Cape Town – South Africa’s radical economic transformation vision as articulated by President Jacob Zuma in his 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) is not just empty rhetoric, but a rigorous step towards building a prosperous country in which the Black majority will own the biggest part of the economy.
With these words Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency, started the debate on the SONA during a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.
Radebe said the SONA’s strong focus on radical economic transformation was appropriate and poignant and the plans introduced will add meaningful value to the lives of ordinary South Africans. “The ANC therefore lends its overwhelming support to this year’s SONA,” he said.
In his speech, Radebe reiterated most of the points Zuma had raised in his address on Thursday, such as the gross inequality in the ownership patterns in the economy, household income differences between white and black households and the fact that only 10% of the top 100 companies on the JSE is owned by black South Africans.
Radical economic transformation, Radebe said, will be realised through the “strategic levers” available to the state, such as black economic empowerment (BEE) codes, legislation and the budget.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane in his speech questioned Zuma’s silence about South Africa’s nuclear build programme.
In his address, Zuma steered clear from any detail on the nuclear plan although Eskom has gone ahead with issuing requests for proposal.
“We all know the president is forging ahead with a nuclear programme that will bankrupt this country,” Maimane said.
He criticised Zuma’s plans for economic transformation, saying such policies will lead South Africa down the same path as Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
“Your plans have been tried and tested and they failed everywhere,” Maimane said.
Maimane outlined the DA’s proposals for setting the economy on a growth trajectory, such as partly privatising state-owned enterprises and setting up a fund for entrepreneurs as was done successfully in other jurisdictions. Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:
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