Africa’s most advanced economy posted a rise in joblessless of 239,000, bringing the total number of people out of work to 5.9 million, StatsSA said in its quarterly report.
The South African economy rose by a surprisingly strong 3.3 percent in the second quarter of 2016 after a contraction of 1.2 percent in the previous three months had sparked recession fears.
The South African currency, the rand, has come under pressure on the foreign exchange markets as respected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan faces fraud charges over alleged corruption.
At the weekend, the government announced a proposed minimum wage of 3,500 rand ($250) which sceptics suggest will lead to more job losses.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance labelled the numbers of unemployed as “a jobs bloodbath.”
And the latest unemployment figures dealt a blow to the country’s prospects of avoiding a credit downgrade.
Moody’s agency, which rates South African debt two notches above junk status, is on Friday due to announce its latest assessment.