Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nationalisation of Mines is a Freedom Charter principle.


Floyd Shivambu

The ANC Youth League’s perspective officially released in 2010 towards the historic 1st National General Council of the ANC Youth League to substantiate the case for Nationalisation of Mines dealt substantially with the question of the Freedom Charter and Nationalisation of Mines. The perspective dedicated a chapter on this question, because the ANC Youth League foresaw the possibility of right-wing, unseasoned, and opportunistic elements misinterpreting the true meaning of the Freedom Charter when it says, “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[1]”.

The Free Market Foundation has as part of its submissions to the ANC 53rd National Conference released a perspective which claims that nationalisation of Mines is not in the Freedom Charter.  It is not the first time the Free Market Foundation makes this hilarious claim, and when they first did in February 2011, the ANC Youth League issued an official statement, which amongst other things said,
“Common about the group that is debating Nationalisation of Mines for the Free Market Foundation is the reality that all of them have not read the ANC Youth League’s perspective document on Nationalisation of Mines, which clarifies in great detail some of the concerns they raise in their booklet. To parade their political bankruptcy and intellectual laziness some members of the right wing group try to revise a tired argument that the Freedom Charter does not call for Nationalisation of Mines. This is despite the fact that the ANC Youth League dedicated adequate time to this question and clarifying beyond any doubt that the ANC and entire National Liberation Movement’s interpretation of the Freedom Charter is consistent with what the ANC resolved in the 3rd National General Council in 2010, i.e. greater consensus on nationalisation of Mines and other strategic sectors of the economy”. 

Now, to help the Free-markerteers understand this question better, we as defenders of the Freedom Charter, Economic Freedom Fighters and revolutionary activists who hold the values and principles of the ANC-led National Liberation Movement dear to our hearts, re-publish what the ANC Youth League’s perspective on Nationalisation of Mines says. Perhaps this will help educate and enlighten these people who continue to mislead themselves on the important question of Nationalisation of Mines. The full document is accessible on


1.       The Freedom Charter is a document of the people of South Africa, hoisted by the ANC, SACP, COSATU, COSAS, SASCO, SANCO and all Mass Democratic Movement formations as the torchbearer that should lead South Africa to total political, social and economic emancipation of the black majority and Africans in particular. To the progressive Mass Democratic Movement, the Freedom Charter is a direct result of the two ANC Conferences before 1955 and a subsequent intensive, nation-wide consultative process led by the entire Congress movement with the people of South Africa. The Freedom Charter is therefore an expression of the social, political and economic will of South Africans, not personal intellectual property of the people who participated in its formulation.

  1. The Freedom Charter was proposed by the CAPE ANC region and a direct resolution of the ANC 42nd National Conference resolution in 1953, which instructed the National Executive Committee of the ANC, “to make immediate preparations for the organisation of a CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLE OF S.A.[2]" whose task shall be to work out a "FREEDOM CHARTER" for all peoples and groups in the country[3]
  2. “. The resolution on the Freedom Charter was re-affirmed in the ANC 43rd National Conference in 1954, which said “This Conference declares its unqualified support for the great Congress of the People sponsored by the National Organisations of this country. In this connection Conference enjoins all National Organisations, Church movements and associations to support, join in and participate in the great Campaign for the calling of the mighty Congress of the People having as its aim the drawing up of a Freedom Charter embodying the aspirations of the people of South Africa for a future free, united, multi-national, democratic community in which oppression and exploitation will be a thing of the past[4]”.

4.       The authentic Congress of the People adopted the Freedom Charter on the 26th of June 1955 in Kliptown in what is hailed as the greatest moment in the history of the National Liberation Movement in South Africa. Nelson Mandela says that “the intensive and nation-wide political campaigning that preceded it, the 2,844 elected delegates of the people that attended, the attention it attracted far and wide and the favourable comment it continues to receive at home and abroad from people of divers political opinions and beliefs long after its adoption, are evidence of this fact[5]”. The Freedom Charter heralded a heroic and dedicated struggle for the emancipation of the black majority and Africans in particular, and united all progressive forces against apartheid repression, oppression and exploitation. To this day, the clearest expression of the alliance’s common programme is the Freedom Charter. 

5.       Although adopted a year later, the ANC National Executive Committee report to the ANC 44th National Conference in 1955 said, “The Freedom Charter is the sum total of our aspirations, but more: it is the road to the new life. It is the uniting creed of all the people struggling for democracy and for their rights; the mirror of the future South Africa. The defeat of the Nationalists and the course of the Congress movement depend on every fighter for freedom grasping fully the meaning and significance, and the purpose of the Freedom Charter[6]”. Notably, the Freedom Charter was extensively deliberated upon in the 1956 Congress and faced fierce opposition from within the African National Congress, not only as a policy perspective, but the ultimate strategic objective of the African National Congress.

