‘Don’t be apologetic about transformation’

Black people should not be apologetic about seeking economic emancipation, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said yesterday.

“If there is anything to learn from the Afrikaners, it is how to be relentless in pursuing the economic interests of our people,” he said.

“We need not be apologetic about it.”

Gigaba was speaking at a Progressive Youth in Business (PYB) breakfast at the East London Golf Club yesterday.

He said the government had not been able to resolve black economic exclusion.

Black people had to see the benefit of having the current government in place, he said.

“The public procurement process remains vital to promote radical socioeconomic transformation,” Gigaba said.

“Government must continue to create conditions, using procurement leverage, to nurture black businesses.”

He said the government could have changed the face of manufacturing in the country if it used the fleet locomotive procurement at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and Transnet to advance black businesses.

“We did not achieve what we could have achieved for black people out of it,” he said. “We need to ensure our procurement policies are aimed at creating black entrepreneurs.”

The minister said the radical socioeconomic transformation programme should be implemented so “we stop explaining why we need to empower black people in a black country in Africa”.

Gigaba said people did not try enough to understand the radical socioeconomic transformation programme. All that had been done so far was give a high-school definition of the programme.

“We need to go deeper. If we don’t go deeper we will look back after 10 years and ask ourselves ‘where did we go wrong’,” he said.

Gigaba said that at the heart of radical socioeconomic transformation was the changing of the structures of the economy, the systems and institutions.

“The way the apartheid economic structure is designed is to deprive black people of skills and will not make South Africa prosperous,” he said.

Meanwhile, provincial Treasury MEC Sakhumzi Somyo said the government only had 35% of the R74-billion budget to spend on business as 65% went towards Bhisho’s salary bill.

He urged business to partner with the government to create employment as the government could not achieve goals alone.

PYB provincial chairwoman Buhle Tonise said the youth possessed skills, energy and expertise to grow and develop the economy.

She said the country was sitting on a ticking time bomb of unrest if the majority, the youth, was neglected.

ANC provincial treasurer Babalo Madikizela said the party had identified four priorities to place the economy on the right trajectory – deepen transformation, consolidate gains of democracy, fight corruption and build unity.

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