ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize
African National Congress (ANC) treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize said on Friday that radical economic transformation in South Africa must be implemented to the benefit of the majority of people and not a few individuals.
“What we understand as the ANC is that radical economic transformation must fundamentally change the structure of the economy, patterns and institutions that run our economy, to broaden it and deracialise our economy. It must be to the benefit of the majority of our people and not the benefit of the few,” Mkhize said.
“Radical economic transformation has not only to deliver to us improved incomes and reduction of unemployment and poverty, but it also has to offload a number of people that are really dependent on social grants. We cannot be a democratically elected governing party that presides over continued exclusion and marginalisation of our people.”
Mkhize was speaking at the Black Business Council (BBC) summit on radical economic transformation in Sandton.
He said there was still a long way for transformation to take place, even at corporate level, pointing out that JSE Top40 companies were still dominated by white and foreign chief executives, with black chief executives only making up around 21 percent.
Mkhize said emerging black-owned businesses must not be prejudiced for doing business with government and be labelled as “intrinsically corrupt” and be called names like “tenderpreneurs”, while big companies do mega-projects and were the largest beneficiaries of government business.
The BBC summit was held in a bid to find lasting solutions in tackling the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality by changing the ownership patterns of the economy and bringing the marginalised into the economic mainstream.
BBC president Danisa Baloyi said that the term radical economic transformation had dominated the public discourse in recent months, raising vigorous debate about what it is, and what it intends to achieve for the economy of the country.
“Our aim is to find one common understanding of what radical economic transformation means and entails. We will then develop a policy document that will serve as guiding document for all members,” Baloyi said.
“The current debate and discussion on radical economic transformation can only be useful if we all sing on the same hymn sheet by steering away from different definitions, polemics and rhetoric.”
Baloyi urged participants at the summit to find meaningful and practical solutions on how to implement, and leave to politicians the rhetoric of, radical economic transformation.
She said some black entrepreneurs were still facing “stumbling blocks”, especially from government institutions when trying to enter the markets, saying that they have identified these institutions and will be approaching them for talks.
“Make sure that you come with strategies that will enable us to find meaningful solutions to further this dialogue,” Baloyi said.
“Radical economic transformation is an imperative. Let us be honest about the state of our economy, about what we think we can change and what can work.”