Keynote address by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mandisi Mpahlwa
14 March 2005
ETC Workshop Report
Keynote address by Max Sisulu, Chairperson of the Economic Transformation Committee of the ANC
Cedar Park Conference Centre, Johannesburg, 5th February 2005
The ANC has declared 2005 the “Year of Popular Mobilisation to Advance the Vision of the Freedom Charter”. In our January 8th Statement we said that our task, the task of all progressive and democratic South Africans is to translate the ten clauses of the
Charter into solid progress towards the realisation of a better future. We said, “All the structures and cadres of our movement have the duty to honestly re-examine their work in the light of the Charter’s political, social, economic and moral vision.”
The people shall share in the country’s wealth!
With respect to the economy, the Charter demands “The People Shall Share in the Country’s Wealth”. This is the starting point for the ANCs approach to economic transformation in general, of which micro finance for poverty alleviation forms an important part.
The Charter claimed for all South Africans the restoration of their economic heritage because it rightly equated 300 years of colonialism and apartheid with a systematic campaign of dispossession, expropriation and confiscation of all forms of productive
wealth in the hands of Africans in particular and black people in general. The explicit intent of racial domination was to suppress any path to the accumulation of assets in order to consign black people to the status of permanent helots in a land of abundant wealth.
Fifty years have passed since the Congress of the People, but the economic conditions that the Charter calls on us to eradicate have not disappeared. Indeed, for four of those five decades, the campaign of dispossession was brutally intensified. The last remnants of African wealth were systematically expropriated; houses were demolished, families forcibly removed from the few remaining ‘black spots’ and black entrepreneurial endeavour ruthlessly crushed. Perhaps with foresight, the human engineers of
Apartheid also suppressed the accumulation of knowledge, information and education amongst black people. These are the very factors that have become the most important productive assets in the twenty first century economy.
This is the historical basis upon which our economy remains divided into two economies. By this we mean division between a First Economy, globally integrated and fast growing, and a Second Economy, which remains mired in poverty and underdevelopment and which is incapable of self-generating growth.
Inspired by the Freedom Charter, it is the vision of the democratic movement in South Africa to overcome this two-economy divide and create a united and integrated economic system, in which fragmentation and injustice are consigned to history. This,
we know, is the only sustainable basis on which we can build a genuinely non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and democratic South Africa.