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Zuma slated over SA's economy

The President has been criticised for not presenting more tangible measures to improve the economy.

President Jacob Zuma addresses a special media briefing on the economy, especially on developments in the mining sector at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma has been criticised for not presenting more concrete measures to improve the country's economy in the short term.

Zuma called a special media briefing at the Unions Buildings in Pretoria on Thursday where he called for all hands on deck to stabilise the crucial mining industry where threats of more violent protests continue to simmer.

Shortly after Zuma's speech, the Rand breached the R10 to the US dollar barrier for the first time in more than four years.

But the National Treasury echoed the President's call for a stable mining sector for the sake of the country's economy.

Director General in the National Treasury Lungisa Fuzile defended South Africa's economy saying that the Rand will recover.

But he said in the short term the mining sector must be stabilised.

"We have got to make sure that we stabilise the national relations around mining. The national relations there must take place within the context of the law. Strikes have got to be avoided."

He said after that the deeper problems can be resolved.

Some economists and opposition parties have criticised Jacob Zuma for not announcing more decisive action and offering only vague assurances.

Independent economist Christie Viljoen said not enough was being done.

"My biggest concern is that the government isn't making big steps. It's not making big announcements and it's not implementing big plans."

But the economist at the World Bank in South Africa Sandeep Mahajan said the picture was not as bleak as it seems.

"Natural stability in South Africa still remains one of its shining points. I wish some developed countries were behaving like South Africa does on the stability part."

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said Zuma offered little more than vague assurances on Thursday instead of taking decisive action.

It's also emerged that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is leading negotiations in the mining sector.

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