Maponya advises Ramaphosa to put in place new cabinet

The owner of Maponya Mall in Soweto Richard Maponya has hailed former president Jacob Zuma's promotion of radical economic transformation.
The owner of Maponya Mall in Soweto Richard Maponya has hailed former president Jacob Zuma's promotion of radical economic transformation.

Richard Maponya, the grandfather of black business, has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to overhaul his cabinet if he wants to be successful in leading the country.

Speaking during an interview with Sunday World this week, Maponya said that if Ramaphosa fails to root out cabinet ministers linked to former president Jacob Zuma's controversial family friends, the Guptas, this would spell the president's downfall.

"I think, if at all he has to succeed, Cyril must do a very big reshuffle because if he doesn't, he will only talk and nothing is going to happen," said Maponya.

"There are a lot of problems [in government] and if he doesn't do a reshuffle, he is going to just burn out. He will shout and want to make things happen, and they will not happen, as some of the ministers are involved with the Guptas and so on. You can never succeed with people involved in that kind of scandal," warned the nonagenarian.

He, however, expressed optimism, saying Ramaphosa was succeeding in bringing in a new spirit of unity that could revive the ANC and make the party stronger again.

Maponya added that last week's recall of Zuma will not impact negatively on the ANC.

"I think he did a good thing by retiring," Maponya said, warning, however, that the recalling of presidents could become a bad culture for the ANC.

"It is totally unacceptable that we must be removing presidents before they finish their terms."

Maponya hailed Zuma's promotion of radical economic transformation. "If radical economic transformation is going to happen, I think that's something that would definitely empower black businesses."

He bemoaned how big business has failed to play its part in transforming the economy.

"Corporate South Africa has dug in its feet. They are in control of the purse strings of the country and that's the most powerful area which [black people] haven't succeeded in achieving. They're in control of the economy and they're going to be in control of the economy for a very long time because they're still in control of the purse strings of the country," he said, adding that the stock exchange was dominated by established companies.

He called for black people to support black business if they wanted to prosper. Maponya advised Ramaphosa to prioritise unifying the ANC.

"He must put together a cabinet that will say 'my country and my people first', before themselves. If he can succeed in bringing together a cabinet that has that kind of spirit, I think we are going to achieve [desired economic growth levels and reduce unemployment]." he said.

"The saddest thing about this country is [that] the majority of people of this country who are unemployed are the young people, who are our future. [When] you see youngsters graduating from tertiary institutions and still having no employment and loitering around the streets, then you see a real danger."

The owner of Maponya Mall in Soweto said Ramaphosa should also focus on transforming the economy.

"In that sector, apartheid is not dead . apartheid still applies because there are certain areas where [white people] don't want to let go; this is their secret. We shall have to work hard to overcome [the economic apartheid]."

Maponya said Ramaphosa should be given enough time to settle down before he could be judged on how his presidency is going to benefit black business.

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