The ANC’s 'radical' and 'drastic' economic policy

2012-06-28 12:02

From 1994 to 2012 the ANC has been characterised by poor service delivery, inability to address key social and economic challenges faced by the black majority. The ANC admits that the first transition was characterised by a framework and a national consensus that may have been appropriate for a political transition, but has proven inadequate and even inappropriate for a social and economic transformation phase. The ANC has expanded the number of emerging black capitalists as a product of democratic change and a direct creation of the task of de-racialising the economy. This has proved to be a recipe for disaster as the vast majority of blacks are still impoverished.

Concerning real economic transformation, the post 1994 democratic State has not achieved anything substantial due to the fact that the economic policy direction taken in the dawn years was not about fundamental transformation, but empowerment/enrichment meant to empower what could inherently be few black aspirant capitalists, without real transfer of wealth to the people as a whole.

This has led to the emergence of the “Second Transition” that needs to specifically to address the socio-economic issues that plague SA.

During a socio-economic transition, white capital will have to be a critical part of consensus on a socio-economic transition. And, as with the political negotiations, they will have their own agenda and tactics.

As the country forges ahead with the “Second Transition;” the struggle for economic emancipation will require a revolutionary ANC prepared to confront white monopoly capital and its compradorial allies amongst the historically oppressed.

In his opening address at the ANC Policy Conference in Midrand President Jacob Zuma said the following:

“The ownership of the economy is still primarily in the hands of white males, in which it has always been.”

Well we all know that but he further added that:

"It is time to ask questions about the present and future... the last 18 years was the first transition. We are calling for a dramatic shift... to deal with the triple challenge[s] of poverty, unemployment and inequality."

The “Second Transition” is radical programme that seeks to transfer the bulk of the wealth of our country into the hands of the people as a whole as dictated by the Freedom Charter.

The ANCYL has been calling for a radical and dramatic shift in economic policy finally the ANC motherbody has listened to them and should implement the economic policies that have been proposed by the Youth League as they are based on the Freedom Charter.

The Freedom Charter is the foundation of South Africa’s Constitution. The vitality and centrality of the Freedom Charter in the National Liberation Movement cannot be undermined, nor neglected for whatever reason. The freedom charter’s clause on economic transformation begins with a clarion call that “the people shall share in the country’s wealth”. This notion is not vague and is properly explained in the clauses that follow, which categorically state;

The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people; the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; all other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people; all people shall have equal rights to trade where they choose, to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions.”

A supposition that the South African economy can be transformed to address the massive unemployment, poverty and inequality crisis without transfer of wealth from those who currently own to the people as a whole is illusionary. The transfer of wealth from the minority should fundamentally focus on the freedom charter specified commanding heights of the economy.

This should include minerals, metals, banks, energy production, and telecommunications and retain the ownership of central transport and logistics modes such as Transnet, SASOL, ESKOM, TELKOM and all Harbours and Airports.

The ANCYL has outlined the benefits of nationalisation of strategic sectors of the economy will include, but not limited to the following realities:

1.    Increased fiscus and therefore more resources for education, housing, healthcare, infrastructure development, safety and security and sustainable livelihoods for our people.

2.    More jobs for our people because State owned and controlled Mines will increase local beneficiation and industrialisation of Mineral resources. This will in turn reduce the high levels of poverty, which is consequent of joblessness.

3.    More equitable spatial development because State owned and controlled Mines will invest in areas where Mining is happening.

4.    Better salaries and working conditions in Mines because State owned Mines will increase the Mining wage and improve compliance to occupational health and safety standards.

5.    Greater levels of economic and political sovereignty as the State will be in control and ownership of strategic sectors of the economy, which produces minerals resources needed across the world.

As the ANC Policy Conference is underway, 6 provinces are supporting the idea of nationalisation. The ANC in Gauteng, the Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape have said they did not have any problems with nationalisation, but were opposed to its crude implementation. On the other hand Limpopo has reiterated its support for an even more radical approach to economic transformation—that mines should be nationalised without compensation.

The black majority who have been disenfranchised have former ANCYL President Julius Malema to thank as he was vociferous and championing the call for “Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime” which has largely led to the “Second Transition” that is currently discussed at the ANC Policy Conference. This could mark the end of the failure of neo-liberal capitalism that continued to support the white minority at the expense of the black majority. The ideals and aspirations of the Freedom Charter that national wealth of the country will be turned over to the native people and will open up fresh fields for the development of a prosperous Non-European bourgeois class.

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