Adri Senekal - Business Report (Editor)
I’m not really into politics; what excites or concerns me is the impact of politics on South Africa’s economic performance; therefore there was no reason for me to seek accreditation for the ANC’s conference over the past weekend at Nasrec. It so happened that I was in Gauteng at the time and realised that I cannot afford not to attend this controversial ANC conference.

I’m passionate about the National Development Plan (NDP) and as the editor of Business Report, I focus on a few special projects, such as the monitoring of the NDP, research the impact of ratings on countries, implementing a new business strategy for Independent Business, Money & Wealth, innovation, entrepreneurship and telecoms.

To attend the ANC’s conference should have been a top priority. Many e-mails to colleagues, ministers and the ANC leadership in Gauteng followed. The result: I was not allowed to attend.

Late on Saturday evening I received a call from Paul Mashatile, ANC Gauteng chairperson, whom I met more than two decades ago; he apologised and explained that proper process should be followed, but he would allow me an hour for an interview. We discussed:

The People & White Monopoly Capital

PM: “There is no such thing as 'white monopoly capital', but monopoly capital is a problem. We agreed that the ANC will continue to fight against white domination and other forms of domination within our society. White monopoly capital has unfortunately been widely used as a distraction by some; our members need to be disciplined in the use of language to support their own political agendas. The government, and the ANC, should focus on what should be done to improve the lives of poor South Africans, including reducing the high levels of unemployment, growing the economy, providing young people with skills, supporting small businesses, getting more back people in the economy to own and control businesses and factories and getting the financial institutions to support development."

Trust and Economic Transformation

“The lives of all South Africans can only be improved if our own people, whether they work on farms, in hospitals or head up big businesses, trust leadership to make the right decisions, to lay the foundation for local and global companies to invest in the country. South African companies should list their assets on the local stock exchanges, invest in infrastructure projects and be allowed to grow their companies and re-invest dividends back in the country. There are many incentives for companies to do so, like the youth and tax incentives, the black industrialists fund and others. These incentives were introduced to support economic transformation, allowing entrepreneurs to start or expand their businesses.

We need to start at home, if our own people don’t trust the policies and vision of the government, how can we expect foreign companies to invest capital in long-term projects? Everything necessary must be done to return our country to investment grade. We need radical efforts by labour, government, business and the media to restore our sovereign ratings to investment grade. Notwithstanding the implications of the downgrades, South Africa must forge ahead with the implementation of our Programme for Transformation, Modernisation, and Re-industrialisation, with a strong focus on infrastructure investment."

Mashatile’s character has been tested. He returned stronger and committed to complete the journey he was born for.