The South African economy needs an overhaul to address persistent inequality. This was the sentiment of the former Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas on Tuesday, 16 May 2017.
Speaking at the annual Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) lecture, in partnership with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), he unpacked the topic of radical economic transformation and how it relates to the structure of the South African economy.
Mr Jonas defined radical economic transformation as a ‘progressive, structural’ change in the ‘fundamental features’ of South Africa’s political economy but warned against the politics of populism.
He stressed that South Africa’s economy is in need of repair. “There is no denial the economy must be radically transformed. The reality is that it is becoming ever more difficult to subject radical economic transformation to democratic public reasoning‚” he said.
“We need to recast radical economic transformation as a genuine programme of inclusive growth around which society can be mobilised.”
He pointed out that populism encourages a range of ideologies and that it has resulted in distrust in the governing party, which has impacted on investing stakeholders.
As part of the opening remarks UJ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Internationalisation, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala said that the topic of radical economic transformation in relationship to economic growth and inclusivity are important aspects to address to establish whether it can be mutually supportive.