Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa’s remarks on radical economic transformation point to the survival struggle he is waging in the ANC to be elected president for a second term.
This is what political analysts believe after Ramaphosa said on Saturday at the 95th anniversary celebrations of former freedom fighter Andrew Mlangeni that the land issue needs to be accelerated and economic transformation central to favoring all South Africans.
“We need to do something about the legacy of racism that has caused blacks to live in poor areas, far from jobs and opportunities,” he said.
Geordin Hill-Lewis, DA finance spokesman, says it is in line with Ramaphosa and other ANC members’ recent remarks that radical economic transformation should begin as part of the build-up process following the Covid 19 pandemic.
According to a draft document presented at a meeting of the ANC’s National Executive Committee last month, the alliance wants to use pension money and the Reserve Bank’s reserves to build an “open post-Covid-19 economy”.
“The president’s remarks indicate the internal pressure he is experiencing in the ANC, and that he cannot control the radical economic transformation group in his party,” says Hill-Lewis.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that the state wants more control, while the state, for example, has shown Eskom that it is doing very poorly where it is involved,” he says.
Prof. Dirk Kotzé, political analyst at Unisa, says Ramaphosa wants to show by his statements to opponents in the ANC that he is still serious about applying resolutions of the ANC policy conference in 2016.
“Ramaphosa also wants to create space for the government through this balancing act to implement its own ideas,” says Kotzé.
Theo Venter, political analyst at the North-West University (NWU), says the president is giving his sayings on the concept of radical economic transformation – something his predecessor, former president. Jacob Zuma could never manage.
“Being re-elected for a second term is a survival struggle. The ANC is also already preparing for next year’s municipal elections, because as things stand, it will not fare well at the polls, ”says Venter.
Venter expects major structural changes to the economy to come to light with the revised budget speech that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will deliver on June 24.
“Before then, not much detail will be disclosed about what exactly radical economic transformation entails,” says Venter.
Following Kotzé, Ramaphosa also wants to satisfy his opponents in the ANC by commenting on the land issue that needs to be accelerated.
Parliament’s ad hoc committee working on amending Art. 25 of the Constitution – to enable land expropriation without compensation – expired at the end of last month, which delayed the process.
The political analyst Dr. Piet Croucamp suspects land use without compensation is not so much about agricultural land, but more about urban land close to economic opportunities.
“The real need for land is in the cities. People can be empowered by owning land, but the way it is done is very complex and several factors must be taken into account.
“The economic space is still much the same as during apartheid. Tensions arise when people live on the outskirts of society and not in the good heart, ”says Croucamp.