President Jacob Zuma’s political buzzword – Radical Economic Transformation (RET) – which many believe he uses to hide his mischief has continued to stir up controversies in the country.
The phrase, which was fully maximized in the run-up to 2017 budget speech has also, gradually gained ground in the ruling party’s camp and is now largely used by Zuma’s allies during political talks.
While the edict keeps flying around, most South Africans still maintain that it makes no sense to them as no economic transformation has taken place under the ANC administration neither are signs that such is coming their way.
The latest attack on Zuma’s RET maxim was launched by South African Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago on Tuesday evening at a public lecture on monetary policy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville Campus.
In response to a question, Kganyago reportedly said that he couldn’t get the meaning of the phrase after several kinds of research and economic literature study.
He opined: “As an economist‚ whenever a concept is introduced‚ I try and delve through the literature to find what are the positives of this concept and what does it mean. As it stands‚ after going through the literature‚ I am none the wiser.”
Kganyago further explained that the closest term to radical economic transformation is a popular economic term called ‘inclusive economic growth’.
According to him, Inclusive Economic Growth (IEG) has been en vogue since 2008 after the global economic crisis. Interestingly, he added that the term differs not from what “we are talking about here”.
In a nutshell, the governor buttressed that IEG also points to what income distribution issues mean in the country‚ how land is distributed‚ what ownership structures are‚ how corporate governance in the country takes place‚ how capital is distributed in the country and so forth.
He announced that the Reserve bank has been working on bringing the IEG to full play in the country and that the institution intends to do this by bringing down inflation.
President Jacob Zuma promised radical economic transformation in response to the multiple crises facing the country, yet in the same breath, he reassured everyone that he will not change the current government policies.
Recently, new finance minister Malusi Gigaba reiterated that Zuma’s RET aims to ensure that poor and rural people enjoy the fruits of South African economy.
However, on the contrary, critics believe the phrase is simply a cynical code for state capture and theft at the National Treasury.
Others argue that if poor people must enjoy the fruit of the economy, then the president must be ready to bring positive changes to the issue land tenure security, decent wages, humane working conditions and property relations on the commercial farms.
Radical Economic Transformation must also cover returning the land, alternative forms of governance, non-pollutant agriculture, decentralized production and distribution of food financed by the state and alternative markets not controlled by big commercial retailers.
In his 2017 budget speech, axed finance minister rolled out what the RET concept must bring to bear if it must beyond a political talk.
One of his most notable quotes was that the RET ought to be a transformation that must unite, not divide South Africans, as entrusted to the party by Oliver Tambo, Helen Joseph, Walter Sisulu and Rolihlahla Mandela.