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South African election: Zuma elite will maintain ANC's pro-capitalist course

Jacob Zuma (right) will maintain Thabo Mbeki's course.

By John Appolis and Dale McKinley, for the Anti-Privatisation Forum

April 16, 2009 -- We are now in a world radically different from what it was a mere four months ago. The world economy is collapsing, torn apart by an economic recession. Thousands of workers are being thrown out of work; millions find themselves hungry in the midst of plenty of food; millions are homeless in the midst of houses being repossessed and standing empty. Factories that once produced bricks and cement are standing idle when millions require shelter. Neoliberal capitalism has over the past 30 years inflicted untold misery onto the world's poor whilst simultaneously making a very small minority filthy rich.

Capitalism has no right to rule society and organise production. It has no more legitimacy as a workable economic system. We have been told that humanity and capitalism is inseparable, without capitalism society cannot move forward. The apologists for the system said there was no alternative, that socialism is dead. But today we find that capitalism is at its own deathbed. However, when capitalism is faced with its own death, it somehow finds a new lease on life. Capitalism faced death during the 1920-30s during the Great Depression. The working class with its strong left or communist parties and trade unions resisted the attempts of the various ruling classes to get them to carry the burden of the depression. It took the capitalist class over two decades through the use of fascism and a Second World War to break the back of the working classes in order to set the system back on the track of recovery. But it had to offer the working class something in return and that was social democracy. Only with this class compromise could the capitalist class embark upon a 25-year period of economic growth. This economic growth broke down in the 1970s. Thirty years of neoliberalism have not solved the crisis of the 1970s. Now in 2009, capitalism is faced with another world crisis more severe than the Great Depression and the crisis of the 1970s.

One of the things the various nationalist ruling classes are going to try to do is convince us to take joint responsibility for the crisis. They are going to sell the idea that we are ``all in this together'' and that we are all responsible for the mess, and that we must all try to find solutions for it. But in reality, the way out for them is to try and get the working class and the poor to carry the cost of this crisis. We must accept greater impoverishment, greater unemployment and greater inequalities. And in the end the gap between the poor and rich will grow ever wider. We must tell them this economic crisis is their mess. We are not going to take responsibility for it. Rather we must expose to everyone, that to take responsibility for this crisis is to accept starvation. We are faced with a choice: Organise or starve.

Resistance

Over the past eight years our movements here in South Africa have been digging local trenches of resistance to the neoliberal onslaught. We have resisted evictions, water and electricity cut-offs, prepaid meters, lack of service delivery and have fought hard for decent housing, education and healthcare for all. However, this crisis is also breaking out at a time when our movements remain organisationally weak. Whilst having a lot in common we are still not united around a common platform of struggle and demands. Faced with the coming tsunami of destruction of the capitalist class we have to intensify our local struggles, build our movements and unite. As separate and isolated movements, the capitalist class will defeat us, will push us aside. But as a united force it will find in us a formidable opponent. Our local struggles and demands must be linked to the question of institutional power, real participatory democracy and core macroeconomic and social policy. We must confront head-on issues such as how wealth is produced/owned, how it is distributed and consumed. For instance, we must demand that the delivery of houses must take place through the nationalisation of the big cement and brick factories and placed under working-class control. As a defence against starvation, we must also demand that the government legislate a national unemployment living benefit for all the unemployed irrespective of work experience. Only by uniting around a common platform of demands and action can we build a movement with a national presence, one that presents to the masses an alternative pole of explanation and resistance. Our movements have a lot in common: in essence, we are anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberalism and united in our opposition to the African National Congress (ANC) government’s core policies and rule.

The political space is there for us to intervene. Not only can the capitalists no longer tell us there is no alternative – that neoliberalism is the answer to everything – but the ruling party is also finding itself in the midst of a crisis. It is being torn apart by internal contestation over who is entitled to the spoils of black economic empowerment (BEE). Those who have been excluded under the regime of Thabo Mbeki want to be first in line to BEE under the Zuma ANC and they are prepared to leave no stone unturned in their quest.

The present political situation in South Africa

The capitalist class in South Africa is clearly not certain about the credentials of the Zuma elite-in-waiting. What is also not helping matters for them, despite re-assurances from Zuma, is the insistence from the ANC’s Alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), that things are going to have to change. And since the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007, the capitalists have been confronted with contradictory signals emanating from the elite-in-waiting. No ruling class can afford to have a government in place of which it is not certain that it will do everything necessary for the creation of the conditions for continued capital accumulation, especially in the midst of a systemic crisis.

