Vol. 6 No. 1: 15 October 2010
ANC YL President`s Address to Students at the University of Limpopo
The ANC Youth League sends its greetings to the students and workers of the University of Limpopo-MEDUNSA Campus, which is historically one of the most outstanding institution with regards to the development and production of healthcare workers, particularly African Doctors. The ANC Youth League is here to speak to the University community with a clear intention to make sure that the massive contributions made by this Medical University are not undermined by anything.
We are very much aware that like in many other institutions of higher learning, students in this campus encounter so many challenges, which should be urgently addressed because the contribution of Medical and healthcare workers in South Africa now and in the future should never be compromised.
We are aware that your challenges as students include, but not limited to the following realities:
- NSFAS Allocations which do not seem to meet the demands of students-our call in that regard is that NSFAS should pay for all the needs of students, including registration fee, tuition fees, accommodation, food and a monthly stipend to help students with other necessities outside these key essentials.
- Residences of this Medical School are not up to standard and such should be immediately addressed, because you cannot train good doctors in a place which is not conducive and welcoming for progress and success of future Doctors, who will later in life carry the responsibility to save lives.
- The Security of students and infrastructure in this University should forever be guaranteed. We are aware that criminals have in the past 3 years bombed the ATM in this campus, endangering the lives of students in this University.
Now these are challenges that should be resolved as urgent as possible, yet the biggest problem facing this Medical School is the fact that the Merger with the University of Limpopo was a failure and should be reversed, and MEDUNSA given all the necessary support it deserves to sustainably operate on its own. The initial objective of taking a Medical School to Limpopo was a noble one, but the strategy to try and close this medical school was entirely problematic, and should be opposed by all progressive forces that understand the vitality and importance of producing an adequate number of healthcare workers in South Africa. MEDUNSA is one of the very few successful medical schools, not only in South Africa, but in the entire sub-Saharan Africa, and has been in the forefront of producing black and particularly African Medical Doctors and other healthcare professionals that are helping our poor communities across the continent. The other Medical Schools have their own roles to play, yet the Doctors they produce largely migrate to overseas hospitals and refuse to work in townships and rural areas.
MEDUNSA, which is a medical school located in a township, Garankuwa and linked to a township hospital, Dr. George Mukhari Hospital is strategically and correctly located within the people to train Medical Doctors and healthcare professionals who understand our people better. MEDUNSA should therefore be saved and properly funded in order to position it at the most outstanding Medical School in the entire African continent. Government heavily invest in this Medical School and request the services of better administrators to take the institution forward. We have to say that those who were given the responsibility to run and administer the merger of former Turfloop University and MEDUNSA have dismally failed, and government should take part of the blame because nothing was done even when Institutional Management and Council of the University of Limpopo are failing to normalise and standardise even the most basic of institutional management mechanism. The fact that more than five years after the merger, there is still no common Students` Representative Council and systems is evidence that the University Management is very inefficient. Students` representation is not a side issue in the management of institutions of higher learning, but an important component which should never be reduced to an irritation by Management.
The history of higher education transformation in South Africa is filled with so many progressive contributions by the progressive students` movement, and weakening their involvement will never be tolerated. Five years after the merger, there still no harmonisation of registration, tuition and residence fees between Turfloop University and MEDUNSA. It is very clear now that the only thing that MEDUNSA and Turfloop University have in common is the name University of Limpopo, but the real integration has not happened. Instead, the intended merger has negatively impacted on the productivity levels of the Medical School because fewer students are enrolled in the critical courses than it used to be before the merger. There are also fewer lecturers and professors than there were before the merger. We have to critically and honestly raise all these issues because if we don`t, we will only complain when the institution has been run down by inefficient Institutional managers. The Department of Higher Education should never allow institutions of Higher Learning to degenerate to the extent that defined the former Mangosuthu Tecknikon, which basically refused to merge into Durban University of Technology and got run down to almost nothing. Department of Higher Education should within its scope of interventions, provide the necessary strategic leadership and guidance to institutions of Higher Learning, because these are vital for the developmental agenda that we are all pursuing.
Here in MEDUNSA, the intervention should include but not limited to having this Medical School as an independent institution which is properly funded so that the ANC government is able to provide the necessary number of Doctors required for the roll out of the National Health Insurance (NHI). South Africa is facing massive health challenges, in particular the crisis levels of HIV/AIDS infections. We need to busy all political differences and join hands in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In the ANC Youth League, we always and will forever emphasise that the fight against HIV/AIDS includes a campaign against multi-sexual relationships-One Boyfriend-One Girlfriend Campaign, which should be intensified. It can never be fashionable for us to have multi-sexual relationships in a country where more than 5 million people are estimated to be HIV positive particularly young people. All of us gathared here today should lead by example. MEDUNSA students should also join the ANC Youth League in the Campaign for healthy lifestyles amongst the youth-which includes the provision of Free Sanitary Towels to females and campaign against the abuse of alcohol, substance and drug abuse.
