SAfrica's finance minister decries inequality

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's finance minister says the government wants to improve the living conditions of every South African.

In a budget speech that made several references to the end of apartheid in 1994, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said Thursday that reducing social inequality "has not been easy and our progress has been uneven."

Gordhan's budget came amid labor unrest in South Africa's mines that has exposed the gap between the rich and poor nearly two decades since the end of apartheid. He said the strikes are "a cause for urgent reflection."

To create jobs the government plans spending 40 billion rand ($5 billion) of the 969.4 billion rand ($121 billion) budget on infrastructure projects.

Gordhan said South Africa's budget deficit is projected to be 4.8 percent of GDP in 2012.

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