JOHANNESBURG Jan 22 South Africa will likely
miss its target of creating five million jobs by 2020, given
labour strife and strained relations between the government and
private firms, a newspaper quoted a deputy minister as saying.
"We are not going to achieve them (job targets) if we don't
systematically look at priority sectors," Economic Development
Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize told Business Day in an
interview - marking the first such public admission by a
President Jacob Zuma's government has pushed a major
development plan to slash unemployment to 15 percent from 25
percent over seven years, but economic growth remains far below
the levels needed to reduce the problem, carving deep social
divisions in Africa's largest economy.
Referring to one priority sector, Mkhize said often-violent
wildcat strikes in recent months and the threat of job losses at
some of the country's mines stand in the way of creating jobs.
Two major mining firms are looking to slash jobs due to
labour strife with Anglo American Platinum, the largest
producer of the precious metal, planning to mothball some of its
operations and cut some 14,000 jobs.
Harmony Gold, South Africa's third-largest gold
producer also plans to mothball its Kusasalethu mine, which
could lead to 6,000 job losses.
Zuma's ruling African National Congress has severely
criticised the moves and threatened to review mining licenses.
The possibility of further job losses has kept tensions
simmering in the mining sector after strikes last year left more
than 50 people dead and shaved off about 0.5 percentage points
from the country's 2012 economic growth.
The Treasury has forecast growth of 3 percent this year from
2.5 percent in 2012, far below the 7 percent the country needs
to significantly reduce the jobless rate.