Government's response to economic crisis lauded

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pretoria - The business and labour sectors have both expressed satisfaction at the manner in which South Africa had handled its response to the global economic crisis.

Prominent economist and Business Unity South Africa deputy chief executive officer Raymond Parsons said South Africa had been found to have stood out in the extent the country had mobilised social partners in response to the crisis.

"From the business point of view the feeling is that the social dialogue factor has really set South Africa apart with regard to its response to the crisis," Parsons said.

He was speaking during a report back briefing by the Presidential Economic Joint Working Group, set up by President Jacob Zuma to formulate SA's response to the economic situation.

Parsons said while thousands of jobs had been lost during the period that also saw South Africa stepping into recession, the extent in which social partners and government managed to cushion the poor should be lauded.

His sentiments were echoed by trade union federation Cosatu's General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who said the labour movement was happy with the pace at which government had responded to the crisis.

Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge said an announcement regarding government's progress on the creation of 500 000 jobs by the end of 2009 would be made early next year.

According to Doidge, 89 000 verified jobs were created across all three spheres of government in the first quarter of 2009. This was followed by 235 000 work opportunities in the second quarter. Doidge said additional work was being created but that the numbers still needed to undergo a verification process.

"What we want is that when we release the final figure, it must stand the test of any audit process that may be carried out there," he said, adding that national government was working on a plan to improve the verification process.