The relationship between labour and capital, rich and poor, black and white, still reflect the entrenched legacy of colonialism.

This was the word from South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, as he tabled the 2017 budget in parliament, Cape Town. A large portion of Gordhan’s speech addressed the lack of transformation in South Africa.

“Wealth is produced and allocated along the lines that remain fundamentally unjust. The ownership of assets and the distribution of income is captured by a minority of the population, a situation that is morally wrong and economically unsustainable,” says Gordhan.

The lack of transformation in South Africa has been a thorn on the side of the country for the last 23 democratic years with almost all the country’s industries still owned by a minority of the population.

The Finance Minister highlighted the importance of bridging the inequality gap in South Africa. He went on to agree with President Jacob Zuma on finding a new perspective for economic transformation.

“The litmus test for our programmes must be what they do to create jobs, eliminate poverty and narrow the inequality gap. Transformation must be mass-based, benefitting the most disadvantaged South Africans through the creation of new assets, capabilities and opportunities to build livelihoods,” says Gordhan.

Gordhan acknowledged the need to mobilize both private and public investment in social and economic infrastructure, new technologies and new activities that help build a modern and diversified economy.


“Our growth challenge is intertwined with our transformation imperative. We need to transform in order to grow, we need to grow in order to trandsform. Without transformation, growth will reinforce inequality and without growth, transformation will be distorted by patronage.”