African National Congress (ANC) President Cyril Ramaphosa has said the party’s radical economic transformation (RET) programme is not a “populist narrative to plunder the economy.”
Ramaphosa was delivering the ANC’s Worker’s Day message in a virtual address on Friday.
He said, “The ANC’s 54th national conference was correct to direct us towards a trajectory of radical economic transformation. We are called upon to consider unorthodox ways of reviving our economy.”
Economic recovery programme
The President added, “Radical economic transformation is not some populist narrative to plunder the economy, but it is about waking up to the realities facing our country.”
Ramaphosa said South Africa should emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a more humane society and an inclusive, equitable economy.
He explained, “Labour, business and civil society must join with government in a new social compact for national reconstruction. We need to put in place a comprehensive and far-reaching economic recovery programme that does not merely return our economy to where it was before the pandemic.
“It needs to produce a new transformed economy, a more inclusive economy, and a more people-centred economy that focuses on social outcomes.”
Worker participation and ownership
Such an economy must prioritise worker participation and ownership as well as gender inclusion in all sectors, the President said.
RET has often been associated with the ANC faction reportedly led by Secretary-General Ace Magashule and former President Jacob Zuma.
Some leaders aligned to this faction have been dogged by allegations of corruption and state capture. One of them, member of Parliament Bongani Bongo, has been charged with alleged attempted bribery following claims that he tried to derail a parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom in 2017.
In February, ANC National Executive Committee member Ronald Lamola accused some RET proponents of using the programme as cover for “looting.”
He said, “These thieves that have stolen money now they want to claim that they are RET and they are forces that are supposed to serve our people.
“This RET that they talk about, which is a clear ANC resolution which President Ramaphosa is committed to, is not the one that you think is the resolution. Their RET was the one of looting state resources. It was benefitting them.”