to ask ourselves what these countries are doing right and what we are doing wrong.

“Our failure to grow at sufficiently high levels means that fewer jobs are created and fewer South Africans have opportunities to improve their lives.”

Uasa spokesperson André Venter said South Africa’s economic growth was not fast enough to support the job creation needed to alleviate unemployment.

“Though the world economy is struggling, the ANC-led South African government can do much to create an environment for faster growth and job creation,” Venter said in a statement.

‘Uncertainties’
He called for consistency in the government when talking about policy.

“Positive policy statements will encourage investment, something that is lacking in the private sector due to among others uncertainties created by conflicting statements issued by government officials, ministers and ANC members.”

Venter said the government should focus on the finance and domestic trade sectors to create jobs as they recorded the best year-on-year performance.

“Uasa urges government to further explore the potential of the finance sector as job creator in the New Growth Path and National Planning Commission’s development path until 2030,” he said.—Sapa

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