6.       Writing about the Freedom Charter in 1956, Nelson Mandela said. “Never before has any document or conference been so widely acclaimed and discussed by the democratic movement in South Africa. Never before has any document or conference constituted such a serious and formidable challenge to the racial and anti-popular policies of the country[7]”. In the ANC 44th National Conference in 1955, the National Executive Committee said, “The Charter is no patchwork collection of demands, no jumble of reforms[8]”.  Writing about the Freedom Charter in 1956, Nelson Mandela says, “The Charter is more than a mere list of demands for democratic reforms. It is a revolutionary document precisely because the changes it envisages cannot be won without breaking up the economic and political set-up of present South Africa[9]”.

7.       Various historical narrations point to the reality that the Freedom Charter is a product of intensive campaigns and engagement with the people of South Africa. The ANC NEC report to the 44th National Conference says that the Freedom Charter was adopted with “one million signatures: 450,000 in the Transvaal; 350,000 in the Cape; 150,000 in Natal; and 50,000 in the Free State”. The million signatures appended to the Freedom Charter happened within a population of 12,5 million people in South Africa, and this illustrates the weight the Freedom Charter has and no one could ever think of undermining or misinterpreting the Freedom Charter. The Freedom Charter belongs to the people of South Africa and such will never change anytime soon.

8.       To signify the vitality of the Freedom Charter in the African National Congress, the 1958 Constitution of the ANC declared that the Charter as one of the ANC’s aims and objectives. Under aims and objects, the 1958 ANC Constitution commits the ANC, “to strive for the attainment of universal adult suffrage and the creation of a united democratic South Africa on the principles outlined in the Freedom Charter[10]”. The ANC Constitution adopted in the 1991 National Conference reaffirms the same principle in saying that the aims and objectives of the ANC shall be “To end apartheid in all its forms and transform South Africa as rapidly as possible into a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country based on the principles of the Freedom Charter[11]”. Since 1991, the ANC compels all its members to sign a declaration upon joining the organisation to solemnly declare to “abide by the aims and objectives of the ANC as set out in the Constitution and the Freedom Charter[12]”. What this means is that all members of the ANC currently joined the ANC to amongst other things, fulfil the principles of the Freedom Charter. The 1994, 1997, 2002 and 2007 Constitution re-affirms the principles of the Freedom Charter as aims and objectives of the ANC and obliges all members to abide by it’s the Charter upon joining the African National Congress.

9.       The vitality of the Freedom Charter in the Congress Movement cannot be overemphasised because it occupies a special space in the Congress movement. The Freedom Charter is the lifeblood of the Congress Movement and any attempt to replace it as a strategic vision has potential to turn the Congress alliance into a myopic formation. It is not only the replacement of the Freedom Charter which will impact on the ideological character of the Congress movement, but also attempts and actions that seek to give it a liberal interpretation.

Nationalisation vs. Ownership by the people as a whole

10.   In the ANC, “transfer of mineral wealth beneath the soil, monopoly industries and banks to the ownership of the people as a whole” was correctly understood as nationalisation, if the government that nationalises can justly claim authority and based on the will of the people. In the aftermath of the ANC’s adoption of the Freedom Charter, the ANC recurrently affirmed “transfer of ownership to the people as a whole” as amounting to a legitimate government’s control and ownership of the commanding heights of the economy or nationalisation.

11.   In 1955, the revolutionary ANC secretary general, Walter Sisulu said of the Freedom Charter that, “ it [The Freedom Charter] is the basic law of our liberatory movement, a declaration of principles uniting all the people in our land, except for the few reactionaries, who see in the Charter the end of their long established domination and exploitation. The Charter is the picture of future South Africa, in which oppression and exploitation shall be no more[13]”.

12.   Responding to a critique of the Freedom Charter by a Jordan K. Ngubane, who was against the economic clause of the Freedom Charter, President Albert Luthuli said in June 1956 that, “In modern society, even amongst the so-called capitalistic countries, nationalisation of certain industries and commercial undertakings has become an accepted and established fact. Only the uninitiated and ignorant would suggest that the Union of South Africa is going to Moscow because its Railways, Broadcasting and Post Office services are nationalised[14]”. President Luthuli further illustrated that nationalisation as called for in South Africa and in the Freedom Charter did not amount to the Moscow style command economy, and this point is categorically stated in the July 2009 ANC YL’s conceptual basis on nationalisation.

13.   Again in 1956, a leader of the ANC, Nelson Mandela said, “It is true that in demanding the nationalisation of the banks, the gold mines and the land the Charter strikes a fatal blow at the financial and gold-mining monopolies and farming interests that have for centuries plundered the country and condemned its people to servitude. But such a step is absolutely imperative and necessary because the realisation of the Charter is inconceivable, in fact impossible, unless and until these monopolies are first smashed up and the national wealth of the country turned over to the people[15]”. There is absolutely no confusion on the understanding the leadership of the ANC had on the Freedom Charter, and the contemporary interpretations should not confuse us.

