Thursday, 19 April 2012

In Print and Online ; South Africa

A recent article in Global magazine looked at the growing clamour for nationalisation of South Africa`s mining industry, particularly among young members of the African National Congress` Youth League.

Many argue that direct control of industry is necessary to address issues of inequality, unemployment and poverty.

What may be surprising to some are the very different positions taken by many of those who might once have supported such a policy.

The South African Communist Party argues for greater state intervention in the economy, as one might expect, but believes this should proceed on a pragmatic, case-by-case basis and actually advocates a mix of state and private ownership in the mining sector, a position endorsed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (

Senzeni Zokwana, President of South Africa`s National Union of Mineworkers, favours public-private partnerships in the mining sector, similar to those existing in the diamond mining industry in Botsawna and Namibia. 

Taking a wider view, Cyril Ramaphosa, a respected South African businessman with a background in the anti-apartheid struggle and in the NUM and COSATU,  believes that calls for nationalisation arise in part from "frustration" with "our collective inability to sufficiently transform our economy."

Certainly advocates of nationalisation need to ask themselves some hard questions - the assumption that their preferred option would automatically address issues of poverty and social exclusion does seem a little glib, to say the least. At the same time, as Mr Ramaphosa indicates, the ANC and it`s allies do need to address the very real problems facing South African society. 

For the full article, see William Gumede - Out of Africa : `Nationalise the Mines` - Will the ANC Do IT ? at .

William Gumede is the author of Thabo Mbeki : The Battle for the Soul of the ANC.

Also relevant is an article by a notable ANC/SACP stalwart, Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin, Should We Nationalise the Mines ? Originally written in 2009, this well-reasoned, and, I think, persuasive article has been reproduced widely on the net, particularly recently.   

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