We can thus expect that they are going to do everything possible to ensure that the policies of the previous ANC government under Thabo Mbeki are not going to be sacrificed on the alter of the accumulation frenzy of the petty bourgeoisie marching under the banner of the Jacob Zuma elite. Enormous pressure is going to be brought to bear on the Zuma elite to maintain the course of the Mbeki ship. Any serious deviation is going to be met with outright hysteria.

On the other side, amongst significant sections of the poor and working class, there is a certain amount of euphoria that a Jacob Zuma presidency is going to usher in the long-awaited ``better life for all''. There is renewed hope that changes can come through the ANC and the institutions of bourgeois rule. This hope was ushered in with the developments at the ANC’s Polokwane Conference. Polokwane has been seen (and sold) as the culmination of years of struggle against the neoliberal project of the Mbeki administration. Sections of the poor and working class, under the auspices of organisations allied to the ANC, like COSATU and the SACP, view Polokwane as their victory, as the wrestling back of the ANC from the clutches of the ``capitalist'' Mbeki faction.

Underscoring this renewed hope in the ruling party and the parliamentary process was the removal of Thabo Mbeki as president of the country in 2008, and the subsequent appointment of an interim president, Kgalema Motlanthe. Also giving credence to this feeling is the apparent re-assertion of parliament as a body of authority insisting now on its oversight role of certain aspects of financial matters – like budgets and money bills. Critically also is the impression, marketed by the ANC, that it is now a more caring, people-orientated party – a good example being the recent ``coming together'' of the ANC with the community and organisations of Khutsong [the site of a long-running mass popular campaign against the ANC government's decision to place the community in another, poorer province]. All of this gives the impression that things can be radically changed or are already in the process of changing.

Socialists and militants within the social movements, on the other hand, know that a Zuma presidency is not going to dismantle the alignment of capitalist class forces consolidated by the ANC since the early 1990s, but rather further entrench them. No social movement militant should have any illusion about a Zuma presidency and his coterie of followers. We must understand that the Zuma faction does not represent an alternative class project to that of Thabo Mbeki. This is not only confirmed by the recently installed president Motlanthe, who categorically stated that he is going to continue where Mbeki left off, but also borne out by eight years of struggle against the ANC government and its neoliberal policies. Complicating matters, however, is that there exists not only hope in a Zuma presidency within the ranks of the ANC’s ``left'' allies and sections of the broader working class/poor, but also amongst the constituencies of the social movements, including the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF).

Not making things easier is the new kid on the political party block, the Congress of the People (COPE) and its key leader, Terror Lekota, the former chairperson of the ANC. COPE has introduced a new dimension into the political equation. They are projecting the image of people who respect the constitution and the rule of law. Whether this claiming of public space by former ANC members to voice political opposition to the current leadership of the ANC is going to lead to any kind of mass-based electoral support is still not clear, although it is certain that COPE will gain a degree of support, especially from the emergent black capitalist and middle classes. What we do know though is the track record of Lekota and his lieutenants as part of all the anti-working class policies of the ANC government. They were the co-drivers and implementers of the neoliberal GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) macroeconomic policy, privatisation, trade liberalisation and so on. Their loyalty has been firmly on the side of the capitalist class.

We are faced with a significantly changed situation as compared to that prevailing at the time of the 2004 national elections. On the one hand, the social movement militants are under no illusion as to what the new ruling elite in waiting represents. But, on the other hand, broad sections of the masses, including significant constituencies of the movements, are moving in tow with the elite-in-waiting. Thrown into the mix is the fact that social movements, as in the case of 2004, are not in a position to present an alternative parliamentary option to the masses. A realistic appraisal of the state of the movements will show that they have suffered further setbacks in their strategic capacity and implantation within communities where many organisations are in a state of survival. The significant support for a Zuma presidency amongst poor communities, is but one indicator of this process.

A call for a boycott

With the 2009 national elections around the corner we are confronted with the task of developing a parliamentary tactic that corresponds best to the present conjuncture. The term parliamentary tactic is employed on the assumption that it is common cause amongst socialists that participation in bourgeois parliaments is viewed as a tactical question and not one of principle. Over the decades the international working class has built up a vast arsenal of such tactics ranging from boycott, the fielding of candidates, protest vote in the form of a spoilt ballot to a conditional vote for a party/movement.

