Picture: Noni Mokati/The Star
Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma on Monday reiterated his call that the remaining term of his government would focus firmly on radical socio-economic transformation because transforming the South Africa's economy had not achieved the desired effect.

Speaking at the annual Chris Hani Wreath Laying Ceremony in Elspark, Boksburg, Zuma said the majority of black people were still economically dis-empowered and dissatisfied with the limited economic gains from liberation 23 years into freedom and democracy.

Hani was assassinated on April 10, 1993 outside his home in Dawn Park in Boksburg by right-wing conspirators.

Zuma said that Chris Hani was a committed advocate of a kind of democratic transformation that would bring about political, social and economic justice in South Africa.

"He believed that our democracy would only be meaningful if it guaranteed equality in the access to education, healthcare, jobs and housing among others," Zuma said.

"Comrade Chris Hani also advocated very passionately, the need for our democracy to transform the systems of economic participation. He insisted that a democratic government had a duty to build a modern economy at the hands of all our people, particularly black people."

Zuma acknowledged that government had built a growing black middle class with access to work opportunities in areas that were historically denied to them and created pathways for the emergence of black owned businesses in various sectors of our economy.

"It is out of this historic knowledge about the essence of our struggle for democracy that we have decided to focus firmly on radical socio-economic transformation in the remaining term of this government, as informed by the 2012 resolutions of the governing party, the ANC," Zuma said.

"The ANC government defines Radical Socio-Economic Transformation to mean the fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female."

Zuma said reports by the Employment Equity Commission each year indicated that the top and senior management positions of top companies remained overwhelmingly white and male as black professionals were being overlooked for promotion in many companies.

"We want to move beyond the minority control of our economic assets towards democratic, inclusive and equitable economic relations of control and ownership. We want to see more black people owning companies that are listed on the Johannesburg Stock exchange," Zuma said.

"We want to see more black owned companies benefiting from government’s five hundred billion rand procurement budget, so that we can further grow black business and entrepreneurship. We want to see more young people becoming entrepreneurs and obtaining support from government and the private sector."

Meanwhile, Zuma said he had on Monday morning met with the Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and his deputy, the Governor of the SA Reserve Bank and the SARS Commissioner to discuss further, the impact of the credit rating downgrades and how government should respond adequately and unite the country. South Africa's foreign currency credit rating was downgraded to junk status by S&P Global and Fitch credit rating agencies in the wake of the Cabinet reshuffle and the firing of Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister.

"The Finance Minister has been engaging the business community," Zuma said.

"Engagements with all social partners including labour will continue, because we make progress and find solutions when we work together."