Juju’s quest for knowledge

2010-04-25 11:50

UNDER-FIRE ANC Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema has

embarked on a globetrotting mission to bolster his campaign to nationalise the

country’s mines.

Malema, who has charges of ­ill-discipline hanging over his head,

is visiting some of the most ­controversial countries to study how they have

nationalised ­economic sectors including mines and banks.

After he concludes his trip to ­Venezuela tomorrow, Malema is set

to fly to Cuba, China, Brazil, ­Zambia, Namibia and Botswana in the next couple

of months.

These “study tours” come after President Jacob Zuma publicly

­condemned Malema’s trip to ­Zimbabwe, where the young leader vowed to support

Robert Mugabe’s hold on power, jeopardising South Africa’s foreign policy on

Harare.

Zuma is the facilitator of the unity talks in Zimbabwe and is seen

as neutral.

Malema is set to appear before the ANC’s disciplinary committee on

May 3.

The international trips could be seen as Malema’s attempt to rise

from the shadow of being ­Zuma’s henchman.

Through the nationalisation campaign, he is ­trying to leave a

lasting legacy of his leadership.

He also wants to project himself as a radical leader of the poor in

the mould of ­Venezuelan President ­Hugo Chavez, former Cuban leader Fidel

Castro and Mugabe.

The league also wants to ­strengthen its argument for

­nationalisation, which was blasted as misguided by the SA Communist Party,

among others.

The call for nationalisation has pitted Malema against some cabinet

members and ANC heavyweights including Minerals Minister Susan Shabangu and ANC

secretary-general Gwede ­Mantashe.

The campaign has also come to ­define the raging succession battle

in the ANC.

Leaders opposed to ­nationalisation are seen as the league’s

­enemies and are not ­likely to get its vote in 2012.

This radical stance has caused some ­jitters in foreign investors.

­Government has had to repeatedly clarify that nationalisation was just a debate

and that it would not be ­policy any time soon.

But neither the ANC nor ­government has come out to say mines will

never be nationalised – which has spurred the ANCYL to ­continue its

campaign.

ANCYL spokesperson Magdalene Moonsamy said the league would learn

about the successes and failures of nationalisation in the various ­countries it

visits.

“This is a practical way of looking at nationalisation. We are

trying to borrow ideas on models,” she said.

Moonsamy said there was a “dire” need to nationalise mines so as to

use the taxes from it to fast track youth ­empowerment programmes.


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