Radical economic transformation is what the Freedom Charter anticipated, says Dlamini-Zuma

  • Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the ANC had embarked on a path of radical economic transformation after following the words of OR Tambo.
  • She was speaking at the launch of a Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs-UN partnership, known as the District Development Model, in the OR Tambo District Municipality, the Eastern Cape.
  • Dlamini-Zuma said she believed the partnership would aid in lifting millions of people out of poverty.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says it is inconceivable for liberation to have any meaning without the return of the country’s wealth to the people as a whole.

“To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and exploitation and does not represent even the shadow of liberation,” Dlamini-Zuma said at the launch of a partnership between the UN and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in Mthatha on Tuesday.

She was quoting an extract from a speech delivered by the late former ANC president, OR Tambo, at the 60th anniversary of the SACP in London on 30 July 1981.

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Showing her support for radical economic transformation, Dlamini-Zuma said the freedom struggle that led to South Africa achieving its democracy in 1994 was not over until every South African had benefitted from the country’s wealth.

“It was following on the words of OR Tambo that the ANC and ruling party embarked on the path of radical economic transformation which is really a path that seeks to make sure that the wealth is not carried by a few but that our people become prosperous.”

Dlamini-Zuma was speaking at the launch of a ground-breaking partnership, known as the District Development Model, which seeks to create jobs and simulate the economy in the OR Tambo District Municipality, the Eastern Cape.

“We are here with the District Development Model trying to build a sustainable, resilient, and prosperous community. This is what it is all about, it is what the Freedom Charter anticipated.” 


She said radical economic transformation was what Tambo lived and died for, and the municipality, which carries his name, should also carry his ideas. 

The minister added radical economic transformation was not about fighting those with the economy, but that an economy held by few instead of majority could not be sustainable.  

She urged leaders to fear letting the people of South Africa down.  

Quoting struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Dlamini-Zuma said:

As we undertake our day-to-day work, we must also recall her [Madikizela-Mandela] words and fears because she also had fears when she said, ‘One of the greatest things I fear, is letting down my people, I would not live with that type of conscious after they have been brutalised for so long’.

She added all leaders must carry that spirit of Madikizela-Mandela.

“If we all fear letting our people down, we won’t let them down,” said Dlamini-Zuma. 

The partnership aims to foster a “one plan” approach to local development that seeks to incorporate public, private and civil society participation and investment in a joint effort to provide service delivery, localise procurement and create jobs.

The minister was joined by the head of the UN in South Africa and resident co-ordinator, Nardos Bekele-Thomas.

“We believe that this partnership will aid in lifting millions of our people out of poverty.

“We also believe that we ought to emulate and be inspired by the lives of and contribution of mama Charlotte Maxeke and mama Winnie Mandela, but of course as my sister said, this partnership and this district, carries the name of one of our giants – Oliver Reginald Tambo,” Dlamini-Zuma said. 

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