South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said the government must focus on boosting the participation of black people in the economy, while pledging to stick to its policies after next week’s election.
“We’ve had a few generations of black economic empowerment policies; some have worked, some have not quite helped us to achieve the goals” that were set out, Gordhan said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa’s Eleni Giokos.
Gordhan reiterated comments from President Jacob Zuma, who said in an interview on March 7 the government must push for increased black ownership, signaling his policy focus as he prepares for a second term in office. While the ruling African National Congress has won every election since the end of white minority rule in 1994 with more than 60 percent of the vote, discontent over a 24 percent jobless rate and a lack of housing, water and other services has fueled violent unrest.
“In 20 years we have done phenomenal things as South Africans, probably in many instances in the quickest time ever in history, but there are still legacies of apartheid which we all wanted to deny,” Gordhan said.
The next administration needs to focus on reducing market concentration in some industries and boosting small businesses, he said.
A majority win for the ANC means policy certainty and transparency, Gordhan said.
The ruling party has “a record of translating election manifestos and the commitment to the National Development Plan into business plans for government departments,” he said. “The one thing you will get is continuity.”
The election comes at a time when thousands of workers on a three-month strike have idled the world’s biggest platinum mines and rising corruption taints senior ANC members, including Zuma.
While the platinum strike will have some impact on economic growth, the severity will depend on how soon mining companies can resume production, Gordhan said.
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