Announcing measures to tackle the impact of the global recession in his country, South African President Jacob Zuma pledged on Wednesday to create 500,000 jobs by the end of this year.
Zuma, in his first address to the national parliament in Cape Town, outlined a ten-point plan to create jobs, revive economy, fight poverty, rural development and to create an efficient and corrupt-free civil service in the country.
Acknowledging that the economic crisis had hit the nation badly, Zuma said the government needed to minimise the impact of the recession primarily on the most vulnerable sectors.
"We have begun to act to reduce job losses," he said.
"Workers who would ordinarily be facing retrenchment due to the economic difficulties, would be kept in employment for a period and reskilled," he said.
The economy has contracted by 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2009 and more than 200,000 jobs had been lost, he said, adding that the government would create 500, 000 job opportunities by December.
"We are going to use the task team made up of labour, government and business to forge a partnership that will make this country withstand the current global economic turmoil, as we did in the so-called emerging markets crisis in 1998," the president said.