South Africa’s economy remains racially structured, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
Welcoming members of the second presidential black economic empowerment council at Tuynhuys, Cape Town, he told them they needed to tackle this historical legacy because it was hampering transformation.
“The structure of our economy remains racial… As you work in this council you don’t have to look away from these realities.”
The previous council’s five-year term ended in November.
Zuma told the inaugural meeting of the new one that among the key interventions it needed to make was dealing with historical issues hindering economic transformation, such as the public procurement policy.
Further, there had to be measures and programmes for government to support business, in particular black business.
Zuma called for the movement of industry and big retail outlets towards and around areas such as Soweto, outside Johannesburg, and Langa outside Cape Town.
He also called for a “faster pace” in transforming the country’s economy.
“No angels are going to fly from heaven to come and help… it’s us. Even those who are Christians can tell you that God helps those who help themselves,” he said to laughter from the council members.
Zuma told them they needed to ensure that the B-BBEE framework continued to attract foreign investment through the equity equivalent investment programme.
The council includes four of Zuma’s Cabinet ministers — Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies; Minister in the Presidency Susan Shabangu; Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant; and, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.
The council’s primary functions includes advising government on, and reviewing progress towards achieving B-BBEE.