14.   Former ANC President Oliver Tambo said in the 1969 political report of the National Executive Committee to the National Consultative Conference in Morogoro that, “At the moment there are vast monopolies whose existence affects the livelihood of large numbers of our people and whose ownership is in the hands of Europeans only. It is necessary for monopolies which vitally affect the social well-being of our people such as the mines, the sugar and wine industry to be transferred to public ownership so that they can be used to uplift the life of all the people[16]”. In his first public address after release from prison, former President Nelson Mandela said, “nationalisation of the mines, banks and monopoly industry is the policy of the ANC and a change or modification of our view in this regard is inconceivable[17]”. Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Chief Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela played critical role in the consultation for the Freedom Charter and adoption by the ANC, and they could not be mistaken.


15.   In 1955, South Africa’s economy was monumentally dependant on the extraction, production and trade of Mineral Resources. Minerals beneath the soil, whilst prospectively useful, cannot be shared amongst the people because they are beneath the soil, not extracted, produced and traded. The only reasonable way to ensure that the people share in the country’s wealth through transfer of mineral wealth beneath the soil to the ownership of the people as a whole had to necessarily happen through extraction, production, trade and beneficiation of these minerals. Reducing the “transfer ownership of mineral wealth beneath the soil” as literally referring to controlling of mineral rights is totally disingenuous and dishonest, and squarely falls within the liberal interpretation of what the Freedom Charter envisages”.


Now, with this background provided and the point proven beyond reasonable doubt, the Free Market Foundation should also be reminded that the ANC 3rd National General Council that took place in Durban in 2010 established greater consensus on Nationalisation of Mines and other strategic sectors of the economy. This perspective led to the research process that culminated in the State Intervention in the Minerals Sector (SIMS) report tabled for discussion at the Policy Conference and in 53rd National Conference.

Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong for members of society and various groupings to try influence the policy direction of the ANC, they must not do so on wrong basis and foundation because such will simply fail. The question that ANC Conference will respond to is whether the people of South Africa are maximally benefiting from the current minerals and resource management strategy and formula. The fact is that they are not and there should be change and the most decisive and clearly defined intervention is transfer of mineral wealth, banks and monopoly industries to the ownership of the people as a whole.

[1] Freedom Charter
[2] ANC 42nd National Conference resolutions, Queenstown, December 1953
[3] Ibid.
[4] ANC 43rd National Conference resolutions, December 1954.
[5] Nelson Mandela, (1956), In our Lifetime, Liberation, June 1956
[6] ANC National Executive Committee report, ANC 44TH National Conference, 1955.
[7] Nelson Mandela, (1956), In our Lifetime, Liberation, June 1956.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Nelson Mandela, (1956), In our Lifetime, Liberation, June 1956
[10] ANC Constitution, January 1958.
[11] ANC Constitution, 1991
[12] ANC Constitution, 1991, 1994, 1197, 2002, 2007.
[13] Walter Sisulu, (1955), Forward with the Freedom Charter, Fighting Talk Journal, 1955.
[15] Nelson Mandela, (1956), In our Lifetime, Liberation, June 1956
[16] ANC National Executive Committee Political Report to the 1st National Consultative Conference, Morogoro, 1969.
[17] Nelson Mandela public addresses in Cape Town, February 1990

Saturday, December 08, 2012

KGALEMA Motlanthe for ANC President!!

Kgalema Motlantheis an embodiment of organisational democracy and renewal

Floyd Shivambu 

Most news reports and analyses over the past week reached the same conclusion that the recent outcomes of the ANC Provincial General Councils, most of which misrepresented the outcomes of Branch General Meetings is a result of President Kgalema Motlanthe not campaigning for the Presidency or any leadership position in the African National Congress. Whilst superficially valid, this supposition does not hold water because in the ANC and all normal society, recognition and acknowledgment of leadership capabilities and deciding on the vital questions of when, where, what and who to lead should be the function on those who will be led post election of those leaders. It can never be correct that any leader of the ANC will actively campaign for leadership positions, encouraging and promising incentives to those who will rally behind him/her to take leadership responsibilities because such comes with so many pecks and benefits in the ANC. True Leadership is earned through one's conduct, not by attracting tribal, regional and corruption loyalties.

It is unfortunate that towards and post ANC 52nd National Conference in Polokwane, a strong and relevant tradition of the ANC on leadership identification and election has been eroded by a strong culture of factional lobbying, campaign, dispesantion of patronage and promises of incentives for those who will rally behind those campaigning. This in itself is organisatinally apocalyptic, because it opens space for many organisational ills such as corruption, mediocrity, tribalism, patronage, regionalism, sexism and ageism. These will of course be consequent of campaigned for leadership positions because in the election ramp, those campaigning will seek tribal, regional, and patronage loyalty and support aimed at consolidating their power base. This notion altogether defeats the reason why the ANC was formed 100 years ago to unite all Africans against racist colonial domination.

Now, as an embodiment of true traditions of and organisational democracy in the ANC, Comrade President Kgalema Motlanthe refused to be drawn into factional wars and leadership campaigns for the 53rd National Conference. This he did even when leaders of provinces, the leagues and distinguished individuals in society called on him to rescue and save the ANC from mediocrity and further degeneration. Comrade Motlanthe refused to be drawn into elections campaign for the ANC 53rd National Conference even when the incumbent President went on an aggressive campaign for re-election, visiting the Eastern Cape for an absurd number of times, sometime for hilarious purposes, sometimes tents falling on him, in the effort to win votes. Comrade Kgalema refused to degenerate into a street fighter who would do everything for personal glory and immediate self gratification. He did not do so because he knows that campaigning for leadership positions in the ANC comes at the expense of important and irreplaceable organisational values and practices that have kept the movement together for more than 100 years.

