Stephen Koseff. Picture: MARTIN RHODES
Stephen Koseff. Picture: MARTIN RHODES

Catch-phrases such as "white monopoly capital", "fake news" and "alternative narrative" are being deliberately used as a ruse and a distraction to enable rent-seeking and looting, says Investec CEO Stephen Koseff.

There was concern that business was being made a scapegoat for SA’s societal ills, he said while addressing a briefing hosted by the Progressive Business Forum at the ANC’s national policy conference.

Discussions on economic transformation in SA dominated proceedings at the six-day party conference, with issues such as the mandate of the Reserve Bank, white monopoly capital and land expropriation being the most contentious.

Koseff said business was not the enemy.

"Particularly when slogans like white monopoly capital, fake news and alternative narrative are used as a ruse, a distraction to enable rent-seeking and looting," he said.

The term "white monopoly capital" has faced scrutiny since it emerged in a tranche of leaked e-mails between the Guptas and their associates in business, the government and politics.

It was created as a distraction from allegations of state capture made against the family.

Koseff said business was key to enabling jobs and transformation in the economy.

Business, labour and the government needed to partner to create the right outcome to achieve the "desired income".

Business Unity SA had recently issued a statement outlining where SA should be, he said, which was to create a deracialised, vibrant and diverse economy in which all South Africans could participate.

Some called this "inclusive growth" while others used the term "radical economic transformation", Koseff said.

It should be accelerated growth, as this was what would lead to uplifting sections of society who had been excluded from the economy, he said.

SA had achieved a lot since the dawn of democracy, Koseff said, as it had a strong and vibrant democracy, a free press, disciplined macroeconomic policies and an independent judiciary and central bank, which he said had done "an admirable job" at keeping inflation in check.

The mandate of the Bank has come under scrutiny at the conference following Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report on the Absa/Bankorp bail-out in which she recommended that the Constitution should be amended to diminish the Bank’s powers. This would effectively put an end to inflation targeting, a core tenet of the Bank’s monetary policy.

The ANC’s economic transformation commission had deadlocked on Tuesday as delegates failed to come to a consensus on issues such as expropriation of land or the issue of white monopoly capital.

Please sign in or register to comment.