PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma on Thursday glided through the Parliamentary session where he was responding to the debate on his budget vote.
He told MP’s that the National Development Plan (NDP) remained a government objective that all departments had to implement and that socio-economic transformation was necessary. He added that it was a decision taken by the ANC during its 2012 elective conference in Mangaung where he was re-elected for a second term.
“We met under the theme, Unity in Action towards Socio-Economic Freedom. A key resolution of that conference was that the second phase of our transition from Apartheid colonialism to a National Democratic Society would be characterised by more radical policies and decisive action to effect socio-economic and continue the democratic
transformation. We put practical meaning to this programme this year in the January 8 statement of the ANC with a direct call for radical socio-economic transformation in general and broadly, and an added emphasis on radical economic transformation,” he said.
Zuma added that they identified economic growth, accelerated radical socio-economic transformation, land reform and redistribution, the funding of higher education, fighting crime and corruption as well as building the capacity of the state as the key priorities of the ANC in the current year, which automatically makes them key priorities of
He delved deeper into how the ANC understood radical economic transformation. He said the ANC said it referred to “a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female”.
“Let me emphasise that while economic emancipation is an imperative, our approach is much broader and seeks socio-economic transformation, covering both the social and economic aspects. The economic component of our programme has gained popularity in the public domain, and is now known as RET,” he said.
Zuma said it would be impossible to achieve the transformation being sought when the majority is excluded. He reiterated his message from the State of the Nation Address that only 10% of the top 100 companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are owned by black South Africans, directly-achieved principally, through the black empowerment codes, according to the National Empowerment Fund.
“With regards to management, the 17th Employment Equity Report released last month once again pointed to the painfully slow pace of Transformation in the South African Labour Market. Sixty-eight point five (68,5) percent of the top management positions are occupied by the White group. Africans are at 14,4%; Indians 8,9%; Coloureds 4,9% and Foreign Nationals 3,4%. Fifty-eight (58) percent of the positions in senior management are occupied by the White group; Africans 22,1%; Indian 10,6%; Coloured 7,7% and foreign nationals 1,4%,” he said.
Zuma assured the MPs and South Africans that in the pursuit of radical economic transformation, the country would not follow in the footsteps of neighbouring Zimbabwe where farms were forcefully taken from whites, resulting in the collapse of the economy.
He said government would use the Nine Point Plan to attain and achieve its goal. The Nine Point Plan encompasses the levers that the government is using to ignite growth and the sectors they believe can achieve meaningful economic transformation.
“These areas include energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, water, tourism, the ocean economy, SMME development, mining, agriculture and the Industrial Policy Action Plan. Therefore, the Nine Point Plan is our instrument that we are using to achieve radical socio-economic transformation,” he said.
Zuma briefly touched on the issue of State Capture. The ANC has called for a judicial commission of inquiry into the matter during its last National Executive Committee meeting. The party said it was important to assist those fingered to clear their names.
Zuma is among those accused of being an integral part of the capture of state organs by the business sector, particularly the Gupta family.
“Honourable Khubisa and Honourable Swart, we agree with you that there should be an inquiry into the said state capture by the business community,” he said.