OR Tambo Debate Series – Seventh Debate On Radical Economic Transformation

About This Project

Prof David Everatt (Head of School, Wits School of Governance)
Mr Duma Nkosi (Deputy Chair, Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation)

Presentation of the Position Paper: Prof Pundy Pillay

Panel Presentations:
Prof Imraan Valodia | Radical Economic Transformation – Moving beyond good ideas
Dr Caryn Abrahams | Radical Economic Transformation – Placing economic justice on the table
Dr Neva Makgetla | Who benefits from Radical Economic Transformation?
On the 20th July 2017, the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, in partnership with the Wits School of Governance, United Nations Development Programme and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation hosted the 7th instalment of the O.R Tambo Debate Series. The topic wasRadical Economic Transformation (RET) and the National Development Plan (NDP) in partnership with Wits School of Governance, United Nations Development Programme and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.


Click here for the Wits RET Debate Report


In presenting his paper on RET, Professor Pillay examined SA’s progress in altering the economic landscape, questioning whether the policies have not been misplaced as the economy has barely made any progress in solving socio-economic issues. Continuing, Professor Pillay raised questions with regards to the NDP; why its contents have not been questioned, whether it has been beneficial to those it was meant to serve, and which actions need to be taken to move towards a more inclusive economy, which will give a more complete picture of why economic growth and development has been slow.


Proposing solutions towards a more equitable and inclusive economy, Professor Pillay highlighted six points; Government needs to take charge of the economy; Industrial policy needs to be fixed in order to increase funding for growth; Small businesses need to be developed; Monopolies and cartels need to be taken apart; Black economic empowerment policies need to be reviewed; We need to build a developmental state.


Professor Imraam Valodia presented his opinion of the paper, saying that instead of just talking about RET, we need to think about how to realistically change the economy. Citin Sweden as an example, Professor Valodiaelaborated how an inclusive economy should function. He also warned that if it’s not executed properly, RET will completely fail South Africans, leading to circumstances such as those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where resources are being fought over.


He elaborated that economic growth should be at the centre of the policy, and that it desperately needs to deal with inequality. To address inequality, he proposed 3 points: Holding the state accountable on corruption and abuse of power; reanalysing the way large corporates are regulated, as they currently still have too much power; and finally freeing up the informal economy.


Tying these points up, Dr Caryn Abrahams mentioned that RET needs to move from just being just being a vague idea to a policy with measurable content, as in its current state it runs the risk of being captured and used to fulfil different mandates with unpredictable ends. This was further emphasised by Dr Makgetla, who elaborated that the government needs an entirely new mindset and to redefine RET for it to work.


There was a questions and answer session where the audience engaged with the panel.

Here is the link to the video


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20 July 2017


18.00 for 18.30 – 20.30


Wits School of Governance Donald Gordon Auditorium 2 St Davids Place Parktown, Johannesburg

2017, Debates & Dialogues, OR Tambo Debate Series, Projects