LET US HAVE A DEBATE
Re: Debate on nationalisation
We welcome the fact that the current debates around the utilisation of mineral resources suggest that new and important ideas are emerging that require further debate and discussion. It is important that in engendering any new idea within the ANC and broader Alliance, we use the resolutions of all our conferences to guide us.
It is true that the nationalisation of banks, mines and the heavy industry is provided for in the Freedom Charter. It is necessary and important that any debate takes stock of what has happened, in this particular area, since 1955. COSATU is correct to refer to the 8th Congress of COSATU held in 2006. Equally, the ANC must refer to its Resolutions of the 52nd Conference (Polokwane) to sharpen this debate. It would be disingenuous for the ANC to be expected to engage in any debate without making reference to ANC Conference Resolutions and the Freedom Charter as a guiding document.
Every new idea has a genesis and every important debate within the ANC goes through a revolutionary process, where new ideas influence the carry-through of core policies. It is important therefore to have this debate in the context of what has transpired since the Freedom Charter was adopted and since the first democratic elections of 1994. Bearing in mind that the ANC has only been able to implement any of our policies and transform them into legislation since 1994.
Legislation exists, which reverts the ownership of mineral deposits to the State
a.. The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act is the instrument, which effects this change. The Mining Black Economic Empowerment Charter, which is an addendum to that Act has legislative effect.
Reference to these documents when discussing the conversion from old order to new order mineral rights, particularly regarding the distribution of mineral wealth, is imperative. The current legislative requirements stipulate that 26% of mineral and petroleum rights must belong to black South Africans. It further articulates the development of communities affected directly and indirectly around the mines as well as the development of labour sending areas.
An impression that the leadership of the ANC is resisting the transformation of ownership of mineral and petroleum resources is incorrect. We have passed legislation as the ANC-led government and appended a comprehensive Charter to the legislation.
The Polokwane Resolution on Economic Transformation states that “we are still at the beginning of the historic transformation of the economy called for in the Freedom Charter.” The understanding of the ANC is that we have laid a firm foundation and the task ahead is one of implementation together with all our social partners.
The ANC regards the current discourse on this mater to be neither a revolt nor a fight. It is a debate we welcome.
As South Africans we should welcome this call by the African National Congress. Any person who has been to Luka village in the shadow of Anglo Platinum’s Bafokeng operations or Freedom Park in the shadow of Impala Platinum’s operation and has seen the squalor and poverty of these communities where thousand of mine workers reside in tin shacks without proper water, sanitation or electricity and compares this with the magnificent profit margins of these corporations must ask why mineworkers get a meagre R3 000 a month, why the majority population of a country with South Africa’s mineral wealth suffers such incredible poverty? It is time that we emulate Venezuela and Bolivia. Global capitalism might well threaten disinvestment, however seeing that South Africa has 80% of the world’s platinum resources they will be back with their tails between their legs begging to buy the resource.