- Press Statements
- 2010 NGC
- National Congresses
Input of the Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and NEC/NWC member of the ANC on the occasion of the Public Political Seminar on Nationalisation of the Strategic Sectors of the South African Economy and the Rule of Law in the Republic of South Africa
4 August 2011, University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus, Gauteng Province
President of the ANC Youth League, comrade Julius Malema;
Membership of the African National Congress Youth League;
Leadership of the South African Students‚Äô Congress;
Members of the Young Communist League;
Academic Staff and support staff present here;
Fellow South Africans;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Comrades and friends;
The key strategic objectives of the developmental state are the elimination of poverty and the reduction of inequality in our society. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) Statistics July 2011; the unemployment rate in South Africa was last reported a 25 percent in the first quarter of 2011. From 2000 until 2008, South Africa‚Äôs Unemployment Rate averaged 26.38 percent reaching an historical high of 31.20 percent in March 2003 and a record low of 35% in September of 2007. The labour force is defined as the number of people employed plus the number unemployed but seeking to work. But nonlabour force includes those who are not looking for work, those who are institutionalized and those serving in the military, stay-at home spouses, patients in psychiatric hospitals, kids, and etc.
In this instance, according to the survey, the number of persons in the labour force increased by one hundred and eighty one thousand (181 000) between the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of the same year. This clearly shows that employment remained virtually unchanged during the same period. Formal sector employment contracted by twenty one thousand (21 000) jobs while informal sector employment increased by thirty four thousand (34 000) jobs. Both the Private households and Agriculture remained virtually unchanged between these two quarters under review.
The number of unemployed persons increased drastically by one hundred and seventy four thousand (174 000) between the first quarter 2011 and the second quarter the same year, while the number of discouraged work-seekers decreased by sixteen thousand (16 000) in the same period. Therefore, the unemployment rate increased by 0.7 of a percentage point between the first quarter; which was 25.0% and the second quarter became 25.7%.
Hence, we conclude that, the year-on-year changes indicate that there was a net increase in the number of economically inactive persons in South Africa which amounted to two hundred and eighty seven thousand (287 000) or two point zero percent (2.0%). An increase of two hundred and sixty nine thousand (269 000) in discouraged work-seekers, hundred and seventy three thousand (173 000) of students and seventy five thousand (75 000) of individuals who were too old or too young to work, and a decline of hundred and thirty five thousand (135 000) in persons with an illness or disability and sixty one thousand (61 000) in the number of homemakers contributed to the net change.
Thus, the continued social and economic exclusion of millions of our people, especially blacks in general and Africans in particular, the majority of whom are women, reflected in high levels of poverty and inequality, is the country‚Äôs main catastrophe. In the view of the African National Congress (ANC) and the democratic government, these high levels of poverty and inequality have a historical basis in apartheid colonialism, and are driven primarily by the fact that too few people work and that the quality of work of many black people remains poor. Key to pushing back the frontiers of this dichotomy successfully over time is the state‚Äôs ability to create jobs for millions of jobless black people and fight poverty; and to further improve the working conditions of the majorities of workers through tightening labour laws and improve the quality of education and training, especially for poor black youth.
It in this regard, we need to revisit the colonial history of South Africa, especially the history of the strategic sectors of the economy such as, but not limited to, the mining and rural economies that seeks to provide the background for why land reform and the transformation of the mining and mineral sectors are an imperative in the post-apartheid South Africa to undo racially based imbalances in land ownership and mineral rights and ownership patterns; and access.
The Freedom Charter declared that:
‚ÄúRestrictions of land ownership on racial basis shall be ended, with all land re-divided amongst those who work it to banish famine and land hunger‚ÄĚ (Congress of the People 1955). The RDP also considered land as the most basic need for rural dwellers and access to land as central to rural development, and Government derives its mandate for land reform from the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act No. 108 of 1996.
The Freedom Charter goes further to state that:
‚ÄúThe 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 owenership of the people as a whole ‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ (Congress of the People 1955).
According to the developmental state of South Africa; land policy and mining, minerals and petroleum policy have always played an important role in shaping political, economic and social progress in the country. These policies promises to ensure equitable access to these strategic sectors of the economy and promote its contribution to the development of all communities; and to respond to injustices of the past, based on race, gender and class. They also recognize the need for more equitable distribution of income from these sectors to reduce poverty and unemployment; and contribute strategically to economic growth and economic development.
