'There is no such thing as radical economic transformation' - Mathews Phosa

Matthews Phosa (Netwerk24)
Matthews Phosa (Netwerk24)

Cape Town - There is no such thing a radical economic transformation, ANC presidential candidate Mathews Phosa has told the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut (Afrikaans Trade Institute).

Phosa was delivering the keynote address at the institute's indaba for small and medium enterprises in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Phosa, a former president of the institute, started his address in Afrikaans.

Switching to English, he said: "Let me start with that phrase that the Guptas paid for and that Bell Pottinger cynically created: Radical economic transformation.

"Before I go there, just one remark. Those two are ideal bed-mates who belong together, just not in South Africa. They can take their deeply divisive racist phrases and money elsewhere. I, for one, would be happy to see them go at the first opportunity.

"There is no such thing as radical economic transformation. Many countries and politicians have tried to change the natural dynamics of the economy, all of them have failed."

He said government must create non-divisive interventions, in partnership with business and labour, that addressed the exclusion of black entrepreneurs from the mainstream economy.

'ANC has a chance in December'

"An apartheid economy cannot be replaced with an imperfect theoretical economy, where a growing number of corrupt politicians and illegal immigrants collude to destroy our resource rich economy," he said.

"It is for that reason that I am opposed to the revised mining charter that was thrown into our laps without the necessary, legally prescribed consultative process. It could, of course, be that that so-called charter was written in Dubai, and on a fully sponsored visit."

Phosa said he preferred an economy that followed a vision of growth, entrepreneurship, intensified economic education, and funds available for business expansion for those previously excluded.

"But, most importantly, an economy that belongs to all who live in South Africa."

In his vision of a "one economy scenario", the president and Cabinet ministers would stop making unrealistic populist announcements, work hand in hand with their economic partners - black and white - and "throw in jail those politicians and businessmen and women who steal and plunder government tenders, and corrupt leaders of state-owned enterprises".

"The ANC has a chance in December this year to part with a leadership that has forgotten who elected them and that their job is to fight poverty through the mechanism of a vibrant and strong economy," said Phosa.

'Criminally neglected their duty'

"I unashamedly call on my party to elect leaders who do not stuff their pockets full of dirty money, but those - and they are still there in our party - who understand that we should be servants of those who look to us for bread on their table and a roof over their heads."

He said the ANC's current leadership had "criminally neglected their duty to uplift the living standards of the poorest of the poor".

"Democracy must now do what it does best, and that is to evict those who have outstayed their welcome, and elect new, honest incumbents of our countries’ highest offices."

He said the shocking state of the ANC was illustrated by the fight between the party leadership and its parliamentary caucus to ensure that ANC MPs don't vote with their conscience on the upcoming motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.

"Muzzling members and stifling free speech is the original political sin and far, far removed from ANC culture. It is a sure way to deepen the divisions in the party and pave the way for future split."

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