ANC must explain RET, says Gigaba
FINANCE Minister and ANC national executive committee member Malusi Gigaba has admitted that the governing party has been found wanting in explaining its radical economic transformation (RET) policy.
Addressing a breakfast briefing organised by Progressive Youth in Business in East London yesterday, Gigaba said the ANC had only been able to give a “high school definition” of the policy.
“We talk about it, but if you ask two people what it means, you are likely to get two different answers. We have done little beyond giving RET a high school definition up to the conference,” he noted.
Gigaba said business people only understood RET to mean black economic empowerment, while others had their own understanding.
He said this would create problems as it would be difficult for the ANC to ensure effective implementation of the policy.
“If our understanding cannot go deeper, we are going to commit fundamental mistakes.
“After 10 years we will be looking back, wondering where did we go wrong”
He said while the overwhelming support for RET was commendable, it was wrong that it hadn’t been given a clear meaning for all to understand and help implement.
“When we engaged in the Struggle we did far better to theorise the Struggle in which we were involved to overthrow the system of white supremacy than we are doing now.
“If you talk to people, some will say RET means occupy all vacant land and others will say it means BEE, which is a minimalist approach,” Gigaba said.
The briefing was organised as part of activities leading up to the ANC’s 106th anniversary celebrations, which will take place tomorrow at the Buffalo City Stadium, where party president Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the January 8 Statement.
Gigaba was accompanied by Eastern Cape Economic Development MEC Sakhumzi Somyo.
Ahead of last month’s ANC national elective conference, Ramaphosa and former AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma both endorsed RET but gave it distinctive meanings.
While Ramaphosa focused on shared economic growth and fighting corruption, Dlamini Zuma focused on radical change of ownership patterns of the economy, including expropriation of land without compensation.
Gigaba said the governing party had an urgent task of providing a better and more elaborate understanding of RET to help South Africans assist in its proper implementation in whichever sector of society they belonged to.
He called on young business people to stop expecting to benefit from RET but to contribute to its creation. “This means that you must move beyond breakfasts and gala dinners. You must roll up your sleeves.
“You must not absolve yourselves from developing ideas; you belong right in that realm where ideas are developed.”