President Jacob Zuma has promised that the ANC will focus this year on achieving "radical" transformation of the economy and, by implication, of society. He (and many others) believe that SA’s levels of poverty and inequality are unacceptable. But Zuma’s understanding of "radical transformation" is neither radical nor transformative. His focus is almost entirely on who owns the economy, as if poverty and inequality are the direct result of ownership, and only that. A further layer to the ownership debate is the state versus private sector argument, with organisations such as the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) advocating a greater presence of state institutions in the economy (such as a state-owned bank) as a necessary precursor to a more equitable and just society. In this explanation of the status quo and what needs to be done to change it, the continuum runs from a white-owned economy with minimal state intervention at one end (call it point A) to a black-owned economy with significant ...

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