Presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has hit back at billionaire Johann Rupert for dismissing radical economic transformation as just another excuse for corruption and criminal code. Dlamini-Zuma warned the billionaire that his wealth can’t stop her from implementing radical economic transformation when she emerges as the next president of South Africa.She enthused that calling the policy a criminal code is nothing but a pervasive blackmail.
Addressing a funeral indaba gala dinner at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban on Tuesday night‚ Dlamini-Zuma said the statement was an insult to black people.
“I have heard that somebody had said that radical economic transformation is just theft. This is an insult to all black people. We must reject this. We must all commit to radical economic transformation‚” said Dlamini-Zuma.
She did not mention Rupert by name‚ but it was clear that her comments were directed at South Africa’s richest man.
“Radical economic transformation is just a code word for theft‚” Rupert said on the sidelines of Richemont’s annual general meeting in Geneva last week.
“That’s what’s happening there. They’re raiding the state’s coffers. And it’s public knowledge‚” he said.
His comments were roundly condemned by the ANC.
“You must be part of this radical economic transformation. We want to see you part of the entire value chain. We want to see a totally transformed industry. It is in our hands. We cannot expect anyone else to do it for us‚” Dlamini-Zuma said.
“Though there are many people in this industry‚ we see a small number of big companies. Most of the black companies are in the category of small and upcoming. Most of the benefits of this industry go to large companies.”
The former health minister said most undertakers were not part of the insurance industry and were therefore losing out.
“They act almost like agents. Most of the money is with the underwriters. Undertakers are providing the final service yet do not take a lot of profit. Undertakers are left out of the value chain.”
Dlamini-Zuma said most black undertakers were not part of manufacturing products like caskets.
“If we are in the majority being buried and majority in the sector‚ we should be manufacturing as the majority‚” said Dlamini-Zuma.
She said it was important that undertakers get land as they also need it as part of their services.
Dlamini-Zuma commended the industry‚ saying its work was critical in society.
“They serve families and individuals at the most vulnerable times. This industry’s services are procured largely by private citizens but can only do their work after receiving a legal death certificate‚” said the former home affairs minister.