A lot of work has been done to fight poverty, unemployment and inequality since 2009, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.
“We have created more jobs than before. Employment is now higher than it has ever been, at 15 million people,” Zuma said in a statement.
He was speaking during the launch of the election edition of the Progressive Leader magazine produced by the ANC Progressive Business Forum.
“More of our people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. Our social grants, received by over 16 million people, are one of the critical instruments in poverty alleviation,” he said.
He told guests of the work the African National Congress had been able to accomplish since coming into government.
Zuma said more than R1trn had been invested in national infrastructure projects, compared with R451bn in the previous five years.
“Nearly 500 informal settlements have been replaced with quality housing and basic services, thus providing our people with dignified housing,” said Zuma.
More was to be done in the area of sanitation and water provision in the next term, he added.
On business, Zuma said government had done a lot to create a conducive climate for business to thrive. He said the initiatives taken by government would translate into stronger domestic growth and more jobs.
Among the initiatives was the call to buy locally produced goods. He said the party wanted the state to buy at least 75% of its goods and services from South African producers and support small enterprises.
“We have also done well in promoting and protecting the country’s automotive sector, which is a valuable source of foreign direct investment.
“We are pleased with the progress in the growth of this sector and welcome all the major investments that have been made,” said Zuma.
He called on the private sector to respond appropriately, by increasing investment, production, exports and employment.
Zuma said private sector investment accounted for 63% of total investment. In addition, the private sector employed 77% of all working South Africans, he added.
“We therefore need active private sector participation in boosting inclusive growth to eradicate poverty and unemployment,” the president said.