Our 23rd National Congress in 2008 mandated us to lobby government to ban alcohol advertisements and begin to strictly enforce all the alcohol regulation laws. The Laws that exist on alcohol regulation are not implemented by anyone because people continue to sell alcohol illegally to people under the age of 18 and no one is ever arrested for doing that. We need to reduce the amount of alcohol available for consumption in our communities, particularly in townships, because it leads to so many social ills, including high levels of crime, unplanned juvenile pregnancies, sickness, car accidents and high failure rates in schools and Universities. If alcohol is this costly to the nation, why is it advertised all across the media and children easily seduced to drink alcohol through introduction of so many brands of alcohol clearly targeted on younger people. We need to be consistent on alcohol regulation like we were on the banning of cigarettes advertisements. Now these are some of the key and central social transformation aspects that we carry a responsibility to address as urgent as possible.
Addressing social transformation issues should however not divert us from dealing with the major economic transformation issues, particularly the realisation of Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime. Economic Freedom in Our Lifetime means realisation of all Freedom Charter objectives and the immediate focus is consistent with the Charter, NATIONALISATION OF MINES. Mines in South Africa will be nationalised and the manner in which the ANC-led government will do it will not be disastrous because the ANC has matured into an experienced governing party and can effectively provide strategic leadership to nationalised Mines. The model on Nationalisation of Mines will be fine-tuned by the ANC Policy Conference and finally adopted by the ANC National Conference in 2012. We have on many occasions said why Mines should be nationalised in South Africa and are forever patient to explain why Mines should be nationalised.
Benefits of success have already been heighted above, in the response of what is the purpose for nationalisation and to build on that, below we list some of the additional benefits:
- Increased budget for the State and therefore more resources for education, housing, healthcare, infrastructure development, safety and security and sustainable livelihoods for our people.
- 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.
- More equitable spatial development because State owned and controlled Mines will invest in areas where Mining is happening.
- 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.
- Greater levels of economic and political independece as the State will be in control and ownership of strategic sectors of the economy, which produces minerals resources needed across the world.
As students, you must give yourselves time to study the following examples of Nationalisation in other countries and you will all of you realise that the lies spread by the media that nationalisation has never succeeded in not true. You must study about a company called Petroleum de Venezuela (PDVSA), which is the State Owned Oil company in Venezuela. In Venezuela, the nationalised oil company, Petroleum de Venezuela (PDVSA) accounts for 32% of GDP, 50% of government revenue and 80% of export revenues. The revenue generated is utilised to fund social development programmes, particularly the provision of free quality education for all. Between 2004 and 2010 PDVSA contributed $61.4 billion to social development funds. You must also study about a company called CODELCO in Chile. In Chile, between 1991 and 2003, ten largest foreign companies paid $164m a year; but state-owned CODELCO paid $764m a year - almost five times more. CODELCO is directly run by the State with a representative Board chaired by the Minister of Mining and includes the Minister of Finance, Workers Representatives, Supervisors Representatives and other experts in Copper Mining.
As students you should study these corporations so that you are able to clarify the Chamber of Mines when it goes around saying Nationalisation of Mines has never succeeded anywhere in the world. As ANC Youth League, we always expect maximum discipline from students across all Universities. We expect you to be in class on time, doing your work excellently. Student leadership should not lead you to strike even for things that are not essential for your academic progress. You must never agree to strike for bashes and more alcohol in bashes. But you must militantly defend your right to exist in this University and Management has no right to threaten you with exclusions. You must fight with determination and discipline and never allow to be intimidated.We shall over come, Victory is certain.
6 October 2010
VIEWPOINT: *Nyiko Floyd Shivambu
Towards Nationalisation of South Africa`s Mines
In December 2007, the African National Congress 52nd National Conference in Polokwane said amongst other things that, "Our vision of economic transformation takes as its starting point, the Freedom Charter`s clarion call that the people shall share in the country`s wealth". The Conference further emphasised the need for usage of "natural resources of which the state is the custodian of on behalf of the people, including our minerals, water, marine resources in a manner that promotes the sustainability and development of local communities and also realises the economic and social needs of the whole nation, not for profit maximisation."
Between the 20th and 25th of September 2010, the ANC 3rd National General Council will be meeting in KwaZulu Natal, the home of former ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli, who was President when the Freedom Charter was adopted, to amongst other things review and discuss how the ANC is actualising the freedom charter`s clarion call that the people should share in the country`s wealth. ANC NGC should certainly ask itself if natural resources are not perpetually used for profit maximisation at the expense of communities even after a clear determination was made to discontinue this practice. The ANC Youth League will join more than 2000 delegates from across the country representing branches of the ANC to ask how far are we with concrete programmes to realise the Freedom Charter objectives in order to combat high levels of unemployment, poverty, starvation and hopelessness amongst which co-exists alongside South Africa`s mineral wealth.
