The ANC must emerge from this 54th National Conference more united, with policies that take forward its mission of building a united, non-racial non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, according to President Jacob Zuma.
Speaking at a gala dinner on Friday night, President Zuma said the ANC and the country must emerge as winners. “We have called on all our members and delegates to ensure that unity prevails at the conference,” he said. While much attention has been paid to the leadership contest, it is just as important that Conference adopts policies that improve people’s lives.
Organised by the Progressive Business Forum, the gala dinner was attended by ANC leaders, business people and supporters of the organisation.
President Zuma called on progressive businesses to invest more in the economy to create jobs, drastically reduce poverty, break monopolies and deal with inequality.
“Your investment in strategic sectors of the economy will help secure meaningful participation in the economy by the majority of our people. We want to partner with investors who, notwithstanding profit motives, also understand our strategic national interest as well as the imperative of creating a better life for all,” he said.
It is important that such investment advances radical economic transformation by ensuring the participation of the black majority in key sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, industrialisation, mining, agriculture, tourism, telecommunications, water, energy and others. He said the long term interests of the country are guaranteed under conditions of social stability.
President Zuma said the partnership between the ANC and progressive business people allows the business community to engage meaningfully with the ANC in a solution oriented manner, “understanding that the work that needs to be done to achieve our desired and necessary levels of economic growth does not and cannot rest solely on the shoulders of our organisation”.
He reiterated that the ANC has always held the view that the society we are building will have a mixed economy, with state, cooperative and other forms of social ownership, and private capital. This is important because the economy requires massive investment from both public and private capital.
“What we must work to build consensus on is the areas to which this massive investment should be directed. Finding the correct answers as to where investment should be directed must necessarily begin with understanding that in order to deal with the problems facing our country, we need the kind of economic growth that does not only increase the value of current investments but which also significantly increases our tangible assets,” he said.
President Zuma highlight the importance of the partnership between the ANC and business in tackling our economic challenges. This must be a mutually beneficial relationship from which the people of South Africa as a whole are the biggest winners.
“Be encouraged to continue investing in your movement, the ANC, because it is the one most capable of changing the lives of our people for the better and creating a conducive environment for business to thrive,” he said.
President Zuma concluded by thanking the progressive business community for its support during his terms as ANC President. “Everything has been done to ensure a smooth and successful national conference,” he said.