President Kgalema Motlanthe says poverty and crime in the country undermine social cohesion and the government's ability to deliver social justice to the public.
Motlanthe was speaking at a Nedlac summit in Midrand yesterday.
He said South Africa still faces the challenge of discrimination against blacks and women in the labour market.
Workers, faced with casualisation due to the adverse economic conditions, bore the brunt of the situation.
He said these scourges, as well as HIV-Aids, affected the economy negatively.
Motlanthe said the situation was further compounded by South Africa's downward spiral in economic growth.