Transforming the economy should be a priority for the government and its social partners as it tries to take the country into a recovery path from the Covid-19 pandemic.
This was the echoing sentiments among the first speakers at the Black Business Council (BBC) summit held in Bryanston, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.
The summit is discussing the vital role that black business can play in the reconstruction and recovery path of SA’s economy following a slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Setting the tone for the discussions, BBC president Sandile Zungu said legislation such as the broad-based black economic empowerment have not been able to transform the country’s economy.
“The commanding heights of the economy – banks and mines – are still in minority white hands. Black South Africans have only been accommodated to not more than 30% at best," Zungu said.
“What has happened… has been a corporate restructuring by mainly white-owned companies to accommodate a few black South Africans as co-owners of their entities. We need economic restructuring not corporate restructuring which has failed. We need a plan to transfer at least 70% ownership and management of the economy into black hands by 2030,” Zungu said.
The government released its economic recovery plan last year which includes expanding energy generation, creating jobs and driving industrial growth. The plan has to implemented simultaneously with the Covid-19 response which at this stage is about getting South Africans vaccinated.
Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane echoed Zungu sentiments, saying the recovery path that the country will be taking will ensure work towards transforming the economy.
“South African business sector has to reflect the diversity, equity and inclusion proportionate with the racial composition of our society. Because of our history, transformation as envisaged in our constitution is an absolute necessity. It is incumbent upon South Africans, black and white, to embrace the necessity for transformation,” Kubayi-Ngubane said.