5 ANC policy proposals that could change SA's economy

Cape Town - Much of the focus has been on the leadership race in the build-up to the ANC’s 54th national conference, but there are also key policy proposals on the table which could change the economic trajectory of the country.

The changes were decided on during fierce debates in the economic commission at the ANC’s national policy conference in June/July. The final proposals were circulated to the party's branches and provinces for further debate and will need to be ratified by the elective conference, before they become official ANC policy.

1. The land expropriation debate

The ANC’s national policy conference resolved that “radical land redistribution is needed” and that all options should be on the table, including changes to the Constitution and tax reforms.

Delegates in the economic commission were split about the best approach to achieve land reform and came up with two options:

Option 1:  The Constitution should be amended to allow the state to expropriate land without compensation.

Option 2:  Section 25 of the constitution (which guarantees property rights) should remain in place, and the state should act more aggressively to expropriate land in line with the ‘just and equitable principle’ in the Constitution.

* The 2012 Mangaung conference resolved to do away with the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ principle for land redistribution, but this is yet to be implemented.

 2. Wealth tax

The ANC’s national policy conference resolved that executive pay should be regulated and inequality levels should be narrowed, as a matter of “national priority”:

  •  A national income policy should be introduced.
  •  The state should develop a wealth tax to invest in skills and infrastructure.

3. Nationalise the Reserve Bank

The ANC’s national policy conference decided that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) should also take employment creation and economic growth into account without “sacrificing price stability” when deciding on monetary policy and interest rates:

  • The Reserve Bank should be 100% owned by the state (private shareholders currently receive nominal returns and have no decision-making powers over monetary policy).
  • There must be regular consultation between the SARB and the minister of finance.

4. Mining matters

Delegates to the ANC’s national policy shied away from resolving that mines should be nationalised. Instead, they focused on the need for greater beneficiation or value added processing.

  • Mining companies should be required to make a percentage of their output available at below market prices to domestic manufacturers to promote local production.
  • The state should levy export taxes on strategic minerals (such as coal) to ensure local beneficiation.

* The new Mining Charter, introduced by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, will be challenged in court by the Chamber of Mines in mid-February 2018.

5. Competition policy

The ANC bemoaned “the high levels of concentration of ownership” in the economy, calling this “dysfunctional” to allowing the entry of black business people. The party’s delegates resolved that:

  •  The Competition Commission should be strengthened and given additional resources to combat anti-competitive business practices.
  •  The Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal’s mandate should be increased and they should be given additional powers to open the market to new black entrants.

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