President Jacob Zuma has rejected assertions that radical economic transformation is not a bona fide policy of the ANC but rather a campaign slogan crafted elsewhere as incorrect and patronising.
Addressing delegates of the Energy Indaba in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Thursday, Zuma hit out at critics claimed that British public relations firm Bell Pottinger had come up with the term as part of a campaign launched while conducting business for the Gupta family.
“The ANC adopted radical socio-economic transformation as its policy at the 53rd national conference in Mangaung in 2012 and it automatically became government policy,” Zuma said.
“The ANC has defined radical economic transformation as referring to fundamental change in 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.”
Radical economic transformation has been a hotly contested construct in South Africa throughout 2017 with the disgraced UK PR firm often credited with inventing the term.
Its chief executive James Henderson resigned ahead of the release of an independent report which found the company guilty of stoking racial tension in the country.
However, Bell Pottinger has never taken credit for inventing the term.
In September, a storm brewed when South Africa’s richest man Johann Rupert labelled the phrase as nothing more than a code word for theft.
Rupert’s words were met with fierce condemnation from the ANC in particular and presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, among others.
Meanwhile, Zuma told delegates of the conference that transformation within the energy sector was important to ensure long-term sustainability.
“Together, we need to broaden the ownership, management and control of the economy so that we can build a more sustainable future. We invite local and foreign investors in the energy sector to ensure that their investments promote the participation of black people.”
The president said ongoing discussions were taking place in order to fast-track the implementation of the black industrialist programme, which could contribute to the sector.