South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday vowed to achieve economic transformation characterized by more factories and other means of production being owned by black people.
“We wanted to see more factories and other means of production being owned by black people for us to be able to say we are achieving economic transformation,” Zuma said in opening remarks at the inaugural Black Industrialists Indaba in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.
The need for black industrialists in the economy is not aimed at creating racism but rather at ridding the country of it, said Zuma.
“You don’t need to be shy about it. It is not racism in reverse, it is in fact uprooting and getting rid of racism.”
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has made its mission to achieve radical socioeconomic transformation, Zuma said.
“The next few years will thus be geared towards more visible action to achieve our goals.”
These goals include the creation of decent employment for all South Africans and elimination of poverty and extreme inequalities in the society.
The ANC approaches economic transformation guided democratizing the ownership and control of the economy by empowering the historically oppressed, Africans and the working class in particular to play a leading role in decision-making, according to Zuma.
The policies are thus designed to reverse these challenges which result from the apartheid colonialism past, he said.
“Fundamental to our economic transformation programme in particular, is the need to broaden the ownership, control and management of the economy. The Black Industrialists Programme falls within this policy framework.”
The programme was launched in August 2014, with the aim to achieve the development of 100 black industrialists over three years.
Zuma mentioned the successes gained through the broad-based black economic empowerment legislative framework so far.
But despite the much celebrated gains, there are still segments of the economy that experience major challenges, he said.
This is evidenced by the low participation of black people in critical economic spheres.
“As we noted previously, black people still own 3 percent of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which points to the need to accelerate economic transformation.”
It has become necessary to identify a customized programme that will ensure that black owned companies also participate in key sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, as per the industrial policy action plan, Zuma said.
“We believe that the black industrialist policy framework is the right formula to transform the industrial landscape.”
The policy will enable the necessary support mechanisms and financial products for black-owned businesses in stimulating rapid industrialization. Enditem