The question on Nationalisation of Mines will arise out of these deliberations, because all activists and members of the ANC understand that we all signed a declaration upon joining the ANC that "we will abide by the aims of the Freedom Charter". As a mechanism to address the crisis levels of unemployment and poverty, the ANC Youth League, and now ANC branches, regions and provinces will at the NGC call for Nationalisation of Mines, not as an end in itself, but as a means towards making sure that the State`s budget is increased to meet social needs such as provision of quality education, healthcare, housing and development of infrastructure. In Venezuela, the nationalised oil company, Petroleum de Venezuela (PDVSA) accounts for 32% of GDP, 50% of government revenue and 80% of export revenues. The revenue generated is utilised to fund social development programmes, particularly the provision of free quality education for all. Between 2004 and 2010 PDVSA contributed $61.4 billion to social development funds. In Chile, between 1991 and 2003, ten largest foreign companies paid $164m a year; but state-owned CODELCO paid $764m a year - almost five times more. Now these are practical examples which inspire our call for a creation of State Owned Mining Company, which will do real business in all profitable mining activities, particularly the country`s coal, iron ore, platinum group metals to guide and direct labour absorptive industrial developments.
Greater State control and ownership of Mines should admittedly be located within a developmental Mining sector strategy, which will clearly outline the country`s need to preserve natural resources in an environmentally friendly and sustainable fashion. The State`s Industrial Policy framework should be aligned to the Minerals Strategy to ensure that "our national resource endowments, including land, water, minerals and marine resources are exploited to effectively maximise the growth, development and employment potential embedded in such national assets, and not purely for profit maximisation", as resolved by the ANC 52nd National Conference in 2007.
In order to achieve this, the State should reclaim all Mining rights, which the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act says belongs to the people of South Africa as a whole, and give these rights` total control to the State Owned Mining Company. The State Owned Mining Company will then issue licences on that basis that the State will own, control and benefit from not less than 60% of all the country`s profitable mining activities and operations. The remaining maximum of 40% for the private corporations should be obedient to the Mining Charter, pay taxes and royalties, but also have effective social labour which will respond to the developmental imperatives of the Mining communities.
Nationalised Mines will also open space for the development of new economic centres and establishment of multiple concurrent Industrial Development Zones (IDZs), which will re-enforce the existing economic centres whilst developing the local economies and absolving labour of many of our the unemployed. Nationalisation of Mines has many other economic benefits and will most certainly safeguard South Africa`s economic sovereignty, whilst shedding off the colonial features of exporter of natural resources and importer of finished goods and services. Whilst politically decolonised, the colonial features of the South African economy are still vivid, and it is the responsibility of the ANC to address this fundamental question through the social and economic emancipation of the black majority and Africans in particular.
What the ANC National General Council should concretely resolve on are the following key issues:
- That the Freedom Charter remains the strategic objective of the ANC and entire National Liberation Movement.
- That the ANC`s correct interpretation of the wealth clause includes a commitment to Nationalise South Africa`s Mines, banks and monopoly industries.
- That a State Owned Mining Company should be established using the existing State interests in Mining as a nucleus for the company, and that this should happen before the ANC 53rd National Conference in 2012.
- That an ANC minerals strategy should be developed to concretise the Freedom Charter`s vision concurrent to the establishment of the State Owned Mining Company.
- That a moratorium should be declared on the issuing of all prospecting and mining rights until a minerals strategy is developed and adopted by government.
- The Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act should be amended to reclaim all prospecting and mining rights given to private corporations, and re-issue them based on the following conditions, a) The State Owned Mining Company should have minimum of 60% of ownership and control of all mining operations, b) Not less than 50% of minerals extracted should be locally beneficiated and industrialised, c) all mining activities should be accompanied by thorough and consulted on social labour plans and community development strategies, and c) clear environmental impact analysis of all mining activities.
- That the process to adopt an Expropriation Act be expedited and Constitutional limitations to the noble objectives of redistribution be democratically removed through amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution.
Now these guidelines will ensure that the ANC has a directed a clear direction on the management of natural resources as directed by the Polokwane Conference. The Mining Charter transformation results recently released by the Minister of Mineral Resources reveal two fundamental weaknesses with sector charters` approach to transformation and redress. The reality is that the so called transformation charters are useless because they cannot be and are not enforced in instances of non-compliance. Also the realities of South Africa`s mining sector and minerals industry poses a question of whether the country and government has determined political and strategic leadership on the management and redistribution of natural resources. Once the resolution on Nationalisation of Mines is taken, a necessary question should be asked as to whether those who are tasked with leading the management and redistribution of Mineral resources at government level are up to the task. This is not a petty diversion, because in all revolutions and fundamental strategic shifts, subjective elements have potential to undermine the strategic mission and the ANC cannot be blind to these realities.
There might be differences on some of the modalities presented by the ANC Youth League, yet there should never be disagreement on the centrality of the Freedom Charter as guiding strategic objective of the ANC. Questions of how we debate the issue of Nationalisation of Mines are trivial, because the question should be what, not how we debate issues of economic transformation and transfer of mineral wealth to the benefit of the people as a whole. Nationalisation of Mines, which is ANC Policy, articulated in its strategic mission the Freedom Charter should inspire all ANC National General Council delegates when discussing and ultimately adopting the best model for Nationalisation of South Africa`s Mines.
* Nyiko Floyd Shivambu-ANC Youth League Spokesperson and Secretary for Political Education, Policy and Research.