Phosa: Stop bickering about the sins of the past

South African minority groups need to be empowered to play their rightful role in the economy and the public sector, said ANC national treasurer Matthew Phosa.

Speaking at the Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge Memorial Lecture in Durban on Friday night, Phosa said it had become immaterial whether those minorities had privileged access to opportunities a decade and half ago.

The Mxenge couple were assassinated by apartheid government agents after they had become a thorn in the flesh of the regime by representing activists who were tortured by the government. They were both lawyers.

Phosa said the Mxenge couple died so that South Africans could have a democracy in which all had equal opportunities.

”From that perspective we must ensure that the minorities in our country are also empowered to play their rightful role in the economy and the public sector.

”Whether those minorities had privileged access to opportunities a decade and half ago, has now became immaterial.”

Phosa said there were patriots in all groups and cultures. ”I am especially keen to ensure that lost skills from the public sector are recaptured through the interaction with the so-called minorities,” he said.

”In calling for a clinical look of the way in which we promote black ownership, we should, therefore ensure that entrepreneurs from minority groups are assisted to break free from their constraints and make the contributions which we all know they can [make].”

He said South Africa faced substantial global challenges which would not be helped by bickering about the sins of the past.

Phosa said the ANC would repeatedly re-look at the basis on which empowerment policies were managed.

This would include increasing levels of black empowerment ownership in businesses, streamlining institutions that finance black entrepreneurs and also developing similar empowerment programmes for minority groups to ensure an inclusive approach towards social upliftment and job creation. – Sapa

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