Strikes put pressure on economy - Zuma

2012-10-13 07:18
President Jacob Zuma (Picture: Sapa)

President Jacob Zuma (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - South Africa's economy has been put under immense pressure by wage disputes and widespread protests, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.

Urgent steps were needed to avoid an economic downturn, he told delegates at an economic forum on the state of the country's economy, at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse, east of Pretoria.

"We reiterate our call to business and labour to work together to find solutions, so that we can revert to the primary task at hand, which is to build the country, build the economy and improve the quality of life," he said.

"We are confident that working together we will be able to find solutions, informed by the Constitution and the values of our democracy. We have a long history of productive social partnerships in our country."

The meeting was attended by government ministers and officials, labour representatives, including Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and president Sidumo Dlamini, and Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) general secretary Dennis George.

Officials from Business Unity SA and the Black Business Council were also invited.

Zuma said a spate of labour disputes, which have often degenerated into violent protests and chaos, were a major cause for concern.

"We have been seriously concerned about the violent nature of the strikes.

"I am sure that all of us share that concern. We also agree that this is not something we want to see in our country, where there are mechanisms in place to deal with industrial disputes, or any other disputes," he said.

"Labour disputes do not need to degenerate into violent confrontations and [lead to] loss of life as what happened tragically in Marikana and other strikes."

The deliberations were closed to the media, but a briefing is expected afterwards.

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Read more on:    busa  |  jacob zuma  |  mining unrest  |  strikes  |  economy  |  labour
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