The bottom line is that none of the political parties that are contesting these elections are worth voting for. None of the main capitalist parties contesting, like the ANC, COPE and DA (Democratic Alliance), represent the aspirations and interests of the poor and working-class communities. In the 1994, 1999 and 2004 national elections, the ANC and others also released with much fanfare their electoral manifestos promising ``a better life for all''. Instead working-class communities have seen increased poverty, homelessness, dismal lack of service delivery and joblessness. In fact, over the past 14 years the ANC government has shown it has no political will to address, in a fundamental way, the interests and aspirations of the poor.

Again in 2009, the ANC and other capitalist parties are making many claims and promises. The ANC is boasting that it has created, on average, half a million jobs since 2004, reducing unemployment from 31 per cent in 2003 to 23 per cent in 2007. This is sheer dishonesty. The ANC is deliberately not including the millions who have simply stopped looking for a job. Independent figures show that unemployment is around 40 per cent and that the jobs that were created are the highly exploitative, casual, lowly paid and outsourced ones and of a very short-term nature. The so-called ``answers'' to the mass poverty and inequality in South Africa that are provided in the ANC electoral manifesto of the ruling party, are not ``answers'' at all, precisely because there is no political commitment and/or practical will to mobilise/organise the majority of the poor and working class to confront capital (i.e. to wage class struggle) and thus radically alter both the political and socioeconomic status quo.

Instead of wasting their vote and time on parties that have no intention of bringing about real fundamental changes, we are calling on communities, workers, the unemployed, youth and students not to vote on April 22, 2009. Voting in these national elections is not the sole, or even main, act of real democratic participation. We must not be fooled by empty appeals to ``civic duty'' and ``responsibility'' when we know that a vote for any of the participating political parties is a vote for a continuation of what has come before.

Social and political power does not lie in voting every five years for party representatives who claim to represent the people. It lies in building strong, mass poor/working-class movements and strengthening our common anti-capitalist struggles on the ground, which can make a difference both in ordinary people’s lives and in the way they relate to those with institutional and party representational power. It is such choices and actions that can be the source of real, popular and grassroots-oriented political power that is not confined/limited by the narrow, institutional boundaries of stale bourgeois democracy and that can have the potential to enforce real accountability and meaningful democratic participation.

[John Appolis is deputy chair of the Anti-Privatisation Forum. Dale McKinley is an independent writer, lecturer and researcher, and an activist within the Anti-Privatisation Forum as well as the Social Movements Indaba. This article first appeared in Pambazuka News.]

Comments

SACP Call to the people of South Africa

20 April 2009

SACP Call to the people of South Africa

The SACP calls upon the people of South Africa to come out in their numbers to cast their votes on 22 April 2009. We especially call upon the workers and the poor of our country to go out and vote for an overwhelming victory for the African National Congress, as part of the realization of the vision of the Freedom Charter – the People Shall Govern.

We fully agree with the ANC President, Cde Jacob Zuma that the power of the message of the ANC was that it focused on what is to be done, rather than negative campaigning against other political parties. The Democratic Alliance’s ‘Stop Zuma’ campaign is nothing more than a desperate act to appeal to the basest racist instincts of the DA’s core constituency. Cope’s anti-ANC message also reinforces our view that this party has nothing to offer the people of South Africa, but is a group of disgruntled elites and fugitives from the Polokwane democracy. Our people are not going to be fooled.

As South African communists we have, over the past few months, been in most of the four corners of our country: in the remotest of rural areas, in the informal settlements, the townships, hostels and thousands of workplaces. We have, through our door-to-door visits, red forums, and through our pamphlets and posters, reached out to millions of the workers and the poor of our country.

Through all the above work the message from millions of the workers and the poor is very clear; ‘Yes the ANC must continue to govern by being voted overwhelmingly and convincingly’. To millions of our people the ANC-led Alliance is the only formation that knows best where our people come from and the tasks that lie ahead. Our people have said that by voting for the ANC they are not voting for an organization that is apart from them, but by voting the ANC they are voting for themselves.

