/ 9 October 2017

Zuma does an about-turn on Brics poison claims

No ‘Team SA’: Analysts say the business community’s trust in President Jacob Zuma’s government is at an all-time low.
No ‘Team SA’: Analysts say the business community’s trust in President Jacob Zuma’s government is at an all-time low.

President Jacob Zuma is not aware of any threats on his life from poisoning due to his stance on radical economic transformation or because of South Africa’s decision to join Brics, after telling supporters that he was.

The president revealed this in a Parliamentary written response on Monday.

Cope MP William Madisha had asked Zuma whether, with reference to his advocacy of the radical economic transformation policy as well as his role in leading the country into the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) economic partnership, he has at any stage found his life to be under threat as a result of poisoning attempts.

“I am not aware of a conspiracy to poison me because of the decision of South Africa to join Brics or because of the radical economic transformation policy of government,” Zuma replied.

This is in contradiction to what he told African National Congress (ANC) supporters in KwaZulu-Natal on August 17. “I was poisoned and almost died just because South Africa joined Brics under my leadership,” Mail & Guardian quoted him saying. He offered no proof for the startling claim.

Asked if radical economic transformation is government policy, Zuma responded that it was.

“The policy of our government is informed by the policy of the governing party, the ANC,” he said.

“The ANC at its National Conference in Mangaung in December 2012, declared that we had begun a second decisive phase of our long transition from Colonialism of a Special Type to a National Democratic Society, and that this second phase would be characterised by more radical policies and decisive action to effect socio-economic change and continued democratic transformation.

“When I was inaugurated as President of the Republic for the second time on 24 May 2014, I began to give effect to the resolution in my inauguration address, when outlining the focus of the fifth democratic administration for the years 2014-2019. I said: ‘Today marks the beginning of the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society. This second phase will involve the implementation of radical socio-economic transformation policies and programmes over the next five years’.

“The ANC January 8 statement this year further outlined the governing party’s focus on radical socio-economic transformation, and also specifically radical economic transformation with a focus on the economy.

“Radical socio-economic transformation was declared a priority for 2017/18 for government in the 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA). In the SONA government sets out a Policy Framework and an Action Plan within which we will prioritise the allocation of resources and actions for a particular year. We defined radical economic transformation referring to fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.

“We are already busy with the implementation of many aspects of the policy through our Nine Point Plan, ensuring that work done in the priority sectors that we have targeted for attention in order to reignite growth, include the meaningful participation of black people who were excluded in the past.

“These sectors include mining, manufacturing, agriculture, energy, tourism, ICT, water and sanitation, industrialisation and others. We are working hard to enhance the compacts between business, labour and government as one part of effective transformation.

“Together we need to broaden the ownership, management and control of the economy so that we build a more sustainable future, with an economy in which the majority plays a meaningful role and in which they benefit, as it must happen in any country.

“The current situation where the income of white households remains at least six times higher than that of black households as per the last census cannot be left unchallenged and must be corrected by all of us, especially business, government and labour working together,” Zuma said. – News 24