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Zuma: It's time for economic freedom

Apr 09 2015 16:03
Ockert de Villiers, News24

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has told delegates at the South Africa-Zimbabwe business forum in Pretoria that it is time to bring about economic freedom in both countries.

“We are now free, we are skilled, so why can’t we change Africa?” Zuma asked towards the latter part of his speech.

“To me the struggle to liberate ourselves economically is a good struggle and we should be as angry as we were when we were liberating ourselves. We were prepared for anything in order to liberate ourselves politically, I think we should do the same (economically); it is urgent, it is important, it is correct.

“We should not be shy to use our political power to economically empower ourselves.”

He addressed the forum ahead of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's two-day state visit to South Africa, his first to the country since 1994.

Zuma said for this to take place the country should not be sentimental about its definition of democracy, and it is up to those in power to liberate themselves.

‘Beneficiation’

Referring to Steve Biko’s slogan “Black man, you are on your own”, Zuma said that if those in power did not yield political power it would be used against them.

“This is why this issue of beneficiation is absolutely crucial, we have parliament to make the laws and in other countries when you are in the majority they use that,” Zuma said.

“You can’t say that in democracy it is the rule of the majority and don’t use it and it looks like you are in the minority.”

Zuma said the leaders should not be shy to take decisions to change the lives of the people, despite being called names.

He said history had put black people in situations of poverty and they were trying to get out of that position through constitutional means.

Black ownership

Zuma reiterated his assertion that black ownership of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange stands at only 3%, to demonstrate his point that the economy remains untransformed.

“They thought the economy was changing because they had shares and indeed they look different, but they were not owning and controlling the economy,” he said.

“We must own and control the economy. For that we must not be shy because it will help the black people for the first time to benefit properly.”

He said it is crucial that beneficiation and industrialisation should not be superficial, but that they should change the lives of the black majority.

“To know that from our political point of view we are very clear, because what we’ve said as policies and programmes you should put it into practice,” Zuma said, referring to businessmen from both countries.

jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  beneficiation  |  sa economy
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