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Gigaba: Drastic measures needed to grow SA’s economy

The Finance Minister says that the legacy of apartheid persists in the economy and it’s up to both government and business to change this.

Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba poses for some pictures at breakfast at the ANC NPC at Nasrec. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says that drastic measures are needed to grow the economy.

Gigaba is addressing members of the business community at the African National Congress (ANC)’s national policy conference business breakfast.

The Finance Minister says that the legacy of apartheid persists in the economy and it’s up to both government and business to change this.

“Over the last five years, we’ve been growing at under 2%. This level of growth is clearly insufficient. We’re underperforming and barely scratching the surface of our economy.”

The minister says that radical economic transformation is the ANC's way of going back to its founding principles and is not for the benefit of a select few.

He says that its true meaning has been distorted.

"An attempt to steer the nation back towards its revolutionary roots and perspectives, to recapture its fundamental essence of the historical mandate of the post-colonial government."

The minister says that the development of the township economy is a prime example of what he means when he speaks of radical economic transformation.

"Should the main business of Soweto, Umlaas, Inanda, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Athlone, Chatsworth... be spaza shops, car washes, hair salons? Could we not do more?"

The minister says that the private sector shouldn't see transformation as a problem, as it would lead to economic gains for the country as a whole.

Gigaba again called for the independence of the Reserve Bank to be respected.

“Those recommendations should have been directed at the Finance Minister for action. Obviously, legal processes relating to the Public Protector’s report are in progress and will unfold.”

Last week, Public Protector Busiswe Mkhwebane said that the bank had failed in its duties to protect the public by not ensuring that Absa bank repaid an apartheid-era bailout given to failed bank Bankorp.

But she also said the mandate of the bank's monetary policy should change and that it should no longer focus on protecting the value of the currency.

The Reserve Bank now says it believes that her remedial action is unlawful and out of the scope of her powers and that it will challenge the findings in court.

The matter relates to funds misappropriated during the apartheid era and given as a lifeboat to Bankorp, which was later purchased by Absa bank.

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