(Updates with comment by minister starting in second paragraph.)
July 29 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s government said President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe will lead a renewed drive to create jobs and develop Africa’s largest economy, following an increase in unemployment.
The government has “resolved to fast-track interventions that will create employment,” Collins Chabane, a minister in the presidency, told reporters in Pretoria today. The Cabinet agreed after a meeting on July 26-28 to establish “an infrastructure commission to be chaired by the president and a job creation commission to be chaired by the deputy president.”
The unemployment rate rose to 25.7 percent in the second quarter from 25 percent in the previous three months, leaving 4.5 million people without jobs, the government statistics agency said in a report released yesterday. The government aims to create 5 million jobs by 2020 in a bid to slash unemployment.
Among projects to create work, the Cabinet agreed to expand community works programs to create 1 million positions by March 31, 2014 and to encourage manufacturing by cutting the cost of power, transport, communication and construction. The departments of economic development and trade and industry are formulating steps to reduce the cost of steel, which will be unveiled by the end of September.
A government team will also be set up to focus on regulatory changes needed to “unblock private-sector projects,” Chabane said.
--Editors: Philip Sanders, Ben Holland
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