White people do not control the economy of South Africa, that is a myth, analyst Moeletsi Mbeki said on Saturday.

Political economist Mbeki, former IEC head Brigalia Bam and City Press editor Ferial Haffajee were discussing the strategies needed to protect South African’s democracy.

Speaking at the Franschhoek Literary Festival, Mbeki said if one listened to the ruling party, all they heard was that white people controlled the economy and black people were out of it.

“There is this notion that there has been no change, or just… it is superficial,” he said.

 He said this was a narrative that was being perpetuated by the ruling party.

“The ruling party sees the racial narrative as of benefit to it,” he said.

He made an example of the recent case against former estate agent Penny Sparrow, who the ANC had opened a case against for racist comments made earlier this year.

Sparrow had compared black people to monkeys.

Mbeki said the ANC, however, had expected South Africans to forgive President Jacob Zuma, following the Constitutional Court ruling regarding his Nkandla homestead.

He said the elite in South Africa, those in “control”, only comprised of just over 100 000 people.

“You can fit all of them into the FNB stadium.”

There was a huge number of black people in that category in the private sector, he said.

Mbeki said the ruling party did not want it announced that only 100 000 people controlled the economy.

“Because then where is this democracy they are supposed to have brought? They don’t want the narrative that the great majority are not in control of their politics and their economy,” he said.

He said it was possible, however, for South Africa to get past the racial divide.

Mbeki also questioned the electoral system in South Africa, which he said excluded the masses.

He said there was a façade that structures on ground level decided who went to Parliament and who was in leadership positions.

But it was the top six of the ANC, DA, EFF and other parties that decided who represented them, he said.

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