Comrade President Kgalema Motlanthe did not campaign and never embroiled himself in factional activities, not because he does not have the credentials and capacity to brandish about his experiences and capacity to lead. He did so because of his profound respect of and honour to heroes and heroines who sacrificed their lives to build this glorious movement. Post 100 years of its existence, and as a political governing party confronted with massive socio-economic and developmental challenges, the ANC would not get any other better leader than Kgalema Motlanthe. It does not need rocket science to acknowledge and know that to confront the massive internal challenges, the ANC needs maximum unity, and to confront the massive socio-economic and developmental challenges, the country needs to be united by the ANC. Comrade President Kgalema Motlanthe is by far the only uniting character and personality needed to lead the ANC. Any other leader, in particular the incumbent President brings a sense of discomfort and is the most divisive and stratifying leader the ANC had to deal with since its 5th President Pixley ka Isaka Seme in the 1930s. 

President Kgalema Motlanthe is needed to lead the ANC because he is truly a caring and loving man, whose character and personality dovetails what the ANC ought to be. When he was General Secretary of the NUM, he, out of love for education and progress of the previously disadvantaged communities, created a bursary fund to educate children of mineworkers whose meagre salaries could not liberate them and their children from absolute poverty. Long before the talk of Nationalisation of Mines, Comrade Kgalema Motlanthe was amongst the first to suggest that the State should take control of some of the Mines and use the proceeds to fund free, quality education for the poor. When the ANC Youth League was dealing with the difficult question of Africans' representation in high skill and technical responsibilities in both the private and public sector, President Kgalema Motlanthe wisely recommended a focused scholarship for South African students, which will take students to the best Universities in the world to attain skills, education and training which will benefit the whole of society in the future. 

President Motlanthe makes these innovative and creative interventions because he truly cares about and is concerned about the education of African children. Whether others care about education of the African child is something that leaves a lot to be desired with unjustifiable inaction over those who could not deliver books for teaching and learning in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape. The rabid decline and cheapening of South Africa's education systems happens under the supervision of these people, perhaps because they do not see any value in education because education has not added any value into their lives. These are realities we are faced with when it comes to the important question of leadership selection in the ANC 53rd National Conference. President Kgalema Motlanthe is an honorable man of his word, who is not compromised, not conflicted on the important tasks that the ANC and government should confront. He won't advocate for rural development simply because he intends to develop his homestead at the expense of many other important developments. He won't duck and dive from the rule of law because because as a President he knows that he carries an obligation and responsibility to inspire citizens' confidence in the rule of law and Constitutional democracy.

Most importantly, Comrade President Kgalema Motlanthe is not conservative and will never do anything that tries to preserve useless and irrelevant truths of the past. He acknowledges the vitality of upward mobility and mordern better ways in terms of ideas and means to confront social, economic and political challenges. He will never resuscitate reactionary cultural practices and norms to further divide the country on the important questions of what is to be done judicially, legally, economically, socially and politically. This he appreciates because the ANC, South Africa and the world are getting younger, more knowledgeable and importantly those born in 1994, the year of South Africa's democratic dispensation will be voting or the first time in 2014. This is not insignificant because throughout the world, liberation movements confront massive challenges post 20 years of political independence. 

All these important features and vital incompetable aspects about President Kgalema Motlanthe might and will be ignored by some of the delegates to the 53rd National Conference of the ANC on the basis that 1) he does not speak the same language as some of the delegates, 2) he does not come from the province/region where the delegates are from, 3) has not promised anyone a Ministerial position or easy access to business deals, 4) has not promised anyone to instal them as provincial leaders or Premiers post Conference, and 5) has not hopped into election ramp to promise communities things which he won't or can't do. This does not make him an irrelevant, less important and unseasoned leader, it instead makes him the most perfect candidate for the Presidency of the ANC who will unite all people of South Africa to confront the massive challenges and crises of poverty, unemployment and inequalities. This needs delegates of the ANC to rise above mediocrity, tribalism, regionalism, factionalism, patronage, and elect President Kgalema Motlanthe to lead the ANC as its President post 53rd National Conference. Any other outcome will never help the ANC, but will instead cause further divisions in the ANC and society and this will make it impossible for the ANC to meaningfully impact on their lives. Kgalema is the only hope and the most vital embodiment of organisational democracy needed to take the ANC forward. He does not sacrifice principle for political convenience.

Floyd Shivambu - economic freedom fighter 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

President Julius Malema and Deputy President Ronald Lamola should rise above the differences.


