We’re still in a freedom fight

2012-06-16 16:56

There has been lots of talk on the second transition, but what is it?

The issue of the second transition is that ours is a democratic power but not an economic power. Economic relations have hardly changed in that context.

Why now?
We are going into the end of our second decade of freedom and there is a realisation it can’t be business as usual.

Our democracy is under siege because not having economic power limits the extent to which you can develop the country.

Under colonialism, a few were co-opted by the ruling elite and this led to the defeat of the democratic struggle.

But isn’t that what black economic empowerment (BEE) is – a few co-opted to the ruling elite?
BEE is exclusively about ownership and less about skills development. Black shareholders cannot even understand how to run the entities they own.

Many ask why a second transition – when did the first transition end? What was the catalyst for the second transition?

The deepening of our democracy cannot be taken any further if we don’t change the economic power relations.

There is a faction of the white population that has taken reconciliation as a weakness.

You can see it in the Brett Murray painting.

The gesture was abused.

What practical steps will underpin the second transition?
It can already be seen – the commitment by government to invest in infrastructure, the increased emphasis on the role of the state.

This opens the way for a different economic paradigm where we can change the semi-colonialist trajectory that is based on exploiting mining resources and focus on beneficiation.

The emphasis should be on manufacturing and an increased focus on skills development.

BEE is being reviewed.

Why is there so much resistance to the term ‘second transition’? Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said this week he didn’t know what it meant and policy documents of the ANC were ‘littered with Marxist jargon’.

Whether you call it second transition or economic transformation, it is healthy to debate these issues.

Is it a Marxist concept?

For the SACP, we approach all issues from a Marxist perspective, but it is not necessarily that. We need economic change.

The recent NEC meeting was said to be heated. Can you comment?
I can’t comment on matters that are internal to the NEC.

But people are spreading misinformation and highlighting divisions inside the organisation.

People are willing to sell the organisation to the highest bidder to get positions.

This is not unrelated to the issue of the second transition.

There is often an emergence of elements in a movement that wants to capture the movement for their own narrow interests.

This leads to the revolution being defeated.

Part of the second transition is to defeat attempts to steal the organisation.

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