JOHANNESBURG- Outgoing ANC President Jacob Zuma has warned party members that to prepare themselves for a backlash when they push for Radical Economic Transformation as those currently benefiting won’t want to relinquish their share of the cake.
“We must be mindful of the fact that the primary beneficiaries of the current socio-economic status quo will by nature be opposed to any talk of radical economic transformation because it challenges and threatens the status quo and seeks to transform it fundamentally,” he said in his last political report.
Despite the pushback, Zuma called on delegates and the new leadership that will be elected to act decisively to ensure they deal with the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. He, however, warned against making reckless decisions in the pursuit of RET.
He said the new leadership should be mindful of the projected slow growth of the economy.
“On the other hand, reckless action will plunge the country into deep economic and social distress. We must tread carefully but act, because of the serious economic challenges facing our country currently. The economy remains fragile. Economic growth of one point three percent is projected for 2017, reaching two percent by 2019, supported by global growth, stabilising commodity prices and a modest recovery in business and consumer confidence. Improved policy implementation, which must be a key focus area in this conference, will improve the employment and investment outcomes,” he said.
Zuma reminded delegates that at the 52nd national conference in Polokwane, the ANC called for a mixed economy, where the state, private capital, cooperative and other forms of social ownership complement each other in an integrated way to eliminate poverty and foster shared economic growth. He said conference directed that the state must play a central and strategic role, by directly investing in underdeveloped areas and directing private sector investment.
RET is the ruling party’s way of trying to involve more black people in the control of the economy which has remained in predominantly white hands since the dawn of democracy. The party has been calling for the transformation of the economy it believes RET will be the key driver to achieving that.
“The ANC government has indeed been directed to utilise to the maximum, the strategic levers that are available to the state to achieve transformation. These include legislation, regulations, licensing, budget and procurement as well as Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Charters to influence the behaviour of the private sector and drive transformation. Conference will no doubt reflect on these and other instruments as we discuss the implementation,” he said.