S.Africa's Zuma says will keep debt contained

* Zuma says debt should not overburden future generations

* Government responds appropriately to challenges

* Losing HIV/AIDS battle

(adds details, more quotes)

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN, Oct 29 (Reuters) - South Africa's government had to try meet the country's needs with fewer resources and would contain its borrowing to ensure it did not overburden future generations, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

The National Treasury said this week the budget deficit would swell to a record 7.6 percent of GDP this financial year but would be gradually reduced over the next three years.

"We will need to borrow more to meet our needs, we are determined, however, to contain our borrowing requirement within sustainable limits to ensure that we do not burden future generations with our debt," Zuma said in a speech to parliament's second house, the National Council of Provinces.

He said the government believed it was responding appropriately to the challenges facing Africa's strongest economy, in its first recession since 1992.

Measures taken in response to the recession could not be separated from the longer term task of transforming the country's economy and society, Zuma added.

"That is why we borrow not to bail out banks and failing businesses, but to invest in economic infrastructure, education, health care, rural development and the fight against crime," he said.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday South Africa would maintain its public infrastructure spending programme over the next three years, totalling 872 billion rand and seen as vital to avoiding a deeper recession. [ID:nLR422457]

Zuma also touched on South Africa's battle with HIV/Aids, saying although government had a comprehensive strategy to tackle the killer disease, it was not winning the fight, with studies suggesting 57 percent of the deaths of children aged under 5 during 2007 were due to HIV.

"Though we have the largest anti-retroviral programme in the world, we are not yet winning this battle," Zuma said, adding HIV co-infection with tuberculosis was worsening mortality rates.

"The co-infection rate between HIV and TB has now reached a staggering 73 percent," Zuma said.

South Africa has one of the world's heaviest HIV caseloads. At least 5.7 million people are infected with the virus, and AIDS kills an estimated 1,000 people a day. (Editing by Victoria Main)