Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday evening said there must be an uncompromising rejection of corruption, patronage, cronyism and wastage.
"To those with vested interests in ineffective governance, deliberate misgovernance, hidden deals, the concentration of economic control and unfair labour practices, we say: no more!" he said.
Giving a lecture at the African National Congress (ANC) Johannesburg Region Economic Colloquium at the Orlando East Communal Hall, Ramaphosa said the country was faced with the struggle for economic emancipation.
"Poverty, unemployment and inequality continue as defining features of our society. In the face of poverty, unemployment and inequality continue to be black."
Ramaphosa proposed a "new deal" - aimed at accelerating radical transformation – to be struck between the government, business and South Africans.
He said when the democratic government took over from the apartheid government, it inherited a "broken economy" with "structural flaws".
Land and poverty
He said the apartheid system stripped black people of their assets.
"Our land was stolen from our forebears, leading to the destruction of the asset base of the African people [and] resulting in the impoverishment of the black nation…"
He said the country found itself in this position because of poor leadership.
"We must acknowledge that our ability to overcome these challenges has been undermined over the last decade by a failure of leadership and misguided priorities.
"This is a reality that we, as the ANC, need to acknowledge and correct.
He said as delegates prepared to elect a new leader in December, they should choose "leadership that is not arrogant, leadership that will serve you".
"The ANC and its new leadership will need to mobilise all South Africans behind a programme that has clear and ambitious priorities and timeframes," he said.
Ramaphosa said there was a need for a new approach.
"This New Deal will and must bring together government, business, labour and civil society in a meaningful and effective social compact to construct a prosperous, just society founded on opportunities for all."
He said the plan of action would be rooted in the National Development Plan and ANC policies.
Among other things, the new plan must be defined by a renewed unity of purpose and action, effective and committed leadership that promotes the interests of the people above all interests.
He said it must get rid of corruption and State capture.
"No meaningful growth, transformation or development will be possible for as long as key public institutions continue to be used for the criminal benefit of a few and public resources continue to be looted."
Ramaphosa said people who have assisted to facilitate state capture should be removed from their positions immediately.
"A judicial commission of inquiry needs to be established without delay, and legal and criminal action will be pursued against the perpetrators. We want every rand stolen from our people returned."
He said, "We should establish a special ‘anti-corruption appropriation fund’, through which all the recovered proceeds of corruption will be channelled to youth training and employment initiatives."
The 10 priorities included creating jobs, focusing on recovering the economy, land redistribution, and distribution of wealth.
He said government would also improve access to quality and relevant education.
"We need to move with urgency. Yes, to provide free higher education, but on an affordable basis."