President Jacob Zuma on Friday reiterated his call for black people to play a more meaningful role and be in control of economy.
Speaking after an all-day meeting with organised black professionals, black business representatives, and chief executives of state-owned companies, and various Cabinet ministers, Zuma said: “We have emphasised to them more than anything that as black professionals they have more [of a] role to play in the country. There was an observation made that in other countries the majority groups are in control of the economy. But this is not the case here,” Zuma said.
Last year, at the black industrialists’ conference in Midrand, Gauteng, Zuma said more factories should be owned by black people, because manufacturing was the least transformed sector of the economy.
“More factories must be owned by black people. It is not racism in reverse, it is eradicating racism,” Zuma was quoted as having said at the time.
On Friday, Zuma said one of the outcomes of the meeting was an agreement to establish a temporary small working group made up of government and business representatives to record and discuss the issues raised.
“Once this small group has concluded its work, we will recall this meeting again so that they report to us on how to take the resolutions forward. In the meantime, on the government side, we will be meeting with different organisations, dealing with specific issues sector by sector,” Zuma said.
National Association of Black Engineers president Sizwe Qhawe Mthethwa said Friday’s deliberations were a good start, showing that committed black South Africans wanted to “fix” the country.
“We are very encouraged by this initiative and the follow-up meetings that are still going to take place. The main issue now, primarily, is the implementation of some of these good ideas,” Mthethwa said.
Organisations at the meeting included the Black Management Forum, Association of Black Accountants SA, Black Lawyers’ Association, Progressive Professionals Forum, National Society of Black Engineers, Association of Black Securities Investment Professionals, Association of SA Black Actuarial Professionals, Black Information and Technologies Forum, SA Black Technical and Allied Careers Organisation, Association of Women Chartered Accountants, and the SA Institute of Black Property Practitioners.