News24

Zuma: End economic inequalities

2009-06-07 21:08

Johannesburg - South Africa must close the gap between rich and poor or face serious consequences, newly elected President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday, in comments that could unnerve foreign investors.

In an interview with South Africa's SABC television, Zuma said ignoring poverty in Africa's biggest economy could create problems.

"If that happens you are certainly sitting on a situation that will explode one day," he said.

One of Zuma's biggest tasks will be balancing the interests of unions that helped his rise and those of foreign investors who worry he may steer the economy to the left.

"If the economy is growing, it has to benefit the people of the country ... we need to do something to address that problem. We cannot allow the gap to widen all the time," said the president.

Zuma may be headed for a confrontation with union allies, who have threatened to stage mass strikes for more interest rate cuts.

Analysts doubt unions will emerge victorious in any showdown.


Reuters