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Gordhan: BBC must help renew economy

Mar 01 2012 15:07 Sapa
Johannesburg - The newly-established Black Business Council (BBC) must help create a new economic environment in South Africa, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Thursday.

The BBC "are now the people who have the responsibility... to create a completely new economic environment in the next two decades", he told the business lobby group at its launch in Midrand.

Gordhan called on the BBC to look at creating a new set of values for the way business is done in South Africa.

"How do we help to redefine it so that this capitalism has a human soul?" he asked.

"We need to put a soul... into what has become a heartless, ruthless capitalist system that... has little regard on its impact on workers.

"As the BBC, we need to lead a debate on what kind of soul do we want for the next 20 to 30 years."

This debate is taking place with capitalism in crisis worldwide.

Gordhan said those people who were marginalised under apartheid South Africa now have the responsibility to carry the country into the future.

Although what was happening in Europe is still a threat to South Africa's economy, there are opportunities in the country.

"The key for organisations like the BBC... is to look for the opportunities, not the problems... to look at what we can do to catalyse growth... not be paralysed by difficulties the globe may be presenting to us."

He also called on the private sector to play a role in South Africa's development and infrastructure projects.

"The time has also come for the private sector to come forward now and engage in meaningful dialogue with government to say these are the projects.... how can we work together."

Members of the audience represented the who's who of the black elite in South Africa, including billionaire and outgoing interim president of the BBC Patrice Motsepe, sports administrator Danny Jordaan, and businessman Vivian Reddy.

Also there were Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, and Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

In September, a black business summit decided to resurrect the BBC to unify black business.

The summit was convened after the Black Management Forum withdrew from Business Unity SA (Busa) in July.

It claimed Busa's structure is fundamentally flawed and that the voice of black business is "permanently outnumbered and suppressed".

Busa itself was formed in 2003 through a merger between the then BBC and Business SA.
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