9 November 2017

South Africa: Radical Economic Transformation Arose From the ANC - Zuma

Photo: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma delivering his Annual Address to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in the Old Assembly Chambers at Parliament in Cape Town.

President Jacob Zuma was adamant on Thursday that the concept of and terminology around radical economic transformation did not originate "outside the country".

Zuma told the National Council of Provinces that radical economic transformation was firm African National Congress policy, despite only introducing the term at this year's State of the Nation Address.

"Let me emphasise that radical economic transformation is government policy and arises from the African National Congress, and not from outside the country as many rumour mongers claim," Zuma told MPs.

He said his government was accused of "all sorts of things" by people who refused to "face the reality" that radical economic transformation was critical for inclusive growth.

"In any country, the majority of the population must play a key role in the economy. In South Africa, this has not happened due to the legacy of apartheid that many still choose to deny."

The term "white monopoly capital" was earlier this year proved to have been developed by United Kingdom public relations firm Bell Pottinger.

Zuma though said his party accepted the need to put the economy at the centre of government policy at its 2012 Mangaung conference.

It was therefore "not just rhetoric, it is about changing the status quo in order to promote growth, expansion and sustainability in our economy".

New Eskom board 'coming soon'

Zuma was speaking on the occasion of the House's annual address from the president under the theme "Deepening Unity for Inclusive Growth".

He was heckled by opposition MPs at different points in his speech.

Progress was being made in "improving the governance of state-owned enterprises", so that they no longer rely on government bailouts.

"We have a new board at the South African Airways and the SABC and a new board will be appointed for Eskom soon."

Zuma also took the opportunity to praise his government's attempts to assist the poor.

"Over 2.6 million beneficiaries receive potable water, electricity and free basic sewerage and sanitation. Free basic refuse removal is provided to over 2.4 million households.

"A home to call one's own is very important for any human being."

"Like Nkandla?" an opposition MP quipped.

High debt levels, low revenues

Zuma said he had established a presidential fiscal committee to prepare for last week's Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, delivered by Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba.

The small team wanted to find ways of meeting fiscal targets in a difficult climate of "high debt levels and lower revenues".

The government had created a wide network of social services, such as social grants, subsidised healthcare and free basic education for the poor, Zuma said.

"This is designed to support our people and withstand the difficult economic climate and legacy of apartheid which has created a huge gap between the rich -," he said before he was interrupted by an MP, who yelled: "The Guptas?"

"....and the poor, the haves and the have nots," Zuma finished.

"You mean you and the have nots," one last quip came.

Ultimately, to totally lift the poor out of poverty, his party and government had to ensure an inclusive economy, and not just political freedom.

Zuma also called on the nation to embrace reconciliation and to work towards nation-building.

Source: News24

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