The ANC has dismissed business mogul Johann Rupert's claim that radical economic transformation is a "code name for theft" as "disingenuous and opportunistic".
In a statement on Thursday, the party lambasted Rupert's dismissal of the ANC's programme as a smokescreen for the looting of state coffers.
"It is these [inherited] racialised economic relations that have produced the generational wealth of the Rupert family that Mr Johan (sic) Rupert now commands," said ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa. "His arrogant condemnation of the important discussion about economic transformation in our country [therefore] betrays his ill-gotten privilege."
Kodwa condemned Rupert's "arrogant attitude", saying it was "extremely opportunistic coming as it does from a beneficiary of apartheid's exclusionary policies".
"For his part, Rupert would be well-advised to desist from derogatory, unfounded statements based on his innate inclination to preserve privilege and prosperity for a few," he said.
'We will not be deterred'
Instead of being deterred "by naysayers such as Rupert", the ANC said it will "instead redouble its efforts to effect the change required" in the economy against poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Discourses on radical economic transformation, Kodwa added, are informed by racial inequalities that come as a legacy of the colonial and apartheid political economy, hence the necessity of accelerating the programme more than two decades after the end of apartheid.
"Achieving this will demand structurally changing the fundamental features of South Africa's political economy and dismantling of an economic structure that continues to perpetuate inequality and monopolistic tendencies in favour of Rupert and his ilk," he said.
Kodwa said the ANC rejects "arrogance... on the part of the privileged sections" of society that threaten the "nonracial, nonsexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa we have always struggled for".
Prior to the release of the ANC's statement, Rupert told HuffPost SA he "unequivocally" believed that economic injustices in South Africa needed to be addressed and that more opportunities had to be created to enable black businesspeople to flourish.
"It doesn't matter what your political orientation is, the fact remains that it's close to midnight for South Africa... we're facing a fiscal cliff thanks to maladministration and corruption. We're all going to have to work together, business, civil society and government."
Rupert added he and his family were tired of being portrayed as the embodiment of white monopoly capital, saying he stood by his comments and the claim that the public purse was being "robbed blind".