Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize have both emphasised the need for transformation in the economy, saying the party's policy conference will focus on issues around growth, employment and radical socio-economic transformation.
But it was more of the same -- the pair kept to their party's recent rhetoric by highlighting the challenges the country faces and the need to make a turn around on concentrated ownership in various sectors.
It was more "what we should be doing" rather than "what we are doing".
Gigaba and Mkhize were speaking at the Progressive Business Forum business breakfast ahead of the opening of the policy conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on Friday.
Mkhize started by echoing the words of President Jacob Zuma when he spoke at the policy conference's gala dinner on Thursday evening, saying the country faced serious challenges. He said not only did South Africa have to deal with issues of poverty and unemployment, but it must do so with conditions under a technical recession.
"We must find a common consensus on how to bring this economy up again. We still have a very strong, positive contribution in the building of the economy in the African region. We have been engaging a lot of sectors," Mkhize said.
Gigaba, in his address to business honchos from various sectors, said political liberation in the form of democracy was to be followed by redefining the economy, and radical socio-economic is essentially a "return to the basics of the movement".
He again, like in almost every one of his public speeches, emphasised the need for inclusive growth.
This is how he thinks it can be accomplished:
- Ensuring ownership reflects the racial and gender composition of the broader society;
- Transforming the sectoral composition of the economy based on a large and stable middle class; and
- Developing the economy in rural areas.
But to do this, Gigaba said the country's economy must overcome the fact that it is highly unequal, highly carbon-intensive and that it is deindustrialising.
"We need to grow the economy. We need to achieve GDP growth in access of 5 percent annually on a sustainable basis. We are underperforming and barely scratching the surface of our economic potential. Unless we take drastic measures now, we will not escape the low growth trap," Gigaba said.
He urged the business and labour sectors to "up their game" and promised government would do the same.