Floyd Shivambu 

I have over the past week read with incredulity the statements of fellow Economic Freedom Fighters in the formal structures of the ANC Youth League National Executive Committee and now the views of President Julius Malema on the approach of Deputy President Ronald Lamola. I do so because as economic freedom fighters, we are engaged in the same war, and because of the complexity of the war and the dynamism that came to define the terrain of struggle, we had to fight on different battlegrounds and fight different battles whilst the intention is to win the war for economic freedom in our lifetime. Indeed the war is war to attain economic freedom in our lifetime and when presenting the Programme of Action for Economic Freedom in our Lifetime during the 24th National Congress, we concluded by saying that the ANC's 53rd National Conference is an important battle in the war for economic freedom and all fighters should work in unity, ditching petty differences to ensure an important step forward towards attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime. An immediate threat to the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime is disunity of the fighting forces and such disunity can be nipped in the bud.

Our definition and conceptualisation of Economic Freedom is that it should necessarily culminate in the realization of all Freedom Charter objectives, where land is owned by those who work it and the mines, banks and monopoly industries are transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole. In a programmatic necessity, the economic freedom programme of action adopted by the ANC Youth League 24th National Conference in June 2011 has 7 pillars, which include education and training, development of the African economy, land redistribution and agricultural development, Nationalisation for industrialisation, development for growth, building a democratic, corruption-free and tender-free developmental state, and many other vital components of what is do be done to rescue South Africa from the crises of unemployment, poverty and massive inequalities. Now, I know that most cadres in the ANC Youth League, in particular Comrades President and Deputy President are genuinely committed to these important pillars for economic freedom in our lifetime. In fact, to refer to Comrades President and Deputy President's devotion to the struggle for economic freedom as 'commitment' is a radical understatement, because these cadres have internalized and are actual embodiments of the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime, in the same manner in which comrades Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Govan Mbeki, and many others were an embodiment of the struggle agains racial oppression.

This devotion and embodiment are values that bind and will hold all economic freedom fighters together. From the 24th National Congress, we already had identified what could be potential challenges to the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime. Amongst these many challenges we said election of weaker and less determined leadership collective in the 53rd National Conference might be a setback because in a revolution, subjective factors have potential to undermine the revolution itself, since those at the forefront might not know what to do, when and how, thus opening space for imperialist backlash. The ANC Youth League's leadership perspective was to be derived from these assertions, summarized in the notion that we will only support leaders of the ANC who are committed to radical economic policy shift and committed to the struggle for economic freedom. Because of the lessons we derived out of many revolutions across the world, we then agreed that younger, energetic and organisationally grounded leaders of the ANC should be given the responsibility to lead the movement because younger people are not conservative and will not conserve truths of the past in executing the tasks to attain economic freedom in our lifetime. The motion of generational mix arose out of this context.

As the two most senior commanders in the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime, both President Julius Malema and Deputy President Ronald Lamola carry the responsibility and obligation of this generation to guide all progressive forces towards victory of the war for economic freedom in our lifetime. Tactical blunders and mistakes, which include miscommunication, have potential to throw confusion amongst economic freedom fighters and disorganise the struggle for total economic emancipation. These two leaders of the movement should internalize it within themselves that on their shoulders, rest a massive burden to lead the struggle for the emancipation of so many young people who are hopeless and dejected due to problems of the post democratic dispensation. Differences on the tactical options and what is to be immediately done have potential to undermine and compromise the strategic mission we have identified for ourselves. The reason why the generation that made the clarion call for "Freedom in Our Lifetime" in the 1949s was able to lead South Africa into political freedom and emancipation is because despite their differences on tactics, they were united. ISithwalandwe Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhaba, Oliver Tambo never agreed on all tactical options, but they never engaged in anything that would send confusing messages to the masses of our people. They in fact had differences on many occasions, but those were never elevated to the level of divisions. The notion that in politics there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends is ahistorical and reactionary and does not apply to revolutionary politics. The Cuban July 26 Movement disputes this and many other revolutions.

In resolving these internal differences, certain factual acknowledgments and admissions should be made, and these are some of them: 1) President Julius Malema remains the commander in chief for Economic Freedom Fighters and the outcomes of the faction called ANC National Disciplinary Committee do not hold water in the struggle and in formal structures of the ANC Youth League - the self appointment as Acting President therefore does not arise; 2) There is completely nothing wrong with giving support to President Julius Malema during the court appearances and members of the ANC Youth League should never be made uncomfortable to support him; 3) Deputy President Ronald Lamola has not betrayed the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime and has not changed the collective view that there should be change of leadership in the ANC 53rd National Conference, and 4) The ANC Youth League and the struggle for Economic freedom in our lifetime is bigger than all of us and should never be compromised, nor drowned in sounds of tactical differences on what should constitute the change in the 53rd National Conference battleground. These are realities which we all need to acknowledge and seek guidance from on what is to be done from now henceforth.