Hence, for those of our people who remain excluded from the first (formal) economy, live in informal settlements, depend on hand-overs from the state through social grants and services which are either absent or of very poor quality due to the plethora of challenges that local government finds itself.
Indeed, political change brings no guarantee of social, economic, or indeed political progress. Tendencies of poor economic management, skills and capital flight can stall our country‚Äôs progress; gains of the revolution reversed and even the foundational aspects of democracy and constitutionalism unraveled. If these threats are not tackled head-on, the probability of decline will increase.
Comrades and compatriots, it is said that throughout history many civilizations, empires and countries have experienced dramatic decline rather than progress due to lack of proper planning, mass unemployment, mass youth unemployment and lack of education, super exploitation of the workers by the capital, disregard of the government‚Äôs role in the economy, poverty and huge inequalities; and the likes.
According to the Diagnostic Report of National Planning Commission, June 2011, South Africa is considered an upper middle-class country by virtue of the average national income per person or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. However, this status quo masks extreme inequality in income and access to opportunity. Deep poverty is widespread, and constraints human development and economic progress. Slow growth in per capita incomes is one explanation for poverty levels. Per capita income growth is the only one indicator of a country‚Äôs wellbeing. It tells us how much income there is to share amongst and between the country‚Äôs priorities, but does not communicate the distribution of that income.
The share of the poorest forty percent (40%) of the population in national income has remained largely unchanged at about six percent (6%), but the composition of this income has changed quite dramatically. The contribution of wage income and remittances to households income fell, and was replaced by social grants, accounting for about two percent (2%) of GDP.
The Diagnostic Report continues to suggest that, South Africa is a highly unequal country. This was true for much of the past century and remains so today. The distribution of income to the richest and poorest sections of society did not change significantly between 1995 and 2005. The poorest twenty percent (20%) of the population earns about two point three percent (2.3%) of the national income, while the richest twenty percent (20%) earns about seventy percent (70%) of the income. This situation is not acceptable! It calls for action; it calls for drastic measures from the developmental state if our government really wants to see the light of the day. We can‚Äôt allow South Africa to sit on a time bomb for any longer.
Ladies and gentlemen, colonial and apartheid regimes used state apparatuses to create a system of racial capitalism leading to a dual system of agricultural economy made up of large and capital-intensive commercial estates alongside a poorly resourced subsistence-based farming sector mainly located in communal reserve areas. Harsh land laws such as the Native Land Act No. 27 of 1913 and the Development and Trust Act No. 18 of 1936 were enacted to facilitate arbitrary appropriation of agricultural land held by Africans outside reserve areas without compensation, thus pushing small-scale black farmers to marginal lands. These twin-laws became essential tools in the systematic land dispossession of black people, resulting in an artificial shortage of land available to black farmer and advancing policies of separated development.
Comrades the land reforms envisaged in the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) state that, ‚Äúa national land reform programme is the central driving force of a programme of rural development. In this regard, the government of the Republic of South Africa undertook to distribute thirty percent (30%) of white-owned agricultural land to black people within the first five years of constitutional democracy. However, after 17 years of democracy, the land reform programme has experienced fundamental setbacks in terms of advancing the objectives of the RDP and the ANC. It has experienced fundamental setbacks in terms of advancing rural development as measured by land redistribution targets, increased rural incomes, employment generation, and poverty reduction through enhanced rural livelihoods.
The programme has also not yet succeeded in its transformational agenda of rural political and economic landscape since agrarian economies and agricultural land ownership patterns remain largely unchanged. Furthermore, the programme has reintroduced a perpetual dominance of white monopoly, export-oriented large-scale agro-industrial-commercial discourse and has failed to respond to the food security needs of the poor.
Having failed to reach the target of redistribution of thirty percent (30%) of land by 1998, our government faced by constraints changed the date towards 2014. However, unintentionally this postponement also has entailed a shift in the goal-posts in the sense that access to municipal-owned land commonages, driven by municipalities, is now being included as part of the original land reform redistribution targets, rather than as an additional mechanism to expand land redistribution to black people.
