The Durban International Convention Centre
Johannesburg - The government should use this week’s World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa to detail its plans for radical economic transformation, Oxfam SA executive director Siphokazi Mthathi says.

Mthathi said the conference was an opportune moment for the government to unpack the concept.

She said the government should use the conference to obtain input from civil society on economic transformation.

“Radical economic transformation will succeed if it puts people at the centre and drives an economy for the many, not the few.

"Apartheid policies were bad, and introduced long-term systemic weaknesses that created underemployment, low wages and an export-dependent economy,” Mthathi said.

“It fostered individual profitability, a legacy carried forward by the current regime through the markets designed for the few, instead of providing basic services for the many.

"Core infrastructure and human capacity development initiatives suffered for the majority of South Africans.”

President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are expected to lead the government’s delegation to the conference.

Read also: WEF is a chance to woo investors

On Friday, the Presidency said a number of ministers, including Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, would also attend. Zuma said the conference would focus on topics such as education, skills and employment, entrepreneurship, energy, infrastructure and development finance.

“As a developing constitutional democracy that is defined by the triple challenge of inequality, poverty and employment, South Africa believes that radical economic transformation is imperative to accelerating inclusive growth and eradicating these long-standing challenges.

"Our international partners and investors appreciate this historical need, as they know it is key to long-term sustainable development for the South African economy,” Zuma said.