The transformation of South Africa's economy is inevitable, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday evening.
He was speaking at the Black Business Council (BBC) dinner under the theme Economic Recovery.
"I would say to those who are dismissing this term, sit down, listen, smell the coffee... realise that the transformation of our economy is non-negotiable," said Ramaphosa.
He said the government had hoped to create more sustainable growth, higher investment, increased employment, reduced inequality and to deracialise the economy.
"It has to happen and it is going to happen whether people like it or not, it has to and it needs to," continued Ramaphosa.
The deputy president said radical economic transformation was essentially about building an inclusive and more collective economy in the country.
As South Africa moves closer to the African National Congress's (ANC's) national elective conference in December and its policy conference in June many are paying even closer attention to its leaders, particularly Ramaphosa who said he was available for the role of becoming the ANC's president when the incumbent Jacob Zuma steps down in December.
Ramaphosa is facing fierce competition for the role from former African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has herself made strong remarks regarding the need for radical economic transformation. Sharing similar views, Ramaphosa said transformation is what leaders in the country have been called to do.
"It is in the end about building a more equal society, drawing one third of working age South Africans into the mainstream," said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa, who received a warm reception from various business leaders in the room, also received rapturous applause when he was mistakenly called "Mr President" twice by the programme director George Sebulela, Secretary General of the BBC.
Ramaphosa said the government needed to increase the level of interventions that often leave some without getting assistance.
"Our political life at the moment is fractious, with public sentiments appearing to be more polarised and public discourse more charged and shriller than any other time since 1994," he said.