This put more constraints to our democratic government and it slowly makes our movement, the ANC, unpopular amongst its historical base; which are poor blacks in general and Africans in particular.
The former President of the ANC, comrade Thabo Mbeki addressing the meeting of the Socialist International as early as 2003 had this to say:
‚Äú...Solving unemployment, poverty and low levels of black participation in ownership and control of the economy had become very urgent.. and ... to resolve these problems; an effective, strong and interventionist developmental state was needed.. and this means keeping hold of strategic state assets...‚ÄĚ
In this regard, the ANC Youth League has put forward some radical proposals that are worth considering specifically on issues pertaining to economic transformation. These include, but not limited to, nationalization of mines and a radical land reform programme. Both these radical and transformative policy articulation, the ANC has broadly endorsed to take them further for discussion.
It is evident, since the advent of democracy, that some among us seem to harbour an incorrect view that agrarian revolution and land reform is the thing of the past and were no longer pertinent in our economic transformation agenda. It is equally so when some among us push a transformation perspective when it comes to the ownership of banks and mines.
The debate on nationalization and land reform is skewed; it favours white monopoly capital and those among us who support them. Academic intellectuals and representatives of white monopoly capital have written volumes of books and opinion articles against the idea of nationalization. No single soul in the ANC and media dared to challenge their opinions on the matter. It is only when the ANC YL raises an opinion that the detracters of the League will ponder attack the organization. Why do we allow a very important discussion to be one sided and favour those who do not want to see change.
Comrade former President Thabo Mbeki also warned us against this tendency when he said in 1994 that:
‚ÄúThe phenomenon of uncertainty should not be imposed on our thinking as a ‚Äúscarecrow‚ÄĚ that frightens us away from embarking on a journey of change. He said, all genuine change must, by definition, produce uncertainty. But without change all social organisms atrophy and die. In our case, absence of change will inevitably lead to destructive explosion‚ÄĚ.
Comrades to qualify what comrade TM is trying to raise to the ANC and the broader alliance today. I want to do so by repeating my oration in the Free State last week; I want the country and the world to know that:
‚ÄúThere can never be peace and stability in this country when the majority leaves in rugs, grinding poverty, marginalization with no hope. There can never be peace and prosperity when the 10% white minority continues to monopolize over 80% of the economic resources ‚Ä¶.
‚ÄúThere can never be peace and harmony when many remain landless and leaving in squalor and crammed homesteads ‚Ä¶.
‚ÄúThere can never be reconciliation when the means of production of this country are still dominated by the few which find see no wrong in pillages these resources and greedily exporting them to offshore economies, thus robbing our people real value of those commodities ‚Ä¶.
‚ÄúThere can never be peace and reconciliation when many Blacks remain outside the employment fold, and with those in that fold still suffer the brutality of discrimination, abuse and poverty income. When we as a society and the progressive forces are rolling back from the public space and allow that space to be dominated by right-wing elements that seeks to foster their dose of racial polarization‚ÄĚ.
It is high time that comrades and revolutionaries to honestly engage the youth league. It is not wise for those who claim to be left or socialists and even claim to be communists to fly-around coughing insults and labeling fellow comrades demagogues without intellectually engaging their thought particularly on pressing issues in society.
We must wake up from the illusion that we are all together in the ANC and the entire democratic movement in a mission to push back the frontiers of poverty, ignorance, underdevelopment and unemployment. To others to prolong poverty to our people; you prolong their stay into positions of power; pretending as if there are the soul and chosen representative of the poor especially the working class.
We must desist and deject some among ourselves who have become the major opponents of genuine social and economic transformation in South Africa. This Marxist-Workerists-Tendency (MWT) and ideological dwarfism disguised as revolutionary theory and ideology has proven itself in its outright attack against the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), nationalization or expropriation, and even acquisition of land by the black majority. This is an old narrow Marxist-Workerist tendency falsely associated with the ANCs genuine social and economic transformation agenda aimed at resolving the inherent contradictions in society.
