President Jacob Zuma said he would not resign on his own during a speech at the African National Congress Youth League Economic Freedom Lecture at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on Wednesday.
The president said there were calls for him to resign, including from "a chamber from outside".
"I'll never, on my own, resign. If I did, I would be surrendering to the white monopoly."
He also relived Nenegate, saying the nation wasn't really aware of what was happening at the time.
"They called it the Nene disaster. But is the nation really aware of what is happening?" he said to a packed crowd of more than 2,000 people.
He said in December last year, he took the decision to appoint a new minister.
"The monopoly capital and their stooges attacked me," he said.
Zuma was referring to the reshuffling of his Cabinet last year where he removed then-finance minister Nhlanhla Nene with the lesser-known Des van Rooyen. Van Rooyen remained in the position for two days amid a growing public backlash. He was then replaced with Pravin Gordhan who had served in the position in previous years. During the two days that Van Rooyen was in the position, the rand fell to an almost-record low.
Speaking about economic transformation, he said those that control the economy, control everything -- even the media.
"They can paint you black, even if you are not," he said.
Those with economic power also had the power to buy people and those people would not refuse, Zuma added.
Zuma said the party was being hit hard, which in turn was "bringing doubt" to the voters. This was why they chose to boycott the municipal elections earlier this year, he said.
He said it was not wrong for the youth to call for economic freedom and challenged them to build the country. Zuma was referring to an earlier speech by ANCYL President Colin Maine.
President Jacob Zuma closes his address with signature "Yinde Lendlela".