The ANC Youth League 24th National Conference was correct to say that subjective weaknesses and challenges have potential to undermine the revolution, and if these unnecessary differences and bickering are not discontinued, we run the risk of undermining the struggle for economic freedom in our lifetime and once again delay the emancipation of the downtrodden, hopeless and suffering masses of our people. We need to rise above these differences and unite our people for the common good and avoid playing into the hands of the enemy camp, because the political battles in the ANC are not insignificant. The strategic enemy of our struggle is Capital and imperialism, those we politically oppose in the ANC are their representatives and if we continue fighting amongst ourselves, these representatives of white monopoly capital will ascend to position of leadership and continue to cause more strife and suffering to the masses of our people. It is a fact that retention of the status quo will lead to the decline of the ANC in electoral politics and the confidence the people have on the ANC will slowly, but sure diminish. By electing the current leadership under the misguidance of President Jacob Zuma for 2nd term, the ANC would have institutionalised corruption, mediocrity, lack of accountability, factionalism, tribalism and ideological directionlessness. That is why unity in opposing this political apocalypse is paramount.

As one of the Commissars in the struggle for Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime, I believe it is now the responsibility and obligation of President Julius Malema and Deputy President Ronald Lamola to guide economic freedom fighters towards the important battlefield for Economic freedom in our lifetime. Immediate self gratification, competing for space to assert authority, bickering, and anything of that sort will send confusing messages and we dare not fail in the important task of taking the revolution to another level. History will judge us badly and will condemn us to failures who could not resolve their own internal differences and chose public space to release divisive statements and make divisive articulations which will not benefit the revolution. This struggle is not about us as individuals; it is about the oppressed people of South Africa, Africa and the world. I have read before about a Military wing of a revolutionary movement that went to exile, and ended up arresting, executing and assassinating many amongst its own soldiers, than executing and destroying the enemy forces. I have the privilege of knowing that the Command team of economic freedom fighters share the same vision and will be able to rise above the tactical differences and guide all forces of change to total victory. Victory is certain and we must never despair.

Floyd Shivambu is an Economic Freedom Fighter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nkandla is not rural development, it is Zuma family's development.


Floyd Shivambu 

Reccurently, the defenders of Mr. Jacob Zuma have failed to justify the more than R240 million expended on the development of the private residence of Mr. Jacob Zuma in Nxamalala village, in Nkandla, and like drowning men and women clung on straws of portraying the development of his private residence as rural development. As part of this drowning band, the South African Communist Party in KwaZulu Natal, which is under the constant and permanent political and ideological puppetry of SACP Head Office released a public statement which made the most hilarious of claims, observations and proposals on the developments of the private residence of Mr. Zuma in Nkandla. 

Amongst these many claims and observations are the following, 1) Rural development is one of the five priorities which were identified by the Polokwane conference as needing an urgent attention. The SACP in the Moses Mabhida Province call for the rural development to be implemented without any hindrance from all forms of counter revolutionary forces; 2) We demand that the people of Inkandla should not be discriminated in government programmes to develop rural areas simply because they have the President of the Republic as one of their residents, and 3) The PEC also resolved to campaign for the promulgation of an Act which will protect dignity of the Office of the President.

Due to these observations, then this "Vanguard of the Working class" said "In the light of the recent attacks on rural development which is inaccurately characterised as priorisation of Inkandla, the SACP will embark on a massive protest march in support of rural development which is currently taking place throughout the Republic. Rural development is one of the five priorities that were identified after the Polokwane conference as needing an urgent attention. We call on all disciplined cadres of the movement to support rural development as was agreed in Polokwane. The march will take place at Mthiyaqwa school and proceed to Inkandla Municipality next to a sports stadium".

Now this is the Communist Party, which says that what is happening in Nkandla is rural development and that South Africa's institutions of democracy should now be utilized to protect Mr. Zuma from those who will dare question the conspicous expenditure of government resources on his private residence, whilst even his most immediate neighbours do not have decent shelter. This is the Communist Party, which will mobilize the working class and the poor to go sing and dance in defence of such callous usage of State resources which can benefit thousands of many people in and oitside Nkandla. Perhaps this is inspired by the coincidence that both the Minister and Deputy Minister responsible for such expenditures are officials of the SACP, as Deputy National Chairperson and 1st Deputy General Secretary respectively.

The glaring inconsistencies of how the SACP characterizes Nkandla also exposes that there is neither political, nor ideological sound principle behind its construction. Whilst the foot soldiers in KwaZulu Natal misnamed it rural development, the ideological puppet masters in COSATU House, now based in Pretoria call it a necessary security upgrade for the President, because as Mr. Thulas Nxesi says, "The President cannot be treated like any other other ordinary person.... This is the President we are talking about here". He is indeed not an ordinary person, because he stands accused of R500 000 corruption and agrees to diversion of more than R200 million of public funds into his private residence. Such is extra-ordinary. 

Now back to basics, it is instructive to indicate hat the ANC took its first set of comprehensive resolutions on rural development in the 52nd National Conference in Polokwane in December 2007. None of the resolutions suggested that the State should expend multimillionaire on the rabid developments of the private residence of Mr. Zuma. The resolutions were centered on the following key pillars derived from the Freedom Charter; 1) Land restitution, 2) Issuing of agricultural implements to small scale farmers, 3) opening of markets for small scale agricultural practitioners in rural areas, and 4) building of capacity in rural areas for beneficiation and processing of agricultural products so as to build a sustainable rural economy. Not once was it ever suggested or even implied that the State will use Public Works money, the department which is not responsible for rural development, to expend millions of Rands on the develoment of the private residence of Mr. Zuma.