The popularity of the ANC amongst the mass of the people of our country was convincingly demonstrated by the massive numbers who attended the ANC’s Siyanqoba rallies over this last weekend. These rallies drew together people way beyond 600 000 in ten different stadia all over the country, all united behind an overwhelming victory for the ANC. Last weekend’s ANC gatherings, linked via satellite to listen to the message of the ANC President, Cde Jacob Zuma and from Alliance leaders, were the first of their kind in our country.

The SACP also built on its year-to-year contact with our people through our popular Red October Campaign to take forward the message of the ANC’s election manifesto as part of the SACP’s own contribution to the ANC’s election campaign.

The SACP however calls on all our people and their various formations not to demobilize after the elections, but to redirect the energies unleashed during the election campaign into building organs of people’s power to drive the implementation of the ANC’s election manifesto. For instance these energies should be directed into building street committees to fight crime; people’s land committees to drive faster rural, agrarian and land reform; people’s education committees for quality education; viable local health committees for quality health care for all; and to build even stronger COSATU unions for quality jobs.

The SACP, guided by its Medium Term Vision, will continue to play its part in strengthening our Alliance, and the mobilization of the working class beyond the elections, so that this class remains the leading motive forces in consolidating and advancing the national democratic revolution.

Let the workers and the poor of our country come out in their numbers to vote for the ANC on Wednesday!
Issued by the SACP

Contact:

Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson

Allison Drew: South Africa’s democracy at risk

South Africa’s democracy at risk
Written by Allison Drew on April 21, 2009

South Africa’s transition to democracy still captures the world’s admiration despite its dark side - the sectarian violence of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party and the populist violence that led to the burning alive of supposed traitors to the liberation struggle. Intolerance toward those refusing to support particular organizations lived alongside the tolerance that remains the transition’s potent symbol.

The vitality of the democratic movement is still seen in a vibrant print and radio culture and in discussion forums, workshops and educational programmes organized by a range of civil society organizations. This new democracy has been repeatedly tested. But now, at the time of the fourth democratic elections in April 2009, its future is threatened by powerful anti-democratic forces, and it risks succumbing to the populist authoritarianism that has captured so much of post-colonial Africa.

The story of the new South Africa concerns the development of an African economic elite using the machinery of the state - a phenomenon apparent across Africa since the 1960s, but that the Afrikaners introduced well before apartheid’s launch in 1948. In post-apartheid South Africa a black economic elite has developed through the Black Economic Empowerment scheme in which politically well-connected black South Africans acquire shares in the commanding heights of the economy. Another means of acquiring wealth is corruption, a phenomenon exposed by a relentless media campaign, by political activists Pregs Govender and Andrew Feinstein and by public intellectuals William Gumede and Xolela Mangcu.

The Afrikaner state had its own share of corruption scandals. But the nameless millions of South Africans whose relentless sacrifice paved the way to democracy have a right to expect integrity and accountability from their representatives. Corruption is now endemic from the top of the dominant political party down to small-town rural councillors. The ANC’s current election campaign reminds ordinary South Africans that many have benefited from improved service delivery. This is true. But many more could have benefited had not fifty billion Rands been spent to buy unnecessary armaments from international companies such as BAE Systems and Thint - this 1999 arms deal was accompanied by generous kickbacks to people at the very top of the ANC and government. Many millions live in dire poverty without job prospects, and in rural areas health care does not meet the basic conditions for human decency.

Former President Thabo Mbeki will be remembered for the foot-dragging on effective anti-AIDS treatment that led to countless unnecessary deaths. During his tenure he centralized power within the presidency and surrounded himself with sycophants. Yet he did this step by step with ANC approval. Only late in the game did diverse factions unite around the charismatic and controversial Jacob Zuma, the former deputy-president whom Mbeki sacked in 2005 because he was implicated in the arms deal. At its December 2007 conference the ANC rejected Mbeki’s bid to lead the party for a third term; had Mbeki succeeded this would have exacerbated competition between the party and the state. From then on the anti-Mbeki alliance gained ground. Mbeki finally resigned as president in September 2008.

South African politics has been consumed by the rivalry of two leaders with very different styles. But the division concerns factional struggles for power and influence - not ideology or policy. Most leaders of the country’s largest trade union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) believe that the federation’s interests are best served by remaining in the Tripartite Alliance with the ANC and South African Communist Party. Polls of shop stewards indicate that support for this position has declined, but it is still the majority view. COSATU backs Zuma because its leaders feel they have more scope to influence policy with him than with Mbeki, even though there is scant difference between Mbeki and Zuma on economic policy.

