President Jacob Zuma says the African National Congress (ANC) government isn’t apologetic about its controversial programme for radical economic transformation.
Responding to MPs’ debates on his State of the Nation Address (Sona), the president said the governing party had noted with “shock” statements from some opposition benches that the proposed economic policy would not succeed.
“We are shocked at statements from some in the opposition beaches that our radical economic transformation programme will not succeed because it has not succeeded anywhere else.
“…we are not going to be apologetic about that; it is part of the South African story, a historic fact. Radical socioeconomic transformation will help us to grow the economy in an inclusive manner, ensuring true reconciliation and prosperity,” Zuma said.
On Wednesday, Freedom Front Plus (FF+) MP Pieter Groenewald was scathing against the programme, saying it only sought to alienate white citizens in the country.
Groenewald called for government to put a moratorium on black economic empowerment and affirmative action policies in order to ignite economic growth and job creation.
Zuma said those against radical socioeconomic transformation were seeking to protect the status quo.
“That is a confirmation that some of our compatriots are determined to defend and protect the status quo and ensure that control and management of the economy remains skewed in favour of a racial minority.
“The fact that white households earn five times than black households cannot guarantee a sustainable and prosperous future for all.”
Zuma also acknowledged EFF MP Godrich Gardee, saying he agreed with him that socioeconomic transformation must not only be radical but should also be revolutionary, to loud applause from ANC benches.
“Socioeconomic transformation is not just political rhetoric; this is a serious programme and it will be implemented by government using the strategic levers that are available to the state.
“These include legislation, regulation, licensing, budget, and procurement, as well as broad-based black economic charters … it is a practical, implementable programme…”
Responding to Groenewald’s criticism that Zuma blamed white South Africans and used them “as a smokescreen to hide your own inability and incompetences”, Zuma said affirmative action policies don’t equate to hatred for white people.
“We are not going to stopped by you saying we hate whites. No, it’s not true. I’ve worked with the whites, the whites that were in the struggle, we worked with them in the trenches. They were my comrades. We lived together.”
— eNCA (@eNCA) February 16, 2017