Unemployment remains high and outdated infrastructure has constrained growth. More than a quarter of the population receives social grants, and the number of beneficiaries has increased by more than 300 per cent in the past nine years. In addition, the unemployment among 15-to-24-year-olds is at 51 per cent, more than twice the national rate (25 per cent), according to a survey published by the South African Institute of Race Relations.
The global recession made the country’s unemployment picture considerably bleaker, with close to a million jobs lost in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, unemployment stood at 24.9 per cent. The minister for economic development, Ebrahim Patel, launched an ambitious new growth path (NGP) in November 2011 which aims to create five million jobs by 2020, thus reducing unemployment to 15 per cent.