Key Points:

  • Growth is essential for reducing inequality and unemployment. Growth in a Time of Uncertainty brought together experts to focus on the key question: does South Africa have a growth strategy?
  • Between 2003 and 2008, when annual growth averaged over 5%, the country saw rising levels of employment, 2 million net new jobs were created, or about 1 000 new jobs a day. The result was that the rate of unemployment fell by 6% and incomes rose for many. In addition, increased tax revenues allowed government to expand the social safety net, with the number of people receiving social grants rising from under 6 million in 2003 to over 12 million in 2008.
  • Yet South Africa’s attitude to growth has been ambiguous and ambivalent. Government has repeatedly proclaimed a desire to see the economy grow more quickly but has emphasised policy initiatives that undermine
  • South Africa’s increasing budget deficit, low levels of investment and a serious labour market crisis, reinforces the key point: for South Africa to create large numbers of jobs, the economy has to grow quickly.
  • The country needs to move beyond its present impasse and make the “tough choices” to enable labour intensive growth.