|President Jacob Zuma. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON|
Mr Zuma, responding after two days of sustained criticism from the opposition in the debate on his state of the nation address, also made what is arguably his strongest statement yet on crimes against women and children.
Importantly, he insisted that foreign direct investment into South Africa was healthy.
Closing the debate in the National Assembly, he said: "According to an average weighting by the World Bank, Transparency International and the World Economic Forum, besides others, South Africa is among the highest-ranked emerging markets.
"More importantly, investors also realise these advantages and are continuing to invest in South Africa. Our tax relief incentives, announced in 2011, have resulted in an increase in foreign direct investment."
Mr Zuma cited an R800m investment in Boksburg by Unilever and one of R500m by Swiss multinational Nestle, as examples of investments that were creating jobs.
"Building on these successes, we continue to deal with the factors that constrain growth and keep jobs away. A key intervention in this regard, is our rolling infrastructure programme. The ministers of Economic Development and Public Enterprises provided detailed reports on the infrastructure projects and the progress we are making," he said.
Turning to crime, the Mr Zuma said the right to life and the right to safety and security of women and children were paramount. "While welcoming the significant decrease in overall serious crime, we once again strongly condemn the shocking, barbaric and inhumane cases of rape that have taken place in our motherland.
"Some of these have gone beyond women and girls, as there have been reports of boys being molested as well. We have directed the police to show no mercy to perpetrators of these crimes."