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Zuma vows to create half a million jobs before next year


Latest update : 2009-06-03

Speaking in front of the South African Parliament, President Jacob Zuma said the government would create 500,000 jobs in the country. South Africa is officially in recession after a 6.4% contraction in the first quarter.

AFP - President Jacob Zuma vowed to create 500,000 jobs by December, saying the government would follow through on its plans to spend billions of dollars to overhaul South Africa's infrastructure.

"Between now and December 2009, we plan to create about 500,000 job opportunities," he told parliament in his first state of the nation address.

"Government will ensure that the planned 787 billion rand (98 billion dollar) infrastructure expenditure as provided for in the budget earlier this year is properly planned for and executed," he said.

"This funding includes allocations for the school building programme, public transport including the bus rapid transit system, housing, water and sanitation."

Zuma insisted that fighting poverty remained the "cornerstone" of his government's focus, but sought to temper expectations of his government, which swept into power in April elections on the back of strong support from unions and the poor.

"The economic downturn will affect the pace at which our country is able to address the social and economic challenges it faces. But it will not alter the direction of our development," he said.

The global economic crisis has taken a toll on the economy, which is officially in recession after a 6.4 percent contraction in the first quarter, he said.

"We must act now to minimise the impact of this downturn on those most vulnerable," he added.

Date created : 2009-06-03