ANC promises radical economic transformation

South Africa’s government plans to promote “radical economic transformation” to forge a class of black industrialists, Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba said, as the ruling African National Congress appeared on track to extend its 20-year rule.

The government will use its programs to build infrastructure, develop industry, and buy more goods and services locally to help black entrepreneurs expand their businesses over the next two decades, Gigaba said on Thursday in an interview in Pretoria, the capital, where votes from Wednesday’s election are being counted.

“Over the next 20 years we are going to pursue more radical economic programs so that we can change the ownership patterns of the economy,” he said.

With counting at more than half of voting districts completed in the fifth election since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ANC appears likely to maintain its dominance over South African politics with a clear majority.

President Jacob Zuma said in a March 6 interview that black ownership in Africa’s second-biggest economy needs to be increased.

Of the 54 South Africans who own listed shares worth more than R500-million on Johannesburg’s stock exchange, a dozen were black or of mixed race, according to a study published by Johannesburg’s Sunday Times newspaper.

Almost 14% of South Africa’s 53-million people live on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank. Black citizens on average earn a sixth of what their white counterparts do and 1.9-million households have no income, census data shows. – Bloomberg

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