Economic growth not turning corner on jobs - Zuma

Thursday, December 3, 2009
By: 
Bathandwa Mbola

Pretoria - The impact of the economic crisis will continue to linger over South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

"Although the economy is beginning to grow again, the crisis is still with us, especially for the poor and the working poor. We may still lose more jobs before we turn the corner on job creation," said the President.

Zuma had earlier met with the leadership group of the 'Framework Response to the Economic Crisis' to get an update on the progress in its implementation.

The team which consists of representatives of labour, business, government and the community is responsible for guiding the implementation of the national response to the impact of the international economic crisis on South Africa.

Zuma said nearly a million people had been cut loose by the crisis and many of them have families that depend on them.

"It is for this reason, we cannot yet say that the implementation of the Framework Agreement is complete," said Zuma, adding that the team would continue to work to mitigate the effects of the crisis and to lay the basis for more effective job creation in the future.

Government has been successful in creating opportunities for those affected by the crisis.

Its training lay-off scheme, aimed at curbing retrenchments, has managed to save 4 482 jobs between March to September 2009.

The R2.4 billion training lay-off programme, launched in August and administered by the CCMA on behalf of the Department of Labour, ensures that workers who are earmarked for retrenchment are given training instead.

For those who qualify, the government covers part of their salary for three months and the company would continue to pay benefits.

The Industrial Development Corporation, saved a further 7 700 jobs by approving loans worth R2.1 billion for 33 companies in distress, said Zuma.

He said that heightened action against the smuggling of clothing and textiles into the country offered support to local producers. "An estimated 1 400 jobs have been saved as a result of these actions."

Government has further created 223 568 jobs in the second quarter in its Expanded Public Works Program.