Monday, July 27, 2009

South African Government Committed to Creating 500,000 Jobs by December

JOHANNESBURG 24 July 2009 Sapa


The government is still committed to creating 500,000 job
opportunities by December through its public works programme, the
presidency said on Friday.

On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said South Africa would have
to wait for an increase in job creation, because of the economic

"Even if the economy begins to grow again next year, we will have
to wait a little longer for a significant increase in new job
creation," Zuma told the Confederation of Black Business
Organisations in Johannesburg.

In a statement, the presidency said reports that the government
had changed its strategy on job creation were "incorrect" and based
on a "fundamental misunderstanding" of Zuma's comments.

"These jobs are different and distinct from those that will be
created through government's public works programme."

The government remained committed to the targets it had set in
the public works programme and to pursuing economic policies
promoting job creation.

Speaking about the expanded public works programme in response
to the Presidency Budget vote debate in the National Assembly, Zuma said: "I reiterate that we intend to create about 500,000 work
opportunities this year [through the Expanded Public Works
Programme], as part of our goal of creating about four million such
opportunities by the end of this five-year term.

"Let me emphasise that these measures are not a substitute for
the permanent jobs that must be created and sustained in the

In response to Zuma's statement, the Congress of the People
(Cope) said that blaming the global economic crisis for a delay in
meeting the job creation targets was irresponsible and shocking.

"To date, the government has not clearly articulated how it will
create sustainable jobs, or even job opportunities in the public
works programmes it claimed would speed up, spokesman Phillip
Dexter said in a statement.

"We are shocked that the president now says that even these
limited targets will not be met. This, at a time when the country
is in flames due to the collapse of municipal government, is
nothing short of irresponsible," he said.

Government ministers were spending money on expensive vehicles
instead of putting the people first.

To help steer the country out of the economic crisis and create
jobs, it was vital to hold a summit at which possible solutions
could be found.

"Cope and other opposition parties have called for a special
summit on the economy to bring together all the capacity we have as
a country to lead an effort to turn this ship around before it runs
aground," Dexter said.

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