Pressure on Zuma to move left

2010-09-17 14:03

Cape Town - An ANC policy review conference in Durban next week is expected to be a "window" into what might happen at the party's elective congress in 2012, as pressure mounts on President Jacob Zuma to speed up services to the poor and adopt more radical policies, such as nationalising mines.

Centre for Policy Studies political analyst, Thabo Rapoo, says the four-day national general council (NGC) will give a clear signal of where Zuma stands in the party, as the Cosatu and the ANC Youth League push the ANC to move quicker on promises made at the 2007 Polokwane conference.

"At the NGC in 2005, former president Thabo Mbeki was given a rough ride by the ANC delegates," Rapoo says.

"It was a window into what was to come in 2007 when he was defeated for the party's leadership by Jacob Zuma.

"We have seen President Zuma's support waning in the past months. This NGC could very well give a window into what is to come in 2012."

Cosatu and the ANCYL helped propel Zuma to power in Polokwane, but in the last few months both groups have accused him of stalling on delivering on policies adopted there.

In August, Zuma was on the receiving end of a string of vicious insults over his polygamy and an illegitimate child he fathered, during a strike by about 1.3 million Cosatu-backed public service workers.

'Neglecting the poor'

Questions have also been raised about suspected multi-billion rand mining deals involving his son, while ANCYL leader Julius Malema has urged his members not to follow the example of leaders who take more than one wife.

This week, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the ANC had neglected the poor since coming to power in 1994.

The federation would push the NGC to adopt more left-leaning economic policies, which included creating a state-owned bank to cater for the poor; nationalising vital sectors such as mining, metals and petrochemicals; a more progressive tax system and abolishing inflation targeting, he said.

But, says Rapoo, "We can expect radical statements from the leadership of the ANC as a way of calming activists baying for blood."

The NGC is intended to review how far the current ANC leadership has gone in implementing its Polokwane mandate, but Rapoo says ambitious members of the ANC will use the gathering as a lobbying ground to garner support and test the popularity of certain policies ahead of 2012.

"The meeting will also be where the battle ground is laid out in preparation for 2012," he says.

"It will be a testing ground, an opportunity midway from the 2007 conference in Polokwane, for the party's ambitious future leaders to test their support among the ANC's key constituencies and to start the party's next leadership contest."

Nationalising mines

One of the key policies due to be trumpeted by Cosatu and the ANCYL at the NGC will be nationalising mines.

Government, they say, has been too soft on the mining sector for failing to reach its transformation targets.

The 2004 mining charter requires companies to sell 15% of their South African assets to black investors by the end of 2009, and 26% by 2014, but currently only 8.9% of mining assets are black-owned.

Economists have warned that government does not have the capacity to run a new state-owned entity to oversee nationalised sectors, and that dropping inflation targeting will push inflation higher and cause workers to suffer even more.

Adopting Cosatu's radical proposals would also frighten off investors who already see South Africa's strict labour laws as making the country a less lucrative place for direct investment.

Economist Dawie Roodt says nationalisation does not make "any sense" from a business point of view.

The mining sector pays about R32bn in direct taxes and a large portion of indirect taxes, accounting for 17.3% of total company tax.

The industry also directly contributes 31%, or about R218.8bn, in merchandise exports.

"Between 50 and 60% of what a mine earns is already paid to the government, not only in direct tax, but also salary taxes, VAT and so on," Roodt says.

"If the government takes control of the mines, they will take on 100% risk.

"If I am guaranteed to earn between 50 and 60% on zero risk, I will most definitely go for the 50%. It's a no brainer."

'Serious threat'

Government leaders such as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, have reassured business that nationalisation is not government policy, but Roodt says business has not realised how serious the threat of nationalisation is.

"What is clear is that recently there has been a marked swing in favour of nationalisation within the ANC," he says.

"But the business community seems to think it is nothing to worry about."

Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi says the reason for tensions in the alliance is due to the perception that the Zuma administration has fallen short on policy expectations.

"Yes, Zuma will come under increasing pressure at the NGC, from the left in particular, to effect radical content in economic policy," he says.

It is however, "highly unlikely" that the ANC will adopt nationalisation as one of its polices at the NGC.

"We must keep in mind that the SACP is not with Cosatu and the ANCYL on this issue," he says.

"The SACP see it as a ploy to bale out elements of the BEE club who are in trouble with their mining assets.

"The ANC will probably adopt a non-resolution on nationalisation and seek to postpone debate to after the NGC," he says.


Read more on:    sacp  |  cosatu  |  anc  |  ancyl  |  jacob zuma  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  anc ngc meeting

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:


There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.