President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ruling ANC wants South Africa to intensify black economic empowerment (BEE) measures rather than relax them.
Ramaphosa was commenting on new preferential procurement regulations, which were gazetted by finance minister Enoch Godongwana earlier this month.
Speaking at the ANC national executive committee (NEC) meeting in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa said the party remains resolutely committed to implementing BBBEE.
“We have noted that whilst progress has been made in empowering black people and women in the economy, the benefits of this progress have not been felt by all South Africans,” he said.
“We need to continue our work to refine and focus our efforts to ensure greater impact and faster realisation of the constitutional and economic imperative of empowerment and redress.”
He said the ANC NEC had noted the new regulations published by the National Treasury in response to the Constitutional Court ruling on preferential procurement in the public sector.
“These regulations now comply with Section 217 of the Constitution in that they empower organs of state to develop and implement preferential procurement policies when contracting for goods and services,” he said.
He said contrary to some public statements, the new regulations do not diminish the commitment to preferential procurement as a mechanism for economic transformation.
“The NEC has affirmed the ANC’s position that broad-based black economic empowerment remains one of our key policy instruments,” he said.
“Through the NEC Economic Transformation Committee, we will monitor progress in the implementation of this policy and continue to engage with stakeholders, especially black businesses and professionals.”
Ramaphosa also commented on land reform, saying they would accelerate land redistribution and increase agricultural production support.
“No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remains in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life,” he said.
“Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government.”
The ruling party added that it needs to respond to the rising cost of living, which is causing great hardship for millions of South Africans.
“We will continue resolutely to implement our programme to tackle the triple fault lines of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said.
“We will intensify our work to transform the economy & create jobs through the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.”
“We are committed to maintaining and, to the extent possible, expand social security to protect the vulnerable and reduce poverty.”