South African President Jacob Zuma vowed on Wednesday to enhance the level of black ownership in the private sector by utilizing all the levers of power at disposal.
This will entail deploying the regulatory power of the state as well as targeted incentives to induce appropriate change, Zuma said in Cape Town on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the National Development Plan (NDP).
South Africa wants an economy where all its citizens call share in the country’s wealth, Zuma said.
One key area in which the long shadow of apartheid has not fully retreated is the economy, said Zuma.
There can be no prosperity for some while the majority languishes in poverty, he added.
“We have created a relatively large black middle class which is actively involved in the economic life of our nation. However, this achievement has not fundamentally transformed the structure and ownership patterns of the economy,” Zuma said.
Given that approximately 75 percent of the economy is in the hands of the private sector, Zuma urged both the government and the private sector to commit themselves to fundamental change.
“The fruits of the economic growth that we have experienced since the advent of our freedom in 1994 have tended to be enjoyed by a few,” said Zuma.
He stressed the need to fundamentally change the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.
“We will use the budget to pursue the goal of inclusive economic growth,” said Zuma.
The South African cabinet has directed the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to work with the Economic Cluster of government departments to ensure that there is alignment between the priorities in the NDP and the budget.
This is an important step because the NDP will remain an empty promise as long as its noble goals are not matched with budget commitments, Zuma said.
The NDP covers a wide variety of areas, from the economy to security, from strengthening the capacity of the state to reducing the high levels of crime and corruption.
The blueprint envisages where South Africa should be in 2030.
The vision as contained in the NDP is for a South Africa in which those who seek employment will be employed, the youth will have access to quality education, citizens will live healthy, long lives, with no fear of criminals, and the economy grows responsively to the demands of a fast changing world and does not only benefit the few.
“We are building a country with a capable state that supports citizens to fulfill their dreams and freely express their talents,” Zuma said.