The R240 million allocated for Nkandla private residence of Mr. Zuma was spent on the few hectares of his private land, not on land restitution, not on providing implements to agricultural practitioners. It is therefore bizarre of anyone to try and justify these expenses as rural development and even organize innocent people to go dance and sing in Defence of corruption. It does not need a Public Protector to know that what is happening in Nkandla is corruption, because it is corruption even if it can be approved by the highest court in South Africa.

It is not justifiable in any way to expend so much money on the private residence of anyone, even when that person is a sitting President. There already exists three multimillion Rands official residences of a sitting President in South Africa, in Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban. There is no need and there can never be any need to expend so much money in Nkandla. Those who have been to Nkandla will know that even after the multimillion rand expenditures in the development of the private residence of President Zuma, there is still no rural development in Nkandla. The people of Nkandla live in dire poverty, affected by the same crisis of unemployment, starvation and inequalities, now worsened by the fact that there is a Multimillionare amongst them whose multimillions come from the public purse.

Now, how would a Party of the working class, actually the Vanguard of the working class be the number one defenders of such pure corruption, which I define as diversion of public money into self enrichment and self gratification? Why is the Communist Party planning to sing and dance over the fact that the sitting President is complicit in diverting public funds into his personal enrichment, whilst his immediate neighbours do not have decent shelter? These questions we should answer urgently before the Act to silence such answers is passed as proposed by the SACP in KwaZulu Natal, or should we just say their puppet Masters in Pretoria? 

The sad reality is that now and historically, those who claimed and claim to be vanguard of the working class get transformed into a rapacious nomenklatura whose greed is far much deeper and more dangerous than that of the ruling class in a capitalist society. This kind of nomenklatura is often accompanied by efforts to suppress any form of dissent, and at worse associated with executions and assassinations of those who question such practices. Some of us previously thought that the Communist Party in South Africa will overcome such weaknesses, but it was not to be so because the SACP is the number one defender of corruption and corrupt practices in the guise of defending the Polokwane revolution that was never a revolution, but replacement of the governing elite. 

ANC members should save the ANC and society from these practices and tendicies because if not, we will soon be deprived of the right to say that Mr. Jacob Zuma is directionless, lacks capacity, lacks morals, lacks integrity, lacks intelligence, wisdom and knowledge to save South Africa from the crises of unemployment, poverty and inequalities because he is busy concentrating on himself and his private residence development. It is one painful thing to be deprived of resources for equitable development, but it will be more painful to be deprived the right to say that our rights to shelter is deprived by the rapacious, gluttonous and greedy nomenklatura that is guising as champions of the working class and the poor. George Carlin was correct when he said, "Never underestimate the power of stupid people, in large numbers".

Floyd Shivambu is an Economic Freedom Fighter

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zuma is misleading the ANC and South Africa on the land question.

EROSION OF ORGANISATIONAL DEMOCRACY IN THE ANC WILL LEAD TO ITS DEMISE: Proposal by President Zuma on land reform are hogwash and not in line with ANC policy.

Floyd Shivambu
On Tuesday, the 23rd of October 2012, a significant number of news reports pointed to a “new” land reform proposal posited by President Jacob Zuma during his address to the African Farmers Association of South Africa Congress. No one knows where these proposal come from but “It proposes that each district establishes a district land reform committee where all stakeholders are involved to be responsible for identifying 20% of the commercial agricultural land in the district and giving commercial farmers the option of assisting its transfer to black farmers". The President is reported to have further said that “In this way, land can be found without distorting markets”.

The gist of the proposal is contained in his assertion that the State will buy the land from its current owners at 50% of the market value, which is not very far from the market value. Paraphrased, this proposal says that the shortfall of the current land owner would be made up by cash or in-kind contributions from commercial farmers in the district who volunteer to participate. This sounds so profound from a President who since assumption of office as President of the ANC in 2007 and of the country in 2009 has never come up with a coherent and substantial policy proposal on how South Africa should respond to the developmental crises of poverty, unemployment and socio-economic inequalities.

President Jacob Zuma has never proposed anything coherent because more often than not, he misdiagnoses the real causes of South Africa’s challenges. In one instance he blamed high levels of crime on the abolition of death penalty and in another instance attributed unreasonable crime levels to a criminal justice system that guarantees accused citizens’ innocence before trial. When given an opportunity by the ANC to speak on what should be a broad political and ideological way forward amidst so many socio-economic crises confronting society, he feebly conceptualised the current conjecture as failure of the first transition and that the ANC needed a second transition, and provided no clear vision on the destination of the second transition. Obviously, the ANC rejected this hogwash and reminded him that the first transition towards attainment of all Freedom Charter objectives is not complete.

