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23 Oct 2009 07:33
Nationalisation of mines was prescribed in the Freedom Charter and therefore a prerequisite for leadership in the ANC, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said on Thursday.
“If you are not for nationalisation you are not qualified to lead the ANC,” said Malema at a ANCYL sponsored debate with Business Day columnist Tim Cohen and Old Mutual CEO Kuseni Dlamini.
Malema said part of the oath all ANC members took when they joined the party, was to vow to uphold the Freedom Charter—which proclaimed that the mineral wealth of South Africa belonged to its people.
“If you have a problem with that please do not avail yourself of leadership in the ANC,” said Malema.
However, Dlamini argued that while the Freedom Charter said the minerals belonged to the people of South Africa, “it doesn’t necessarily say how it should be done”.
There were several different ways that the mineral wealth could be used for the public good, with nationalisation being only one of them, said Dlamini.
Malema said the ANCYL was not “scared of debate”.
“We are not scared of debate even on complex matters we do not understand. That is what it means to be an activist,” said Malema.
He said that this approach brought him into debate with experts which then improved his understanding of issues.
“In arguing they bring a lot of facts and you say ‘is that how it works’?”
Malema first raised the issue of the nationalisation of mines at the Black Management Forum on October 9.
He has argued that ANC leaders such as Nelson Mandela fought for the Freedom Charter as part of the struggle against apartheid.
“They fought for political freedom but they also fought for economic and social freedom,” he said.
“You can vote yourself pink but if you don’t have economic and social power then it doesn’t matter.”
Black economic empowerment was also a sham, according to Malema, since BEE deals were financed by banks “owned by white males”.
“We are free to buy shares, with what?” asked Malema. “We are still controlled by white-male owned capital.”
“That’s not racist,” he quickly added.
Malema argued that mining companies did little for the communities where they extracted minerals from. Nationalisation would mean that mining profits could be ploughed back into those communities. - Sapa
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