Addressing a breakfast briefing organised by the Progressive Youth in Business in East London on day, Gigaba said the ANC and its leaders have only been able to give a “high school definition” of the policy.
“We talk about it but if you ask two people what it means, you are most likely to get two different answers because we have done little beyond giving RET a high school definition up to the ANC conference,” Gigaba said.
Addressing ANC members who were in business, Gigaba said business people only understood RET to mean (black economic empowerment) while others had their own understanding.
He said this would create problems in the future as it would be difficult for the ANC to ensure effective implementation of the policy.
“I want to put it to you that if our understanding of RET cannot go deeper than this, we are going to commit fundamental mistakes.
“After 10 years, we will be looking back wondering where did we go wrong,” Gigaba said.
The overwhelming support for RET was commendable, he said, but it was wrong that it has not been given a clear meaning for all to understand and help implement.
“When we engaged in the Struggle we did far better to theorise the Struggle we were involved in to overthrow the system of white supremacy than we are doing now.
“If you talk to different people, some will say RET means occupy all vacant land and others will say it means BEE, which is a minimalist approach,” Gigaba said.
The briefing was organised as part of activities leading up to the ANC’s 106th anniversary celebrations which will take place tomorrow at the Buffalo City Stadium, where party president Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the party's January 8 statement.
Gigaba was accompanied by Eastern Cape Economic Development MEC Sakhumzi Somyo.
Ahead of last month’s ANC national elective conference, presidential contenders Ramaphosa and former AU Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma both endorsed RET but gave it distinctive meanings.
Ramaphosa focused on shared economic growth and anti-corruption, while Dlamini Zuma focused on radical change of ownership patterns of the economy, including expropriation of land without compensation.
Gigaba said the ruling party had an urgent task of providing a better and more elaborate understanding of RET so South Africans can help assist in its proper implementation whichever sector of society they belonged to.
Gigaba called on young business people to stop expecting to benefit from RET but to contribute to its creation. “This means you must move beyond breakfasts and gala dinners. You must (roll up) your sleeves. You must not absolve yourselves from developing ideas."