South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa must rally support in a crucial election year

President Cyril Ramaphosa noted that the Black industrialists, who have successfully established businesses despite facing immense challenges, play a crucial role in South Africa's economic growth.

Speaking at the Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre on Wednesday, the president said that on this day, the nation celebrates the "power of empowerment," noting that it has "not been handed out as charity but earned through hard work, resilience and unwavering determination," SA News reported.

Ramaphosa pointed out that Black industrialists are not only creating jobs but also serving as wealth generators and agents of change, driving social and economic transformation in the communities.

The president noted that every successful industrialist's spirit lies in innovation and creativity, whether it is technology, manufacturing, agriculture or any other services they provide.

"They have shown that excellence knows no bounds and that Africa is a continent brimming with untapped potential and ingenuity," he said. "None of this progress would have been possible without the spirit of collaboration and partnership."

President Ramaphosa further explained this event was an opportunity to reflect on the journey of empowerment, which has been a key aspect of the changes witnessed in the past thirty years.

South Africa gained independence 30 years ago after the apartheid system ended in the late 20th century. Before the implementation of the apartheid system, South Africa was under Dutch colonization from 1652 to 1795.

"We have about 1,000 Black industrialists present here today. This is a living testimony to the changes that have taken place in the past 30 years, and indeed, over the past five years," he said. "Even after the advent of democracy, and the removal of discriminatory laws, the racial features of privilege and disadvantage remained."

The president pointed out that the Bantu education (provided during the apartheid system to Black students to become laborers) has kept "several generations without the skills needed to improve their economic situation."

"Much has changed in our country, but this iniquitous inheritance continues to diminish the economic prospects of many Black and women South Africans. It is this inheritance that we are determined to overcome," he added.

This event marked the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (B-BBEE Act) and highlighted achievements, successes, opportunities and strides made by the Black Industrialists Program since it was launched in 2016.