At its conference in December last year the ANC committed to “radical socioeconomic transformation”. In his state of the nation address six months earlier former president Jacob Zuma said radical socioeconomic transformation referred to “fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female”. This is the only definition of radical socioeconomic transformation the party has provided. However, over the past year the government has gazetted two charters for the financial and mining sectors that will end BEE transactions in two sectors that have created the majority of black ownership in the economy over the past 24 years. Since he became president in February, Cyril Ramaphosa, my former boss at the BEE Commission, whose recommendations paved the way for the country’s empowerment laws, has said nothing about economic tran...

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