(Bloomberg) -- South Africa needs to increase state support in education as well as private sector involvement to avoid devastating job losses, according to Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. Chairman Jabu Mabuza.

“Our overriding objective should be to maximize the impact of policy interventions through labor-absorbing growth,” Mabuza, who is also chairman of Business Leadership South Africa, which represents big corporates, wrote in an opinion piece in the Johannesburg-based Financial Mail. “Everyone must play a part in overcoming our huge unemployment time bomb.”

Unemployment in Africa’s most-industrialized nation climbed to a near-15 year high of 27.6% in the first quarter. Eskom is seen as one of the country’s biggest economic risks, with almost $35 billion in debt dragging on the state company’s ability to operate. The World Bank estimates it has 66% too many employees.

The government also needs to focus on ensuring a clear fiscal strategy to help keep its credit rating intact, Mabuza said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in Johannesburg at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Herron at jherron9@bloomberg.net, Gordon Bell, Jacqueline Mackenzie

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