sa tackled crisis well, says zuma

SOUTH Africa outclassed many countries in its response to the global economic crisis despite the threat of more job losses in the near future, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.

He was addressing the media after a report-back session by the leadership group of the framework response to the economic crisis. The task team, which comprises economic social partners, was formed last December to address the challenges brought by the global recession.

Zuma said the government and its social partners had responded with a range of "separate and joint" measures in dealing with the impact of the global recession on the country.

"Without these measures the impact of the recession would have been more severe.

"These measures also form the basis for a better future, once the pressures of the current economic conditions are lessened," Zuma said.

He further cautioned that though the economy was beginning to recover, the crisis still existed, especially for the working people and the poor.

Zuma said: "We might still lose more jobs before we turn the corner on job creation. Nearly a million people have been cut loose by the crisis, and many of them have families that depend on them."

Raymond Parsons, Business Unity SA deputy chief executive, said South Africa "stood out" in terms of the extent to which it had mobilised social partners in response to the economic crisis.

"This was the first recession that has tested social dialogue in South Africa and this proved that adversity leads to greater problem-solving," Parsons said.

According to Public Works Minister Jeff Doidge there was still hope that the 500000 jobs targeted through his department would be created.

Doidge said his department had created 89000 work opportunities in the first quarter of 2009 and over 200000 jobs in the second quarter of the year.

Kevin Lings, Stanlib economist, said South Africa survived the crisis because of the strength of the local banks.

"Our banks are more regulated and supervised and that contributed in the resistance towards the recession," he said.