South Africa President Jacob Zuma asked mining and steel companies to limit job cuts as falling commodity prices put profits at risk.
“We urge business to contain the difficulties as much as possible and not to resort to retrenchments at the first possible opportunity,” Zuma said Sunday in Sasolburg in the Free State province, according to an e-mailed transcript.
Plans by companies including Lonmin Plc to cut jobs following a plunge in coal, iron ore and platinum have drawn criticism from the ruling African National Congress in a nation where one in four is unemployed. South Africa has a target to create six million new jobs by 2019.
The government will help companies to avoid cuts and assist people affected by job losses wherever possible, Zuma was cited as saying.
Anglo American Plc, Scaw Metals Group and Lonmin are among companies planning to cut about 10,000 jobs in Africa’s most-industrialized economy. The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell this month to a 13-year low.