Job creation will lag, Zuma warns
Johannesburg - There are signs South Africa is recovering from the worst effects of the global economic crisis, but the revival will likely be slow and job creation will lag, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
Zuma was addressing tens of thousands of supporters gathered in Kimberley for the 98th anniversary of the ANC.
"There are some indications that we may be recovering from the worst of the (global) crisis but this recovery may be slow and perhaps even temporary," he said in a speech broadcast on SABC.
Zuma sought, however, to lessen the expections of his supporters that new jobs will be created soon.
"It should also be expected that the creation of new jobs on a massive scale will lag behind the economic recovery," he said.
A survey conducted by Ipsos Markinor between October and November 2009 showed the ANC had consolidated its support after narrowly failing to achieve a two-third majority in last year's election, with support of 71% of eligible voters.
The party drew most of its support from the ranks of the unemployed with more than two-thirds (67%) of their supporters jobless.
The poll, published on Saturday, found Zuma's approval rating has increased since he took office to a mean of 7.6 from 6.1 on the scale of 10, the most notable increases in minority racial groups such as Indians and whites.
Zuma assured his supporters that the ANC was still committed to its target of creating 4 million jobs by 2014, providing quality healthcare and ending corruption and crime.
Zuma is under pressure to deliver on election promises made last year, including drastically reducing unemployment which stands at about 25% after last year's recession slashed nearly one million jobs.
Due to the economic downturn, Zuma was unable to meet his pledge of creating 500 000 new jobs last year.
The ANC government also faces pressure to improve basic services. Riots erupted in several poor townships across the country last year as residents protested over the lack of running water and electricity.