Economic transformation can't be achieved through 'sweet talk' - Malema

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EFF leader Julius Malema.
EFF leader Julius Malema.
Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images

EFF leader Julius Malema has urged black business to disrupt the country's economy in a bid to make it more inclusive.

"You will never transform it if you are going to sweet talk the status quo," he said.  He was speaking as part of a panel of political leaders at the 2020 Black Business Council Summit in Johannesburg on Thursday. 

"I am happy I'm speaking to black elites here. When you renovate a house there is a disruption," Malema said to applause.

READ | EFF condemns 'opportunistic' media coverage of Malema's stayed arrest warrant

The EFF leader raised concerns around the country's economy, the manufacturing industry, the insurance sector, agriculture and the state of the country's public enterprises.

"We have a problem of manufacturing in South Africa, and everyone is told there is manufacturing in South Africa. It's actually not manufacturing, it's assembling," said Malema.

He said vehicles were produced and created jobs in their respective countries, and then brought to South Africa to be assembled.

Few resources

Describing the country's majority as just spectators in agricultural spaces, Malema said black people didn't have the necessary resources to compete with their white counterparts.

Malema, who often drew applause from the crowd, said black South Africans were capable of land ownership in this country.

"There should be no investor who must suspect us on the basis of the colour of our skin. If you use the colour of the skin when deciding to invest or not, then you are a racist investor who has no place in South Africa," he said.

"Then we would rather swim in the recession." 

Malema was joined by numerous other politicians, including the UDM's Bantu Holomisa, as they debated socio-economic transformation and inclusive growth at the summit.

Holomisa said there was more the government could do to level the playing field, especially with regard to education.

Addressing the country's transition from apartheid to democracy, Holomisa said Bachelor of Arts faculties had been filled to the brim, which he said was strategic at that time, as it spoke to what needed to be achieved.

He, however, lamented that commerce and economic classes remained empty.

Skilled workforce

He said it was important to look back because, once democracy had been attained, it was clear that important institutions, government and the private sector would need a qualified and skilled workforce to fill the jobs.

"Nobody doubts that over the last 25 years we have been consumers only," said Holomisa.

“We need to find the ingredients to bake a bigger economic cake so that everyone not only gets a fair share, but that they also contribute to an inclusive, healthy, stable and growing economy."

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