Zuma reiterates call for radical economic transformation

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Cape Town, July 23 (IANS) South African President Jacob Zuma has reiterated his call for radical socio-economic transformation to correct the wrongs of apartheid.

South Africa has high rates of unemployment (which hovers around 27 per cent) because of the structure of the economy and labour market — another direct effect of apartheid, Zuma said on Saturday at the launch of the Truman Magubane Family Foundation in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal Province, Xinhua news agency reported.

The foundation is aimed at supporting underprivileged children in various fields. Magubane, 74, is an anti-apartheid hero and spent 15 years in prison in Robben Island off Cape Town.

Zuma said South Africa continues to suffer the consequences of apartheid policies today even as the government led by the African National Congress (ANC) has expanded access to education for all.

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“That is why we speak of radical socio-economic transformation: the fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy,” Zuma said.

Citing several reasons for changing the structure of the economy, Zuma said South Africa’s economy was built around commodities for export to Europe and later the Americas and other regions.

Even roads and rail were constructed so that they led from the mine shafts and the farms straight to the harbours like Durban, according to Zuma.

“Commodity prices are set in the international market. In other words, the minerals come from our land but we do not determine their price,” said Zuma.

The large economies buy minerals from South Africa as raw materials and manufacture goods which they sell back to the country at exorbitant prices, he said.

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Capitalism works in such a manner that at times more is produced than what can be sold, resulting in the prices being reduced and commodity-based economies suffer, he said.

Historically all the capital is controlled largely by white men, he added.

“They have to protect their hold on the economy even if it means they have to destroy our spirits and take our lives,” Zuma said.

South Africa must re-industrialize so that more jobs can be created, he said.

–IANS

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