He said it was encouraging that the most growth was amongst the youth aged between 25 and 34 years.
“These figures may look like a drop in the ocean when one looks at the scores that still remain without jobs. However, for those individuals whose lives will be enhanced due to being gainfully employed, the statistics are most meaningful. And for those who are still searching for jobs … they want to hear that the situation will improve and it will improve,” said Zuma.
He was speaking at the 5th National Convention of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) in Boksburg on Tuesday.
Government aims to create five million jobs by 2020 through a new growth trajectory by increasing investment in infrastructure development, sectors such as manufacturing and the so-called green economy.
It proposes measures to address the rand's strength and loose monetary policy.
This is despite the Eurozone crisis which threatens to affect South Africa’s economy.
Zuma said government has learned lessons from the 2008 economic crisis, which saw SA losing more than one million jobs. The lesson was that one cannot count on growth to create sustainable employment.
Rather, he said, government has strengthened the productive sectors, such as infrastructure, mining and agriculture, rural development and manufacturing, because they create employment on a large scale.
He told the congress that government was working on other programmes in order to create job opportunities. He also mentioned that they have directed a number of public sector internships to be increased by 5 percent or 60 000 positions by 2013.
This he said will give the youth work exposure and hold them in good stead when they search for formal employment.
Urging for more private partnership in creating more jobs, the President said they were working on addressing the red tape in the private sector such as unnecessary regulatory delays and lack of financing.
Already, a task team has been set up to address the blockages to major private investments and projects
“We are serious about the need for government to act swiftly to cut the notorious red tape,” Zuma added.