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‘Unresolved labour disputes will hit economy’

President Jacob Zuma has urged the labour sector and employers to resolve disputes.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Sibongile Ngalwa/GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has urged employers and the labour sector to resolve disputes faster so that the economy can return to full production.

The president addressed the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI)'s annual conference praising business for its cooperation and intervention in the mining sector.

Zuma recognised the impact strikes have on the economy, but said a global economic meltdown must also be taken into account.

"The situation is not normal. When we're faced with disputes we should handle them with that understanding because if we don't, we could worsen our economic situation."

But the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) warned on Monday its strike at Anglo American Platinum could be extended by spreading to other major platinum producers.

Zuma said government and business must work together to build the economy and it must not be left to the government to take on the task alone.

'SA HAS MUCH TO BOAST ABOUT'

The president applauded the private sector for coming to the party and investing in communities from where businesses drew their labour.

He said with this attitude from business, the country was changing for the better.

Zuma added that South Africa has much to boast about since the arrival democracy 20 years ago, but said challenges like unemployment remain.

"We should continue working together to build the economy and the country. This cannot be the responsibility of government alone."

He also said that while South Africa had made significant progress, South Africans tended to forget this due to their out-of-proportion view of the country's problems.

'SOUTH AFRICANS OVER CRITICAL'

Zuma said South Africans were 'over critical' of the country and did not realise its true potential.

He called on business not turn to other countries to find solutions to African problems, saying South Africa had the capability to develop its own continent.

"We just at times forget that we are a special people. Is there any other country with a Madiba? No. Not a single one."

Zuma said, "If we resolve problems in South Africa that no one thought we would ever resolve, you'll realise how special we are."

He told the SACCI that the country was better off since the African National Congress (ANC) took over in 1994.

"But there is still a lot of work to be done. Difficulties that arise at times can be exaggerated that make us forget what we can and are going to achieve."

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