Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has described the transformation of the economy as “the most difficult challenge of our time”.
He was addressing members of the Black Business Council at a gala dinner in Johannesburg last night.
Quoting statistics released recently by Oxfam SA‚ which showed that the three richest people in South Africa owned as much wealth as the bottom 28 million people‚ Gigaba said the transformation of the economy was an urgent and unavoidable matter that the country needed to deal with.
“Our inability to transform the economy has left the poor vulnerable to economic shocks‚” he said.
“We have much to do‚ so let’s avoid distractions and let’s find common ground.”
Gigaba called on people to “internalise the mindset that growing black business is good for South Africa”.
He said more needed to be done to involve women and the youth in economic transformation.
The minister said achieving economic transformation would require sound policies and the willingness of business.
Gigaba also thanked former Treasury director-general Lungisa Fuzile for the professional manner in which he ensured the smooth transition to his replacement‚ Dondo Mogajane.
Fuzile served the last day of his notice period yesterday.
Earlier, Gigaba was described as a battle-tested‚ highly qualified and dynamic leader at the dinner.
These were the words of Philisiwe Mthethwa‚ the National Empowerment Fund’s chief executive ahead of the minister’s address to the dinner.
Mthethwa said she believed Gigaba was qualified to lead the ministry and address some of the shortcomings in the financial sector.