It is therefore of paramount importance that revolutionaries should soberly engage the ANC Youth League. This engagement should be based on answering fundamental question:
‚ÄúTo what extent does the slogan ‚Äėeconomic freedom in our lifetime‚Äô links strategically to the slogan for ‚Äėfreedom in our lifetime‚Äô?‚ÄĚ
These questions are of pivotal importance because if the entire mass democratic movement fail in its conviction to see a symbiotic link between the two slogan in this era of the NDR, and rather settle for isolating one at the expense of the other, this will, to my mind, be equal to an intellectual and ideological disservice on the side of the movement as a whole.
However, we are fully aware of a tendency that attempted to dislodge the content of the National Democratic Revolution by among other things, dismissing race as less important a social category in contemplating any social progress.
At the same time, we were aware of the ultra-leftist tendencies that were aimed at uplifting pseudo-Marxist predispositions at the expense of the revolutionary recognition of the symbiotic link between national liberation and social emancipation; born out of the acknowledgement of the inter-play between the national oppression and class exploitation; in the context of the national democratic revolution (NDR).
For this reason we don‚Äôt doubt that the African National Congress Youth League has a point and therefore it is revolutionary correct!
Comrades, when the African National Congress was under attack from white monopoly capital and black bourgeoisie and a dubious faction within the ANC; the ANC Youth League was at the front-line of the battle trenches to defend the movement and its leading cadres.
The Youth League questioned the naked abuse of State Institutions to seetle political scores, its questioned the power of a particular clique in the movement which abused state power against leading cadres of our movement.
At the same time, the ANC Youth League questioned that how come are the state institutions used against its members, especially its leadership who led the revolutionary campaign of the Youth League to take the ANC back where it belongs to the people.
At that time the ANC Youth League vowed to use the election of the then Deputy President of the Republic Zuma as President of the Republic as the launch of ‚Äúintensified service delivery and building of sustainable livelihoods and communities. The Youth League concluded that the years after the 2009 national elections will see action which should qualitatively and quantitatively improve the living conditions of the people; and further declared to everyone to know that ‚Äúit is this historical mission which the current generation of the ANC YL has to complete and intensify; and they called on all young people in the Republic of South Africa to go out in numbers to vote for the African National Congress in 2009 as the only vehicle that will make sure that it realizes it stated objectives.
It is because of such militancy and radicalism and experience that we witness a naked attack against the body politic of the Youth League and its leadership. It is because of the readiness of the Youth League to engage in the battle of ideas that makes it vulnerable to attacks by faceless individuals.
The local and international media is on record running a Media Tribunal against leading figures of the League. They systematically target the President of the League, comrade Julius Malema, for he is a policy articulator and defender of the resolutions and decisions of the Youth League. They are in a mission, assist by some amongst us, to demonise the character of the ANC Youth League President and turnish the image of the League; for he and the League have raised contentious issues for the benefit of the majority of our people, whom are black and landless.
They are using print and electronic media for their cause ofwhom they have absolute control. They disrespect the rights of individuals. The disrespect the bill of rights as entrenched in the Constitution of the Republic. They disintegrate the rights of individuals to the rights of the entire society; as long as those individuals are members of the African National Congress.
They are using a ‚ÄúBritish Style‚ÄĚ of journalism; citing the freedom of press when they are questioned by the nation on double-standard journalism and hypocricy. A journalism style of super-scavengers who are happily preying on dead bodies of our people.
They continue to disregard the Principles of Natural Justice; the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by the court of law; but they jumped high and cried fowl when one of their colleagues in the likes of Mzilikazi wa-Afrika.
Comrades, to these scavengers, subjecting ANC leadership into Kangarroo Courts is a hobby and they derive pleasure from inflicting pain to members of the ANC and those whom they suspect are aligned to the ANC.
No ordinary South African or a member of an Opposition Party has been subjected to such humiliating injustice and total disregard for personal privacy. No one with out valid legal reasons has been subjected to personal finances\financial scrutiny against his/her Constitutional Right of Human Dignity.
This calls for the youth and the people of the Republic to defend them. I think the youth should take a political position to defend their leaders from this Media Wrath and double-standard. If the media would like to operate like the apartheid media in a democratic and free society, then they are free to do so; but they should not blame our people when they treat them like apartheid-skeletons in a democratic and free society and crush them; and throw them into the dust-bin of history; with their friends.
South Africa is not a banana republic. We refuse to allow it to such!