South Africa must reform white-dominated economy: Zuma
By Jon Herskovitz and Peroshni Govender
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's economy is still largely under the control of whites who held power under apartheid, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday, and he called for a "dramatic shift" to redress the wealth balance more evenly in favor of the black majority.
Such calls have been a staple of ANC strategy documents for years and Zuma's policy speech comes months before he will seek re-election as leader of the faction-ridden movement in December. He has also been facing demands from the party's youth wing to nationalize mines and seize white-owned farmland.
Zuma, speaking at the start of a major policy meeting of his ruling African National Congress, said the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality posed long-term risks for Africa's richest country 18 years after the end of apartheid.
"The structure of the apartheid-era economy has remained largely intact," Zuma told several thousand ANC delegates.
"The ownership of the economy is still primarily in the hands of white males as it has always been," he added.
Without giving details, he called for a "dramatic shift and giant leap" in coming years to spread the country's wealth more equitably, mentioning the distribution of mineral resources and land ownership as areas which needed to be overhauled.
Zuma said this proposed "second transition" was necessary to complement the negotiated end of apartheid in 1994, when he said "certain compromises" over economic ownership had been made to ensure a smooth political transition from white minority rule.
While draft proposals to be considered at the conference advocate a greater role for state-owned enterprises, Zuma made clear however that the ANC's strategy has been to seek to boost growth and create jobs through "a thriving mixed economy". Continued...