SA's 3Q growth worse than expected due to strikes

South Africa’s economy continues to struggle as a consequence of the widespread strikes that have hit its mining sector since August, weighing more heavily on the economy in the third quarter than what economists had predicted.

According to data published Tuesday by the country's statistical agency, South Africa's economy grew 1.2% in the third quarter compared with the previous three months of the year.  Analysts had predicted a growth of 1.7%, as reported Monday by All

Stats SA showed the immediate impacts of labour unrest in the country’s economy earlier this month, when it published data that showed mine output dropped 8.3% on the year in September.

The fall was sharper than the 4.5% economists had forecasted as strikes crippled the industry.  The country’s mining sector, which accounts for 6% of gross domestic product, has been repeatedly hit by disputes over low wages that reflect widespread anger over enduring inequalities.

The other major problem currently affecting South African mining is the latest talks of mine expropriation, coming from local political figures.

Julius Malema, an expelled youth league leader for the incumbent African National Congress, visited striking workers all through September and October, issuing repeated calls for the government to seize control of the mines.

Today’s quarterly growth figures for Africa's largest economy were far below the revised 3.4% growth rate posted in the second quarter of this year. According to experts, it suggests that growth for this year may come even below the government's present estimate of 2.5% growth for 2012.

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