Johannesburg - Black business needs to take responsibility for change, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday.

Addressing the Black Business Council (BBC) in Johannesburg during a discussion about the ANC's election manifesto, Mantashe urged black business to not always rely on the government for help.

“I'm appealing to all of you to drive change and don't look around for help,” he said.

“That's what I'm expecting from black business and professionals.”

Any revolution was as good as its ability to generate its own intellectual capacity, which black business represented.

Mantashe said that fronting was a practice that was problematic, as it failed to contribute to true social development where wealth was built.

“Wealth is not distributed, it is generated. Black business must contribute,” he said.

“We must not have artificial millionaires and billionaires. Black business must build wealth.”

One thing Mantashe had noticed when meeting with prominent white entrepreneurs who had built their business empires was that they were objective driven, something he said black business arguably lacked.

“They (black business) must come to that space of defining the objective, not the end,” he said.

“I can tell you that shortcut of getting rich has destroyed many black businesses. We must not tolerate mediocrity in black business.... We want black business to think big. That is where the future of this country is.”

He urged the BBC to take an active role in generating black commercial farmers.

“Agriculture is the sector of the future... take it as your responsibility,” Mantashe said.

“We must generate a growing number of commercial farmers.”

Food security and food production was linked to this, as it was important for South Africa to be able to feed itself and export food.

An important factor in the role of black business, was South African business buying local.

“Please don't front for international companies that will import cheap goods. That will defeat the point,” Mantashe said.

“If you want to support industrialists, buying local goods must be genuine.”