Ramaphosa calls for new deal on radical economic transformation

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the acceleration of radical economic transformation in South Africa needs a bold new deal to fight poverty, unemployment and equality

“Poverty, unemployment and inequality continue as defining features of our society. In the face of poverty, unemployment and inequality continues to be black. The struggle to ensure that all South Africans share in the country’s wealth must therefore stand at the centre of our national agenda,” Ramaphosa said.

“This is why we need to do something new, something bold, to strike a ‘new deal’ among all stakeholders that are committed to accelerating radical economic transformation. This should be a new deal that has a clear action plan with defined timeframes and a clear set of enabling conditions.”

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Speaking at the ANC Johannesburg region’s economic colloquium in Orlando East, Soweto, Ramaphosa said that after 23 years of democracy, it should be acknowledged that not all South Africans have reaped economic dividends.

He said South Africa’s economy and society needed to be transformed. He said that there were structural features of the South African economy that needed to be radically transformed.

“It is a fact that the democratic state inherited a broken, deformed, unequal and unjust economy. The economy we inherited was in crisis and near collapse. It was an economy that was designed under colonialism and apartheid to serve the needs of the white minority, and to deliberately exclude over 80% of the population,” he said.

He said that places like Soweto — which were neglected during apartheid — are where the future of the South African economy lies.

“It is in places like Soweto that the radical economic transformation of our country will take place and where its effects will most keenly be felt. It is the people living in townships, informal settlements and rural towns and villages who will occupy the new jobs that growth and transformation will bring, and whose families will benefit from rising standards of living,” he said.

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“It is in these areas that young and black entrepreneurs will emerge, new businesses will be established, new factories must be opened, new social infrastructure developed and where new technological innovations will emerge. If this is not the face and the future of our economy, then our economy has no future.”

Ramaphosa said places like Sandton may be where shares were traded, deals were signed and new corporate headquarters were established, but places like Soweto and the villages are where the ANC’s programme of social and economic transformation should be implemented.

He said South Africa was engaged in the struggle for the economic emancipation of South Africans and that the true objective of the Freedom Charter was to “free our people from the bondage of economic oppression and exploitation”.

– African News Agency