In the post Conference television interviews he did with the SABC after both the National General Council and Policy Conference in 2010 and 2012 respectively, President Zuma said the biggest challenge facing the ANC was ‘discipline’ of its youth, who just spoke many issues and disrespected the sitting leadership. He forgot the many socio-economic, ideological and political challenges confronting the movement, and focused on ill-discipline of the youth. Clearly ‘ill-discipline’ was never the biggest challenge facing the ANC because even after suspending and expelling these youth leaders, the crises of poverty and inequalities remained. The Marikana massacre happened even when the youth he identified as the biggest problem were not in Luthuli House. He never foresaw a crisis in the Mining sector despite the concerted calls by the ANC Youth League that the ANC should pay attention to the mining industry with the aim of extracting maximum benefit for the mining communities and workers.

Now President Zuma has come with a proposal on land reform, which is evidently not based on what the ANC said in the 52nd National Conference in 2007, National General Council in 2010 and National Policy Conference in 2012. President Zuma is making a significant detour from the 52nd National Conference’s observation which says “We have only succeeded in redistributing 4% of agricultural land since 1994, while more than 80% of agricultural land remains in the hands of fewer than 50,000 white farmers and agribusinesses. The willing-seller, willing-buyer approach to land acquisition has constrained the pace and efficacy of land reform. It is clear from our experience, that the market is unable to effectively alter the patterns of land ownership in favour of an equitable and efficient distribution of land”.

Re-affirming the essence of the observations of the ANC 52ND National Conference, the Policy Conference commission on land reform affirmed the following as pillars of consideration under willing-buyer, willing-seller; 1) Replace willing buyer willing seller with the “Just and equitable” principle in the Constitution immediately where the state is acquiring land for land reform purposes; 2) Expropriation without compensation on land acquired through unlawful means or used for illegal purposes having due regard to Section 25 of the Constitution, 3) Keep Nationalization as an option, and 4) Expedite the promulgation of the new Expropriation Act.

Now these resolutions are in the official report of the ANC to guide branches, delegates and leaders of the ANC to come with sustainable solutions to the land reform crises, which if wisely and decisively managed will be basis for thoroughgoing socio-economic transformation in South Africa. But the recent proposal by the President radically diverts from the essence of what the National Policy Conference said should guide how ANC deals with the willing-buyer, willing-seller phenomenon. The new recommendation by the President re-affirms the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle and even adds market value as a principle of determining the price of the land. The market-value principle is not even in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the Policy Conference resolution/recommendation to introduce Land Management Commission and Office of the Valuer General was meant to address this stumbling block to land reform. Clearly the President is not aware of the Policy Conference recommendations.

The practice of ANC leaders radically diverting from key policy proposals of the Movement is unacceptable and a real act of ill-discipline and directionlessness of the leadership. Why would the ANC spend lots of money, develop perspectives, convene its members and branches across the country in a rigorous process of participative democracy and policy making, which will be undermined by how a leader feels on a certain day. It can never be correct that branches of the ANC are being undermined in the manner that is happening, particularly on the important question of land reform. The land question is at the heart of the ANC’s reason to exist and the only practical immediate way to address the massive inequalities, poverty and unemployment crises confronting society.

It appears though that there is a new right-wing movement that seek to dishonour branches of the ANC and engage in some narrow, elite policy making processes that ignores the people on the ground. Minister Trevor Manuel, who is also a member of the ANC National Executive Committee, was recently quoted as saying the ANC way of policy making does not work. He said "Involving ANC branch members in detailed decision-making assumed that they had the information and knowledge they needed for participation”. He further said "The system as it is doesn’t work because it structures a relationship between people in the government and people in the ANC, but there is an asymmetry of information between them which is quite profound. For example, we will have people in government making proposals on nuclear energy and ordinary branch members (having) no idea what they are talking about”.

Minister Manuel’s remarks are not only sickening; they grossly undermine the members of the ANC who for some time now have tried to provide solutions on how the country should move forward. Minister Manuel should also be reminded that all elite-policy making outcomes like GEAR and Growth-Path have proven to be disaster with no durability and sustainability to improve people’s living conditions. The elite driven National Development Plan will also dismally fail to reach its own objectives and forever shift the goal posts and blaming all sorts of problems on why those goals cannot be reached. Why does Minister Manuel trust ANC members on voting him, Jacob Zuma and others into office if he cannot trust them with deciding the policy direction of this country? ANC branches have given a broad, but decisive framework on what is to be done and government people should be guided by those principles contained in the resolutions and recommendations of the National Conference and Policy Conference respectively.

If the ANC is to remain embedded, live forever and guided by what the people say, it should heed Amilcar Carbral’s clarion call that “We must practice revolutionary democracy in every aspect of our Party life. Every responsible member must have the courage of his responsibilities, exacting from others a proper respect for his work and properly respecting the work of others. Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories . ..”. Anything that dishonours this clarion call will lead to the ANC’s demise.

Floyd Shivambu is an Economic Freedom Fighter and Member of the ANC Youth League and ANC in Moses Kotane Branch, Johannesburg Region, Gauteng Province.