The African National Congress Youth League has, over the past couple of days, watched with bemused interest as a variety of ANC leaders and representatives of white monopoly capital have gone to varying degrees of pain to dilute the ANC National Policy Conference resolution on nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy. Their comments have ranged from the wistful to the incoherent and some are as recent as the utterances attributed to Mr Cutifani, CEO of Anglo-Gold Ashanti, in today’s Business Day newspaper.
We are not surprised that Mr Cutifani and his ilk would wish to downplay and deliberately misrepresent the views of the Policy Conference. This is because indeed the decision to nationalise mines will never be accepted by those who continue to reap huge profits on the back of the continued suffering of the black majority who wait with increasing impatience for the realisation of the Freedom Charter demand that the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.
We have also noted the need on the part of ANC leaders to bend over backwards to appease capital in fear of an imperialistic backlash against the radical and progressive decisions taken by branches of the African National Congress at the National Policy Conference. Leaders of the ANC must never be afraid to represent the views of the majority of branches of the ANC. The decisions taken are owned by all of us and represent the continuing frustration of the people with the still untransformed and untransforming state of the South African economy.
It is perhaps necessary though to reiterate the poignant truth and the unambiguous resolution of the National Policy Conference on nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy and it reads as follows:
A comprehensive strategy needs to address the challenges we face in transforming the economy as a whole, and specific sectors. This should include bold forms of state intervention including the following….
State ownership, including more strategic use of existing state-owned companies, as well as strategic nationalization, where deemed appropriate on the balance of evidence. However, conference has rejected wholesale nationalisation
The message from the delegates is unambiguous. The Policy Conference has clearly expressed itself as a directive that nationalisation of mines and other strategic sectors of the economy shall be a policy of the African National Congress emerging from the Manguang Conference (read – in this Lifetime). No amount of rhetoric and apologetic posturing will change the will of the people to ensure that the abundant mineral wealth our country possesses is returned to the people as a whole. Strategic nationalisation further means that for the reasons articulated before, certain mining operations shall get first priority in terms of nationalisation to achieve the following objectives:
• Increase state’s fiscal capacity and democratise the work environment
• Diversification of industrial and services sector, and creation of labour absorbing sectors
• Defence our economic and political sovereignty
• Beneficiation for industrialisation
We applaud the correct and courageous articulation of the Policy Conference’s view by Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma where at the gathering former colonies of Britain, she made the call for Africa to “take control of our natural resources”, and that, “we should beneficiate to get sufficient benefit from these mineral resources”. We hope her words and the aspirations of the ANC National Policy Conference will reverberate beyond the borders of our country to the continent as a whole. An idea whose time has come cannot and will not be killed by the fear of those in the commanding heights of the economy who want to retain the status quo.
We trust that moving forward, mining interests who are clearly aware that they hold on behalf of the people strategic assets which meet the definitive criteria above, including amongst them SASOL, Kumba, Acelor Mittal, will be bold enough to initiate discussions with the ANC led government on how to ensure their return to the people as a whole. To Mr Cutifani, this is the debate mines must join sooner rather than later, not the false debate utilising the euphemism - strategic intervention – when we clearly mean nationalisation.
We trust that the resolution taken by Policy Conference to expropriate land without compensation will not suffer the same fate and necessitate that once again structures of the ANC must rise to defend their views and declare that it is a position of the National Policy Conference to expropriate land without compensation where such was acquired illegally as is the case with most of land still in the hands of unpatriotic South African and foreign land owners.