Nationalisation: no decision likely soon

2010-09-22 00:00

THE debate around the nationalisation of mines policy, which will be an integral part of the ANC’s national general council (NGC) discussions today, may be concluded only in two years’ time.

At a briefing attended by local and international media, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe confirmed that the nationalisation issue is going to be discussed when NGC commissions debate the party’s economic transformation policy.

“This will be debated in commissions as the proposal of the ANC Youth League.”

Mantashe said the issue could be referred to the policy conference in 2012.

From there it will go to the national conference for adoption “if it’s successful”.

The ANCYL’s call for the nationalisation of mines sparked a public debate within the ANC alliance marked by public disagreements between ANCYL president Julius Malema and leaders of the other alliance partners.

Cosatu and the SA Communist Party are objecting to the present draft of the ANCYL proposal on the grounds that it is likely “to benefit the elite minority”.

Mantashe denied that the ANC is rejecting the proposal, saying the party is objecting to proposals “being made the monopoly of wisdom by those who made them”.

Turning to the debate about leadership succession and the ban on lobbying, Mantashe said the problem is that the issue is being projected as a plot with a queue of leaders on opposing sides.

Lobbying would open at the right time, after the policy conference, which always precedes the national conference.

Mantashe said the ANC will resist attempts to change the character of the organisation by a small group of people who want to use money to exert their control.

Asked about the debate around a weaker or stronger rand, Mantashe said the ANC prefers a “competitive rand”, one which impacts positively on the South African economy and is not detrimental to other sectors of the economy.

Regarding the party’s concerns that some individuals are using their elective positions as stepping stone to power, he described this as an “alien tendency” within the ANC.

Although membership within the coloured and Indian communities has declined, Mantashe said that during last year’s election the ANC doubled its support from white voters from three percent in 2004 to six percent in 2009.

ANC membership grew by about 129 000 between 2007 and 2010, he added.

ADDRESSING questions from reporters about the media appeals tribunal, Mantashe said the media must engage the ANC on the issue as the party believes members of the public who are not satisfied with the rulings of the press ombudsman should have recourse to appeal.

He declared that the South African media are too powerful and cannot be given an authoritative right to trample on people’s rights.

A media tribunal would strengthen rather weaken the current system of self-regulation by journalists, he added.

Since the debate had started, more apologies have appeared in newspapers. “The problem is people don’t check their facts …”

He said he believes an appeals panel independent of the press ombudsman is needed so that aggrieved parties have somewhere else to go. “There must be a way that you can appeal a ruling by the ombudsman,” he said.

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