ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. File photo: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - The private sector is too slow to transform, African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.

“Where the state is in charge, there is progress, (however) where the private sector is concerned, transformation is too slow,” Mantashe said at a SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry dinner on the protection of property rights.

He said transformation included dealing with the past.

“We are dealing with a past we are all afraid of talking about. We agree that we cannot continue to blame apartheid for our problems, but we must be able to deal with apartheid moving forward.”

He said black people were denied rights to participate in the economy.

“The transformation should open opportunities for black South Africans to participate, or else there will be despair in the black community.”

Those with access to wealth should ensure that it transformed into common prosperity that would be enjoyed by all in the country, he said.

Mantashe said the Constitution gave effect to land reform so that everyone could have access to land.

“The debate about property rights must include debate about qualification (of ownership),” he said.

“The protection is qualified as it is for property rights. But the Constitution says there may be a need to expropriate land for public purpose.”

He said the country cannot have 35 percent of commercial farmers owning 82 million of hectares of land.

“We can't have a situation like that while the rest of us are left with eight percent of the (available) land.” - Sapa