In certain respects South Africa’s multiparty system is flourishing: there are a number of opposition parties, although most are regionally or ethnically based. The recent split within the ANC that led to the launch of the Congress of the People (COPE) was not a split between the alliance partners or a left breakaway. COPE is an alliance of Mbeki supporters out of favour with the ANC’s new leadership and of those opposed to corruption. COPE, the Democratic Alliance, the Independent Democrats and the United Democratic Movement share an anti-corruption agenda and call for electoral reform. In Parliament the party list system means that MPs depend for their positions on pleasing the party; they are not elected by or accountable to their constituencies. Such an electoral system reinforces the dominant party’s position; many voices call for its reform, but its beneficiaries outnumber those critics.

Zuma has risen on the crest of a populist wave. His trademark song, Umshini wami [Bring me my machine gun], harks back to militant armed struggle, when success did not depend on formal education. Yet armed struggle was only one part of the anti-apartheid movement, which was also marked by a commitment to non-violence and critical discourse. In a democracy differences should be resolved through discussion, debate, voting and the law - not by using guns. This exultation of weapons is extremely dangerous in a country that has seen an explosion of violent crime - not least extraordinary violence against women - and the proliferation of guns. The machine gun is a potent phallic symbol dating from the very gendered era of armed struggle.

Despite their different styles, Mbeki and Zuma share an intolerance for dissent. Mbeki’s intolerance is reflected in his own actions and statements, Zuma’s in those of his followers. In May 2006 Zuma was acquitted on a rape charge; the woman who brought the charge was subjected to violent intimidation and death threats by some of his supporters. In June 2008 ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s claimed he would ‘kill for Zuma’. A chorus of voices swiftly condemned his statement, but that it was uttered at all signals the readiness to consider using violence to stifle dissent.

Political irresponsibility takes various forms. On 17 April 2009 ANC spokesperson Jesse Duarte claimed in a BBC radio interview that 90 % of the people in Alexandra township are from other countries. This claim is false and dangerous, playing into the sentiments that led to last year’s pogroms against African immigrants who came seeking a better life. This xenophobic violence, which shocked the country and the world, resembled the populist violence of the 1980s.

Zuma went on trial for corruption in 2006, claiming he was targeted for political reasons. Shortly before the April 2009 elections the National Prosecuting Authority controversially dropped the corruption charges, claiming evidence that the prosecution had indeed been politically motivated. Yet Zuma still has a corruption case to answer. He will be president of the country under this cloud.

The massive challenges facing South Africa depend for their resolution on political leadership willing to respect the democratic institutions won after a bitterly hard struggle, to welcome public debate and to impress upon their supporters the need to tolerate the views of others and respect their right to disagree. A broad-based culture of democracy is sorely needed in today’s South Africa, and if the country’s leaders do not start building this now, its democratic institutions may well founder.

Allison Drew is professor of politics at the University of York. Her work includes South Africa’s Radical Tradition: A documentary history (2 vols), Discordant Comrades: Identities and loyalties on the South African left, Between Empire and Revolution: A Life of Sidney Bunting and numerous articles on African politics.

SACP welcomes ANC's overwhelming victory

4 April 2009

On 22 April, millions of our people came out in numbers to cast their votes in the fourth democratic elections of our country. The outcomes of the votes that have been counted so far have reaffirmed the overwhelming confidence that our people have in the ANC.

The ANC has amidst all manner of pessimisms, including sustained negative media publicity, emerged with a renewed mandate to work together with our people to transform the South African society for the better.

Just as it happened in the run up to Polokwane and during the persecution of the ANC President, the media is licking its wounds with this resounding victory for the ANC. The DA’s racist campaign was seen by our people for what it is and was rejected. The fugitives from the Polokwane democracy, the eternal opportunists calling themselves COPE, have faced their day. The people of South Africa have rejected the elitist campaign to demonise the ANC and its President.

Our people have reaffirmed their trust and confidence in the ANC!! Our people have heeded the call to defend the legacy of Chris Hani. Hani’s legacy and indeed that of the many heroes, heroines and martyrs of our revolution remain an inspiration to the majority of our people who came out in their numbers yesterday and “Did it For Chris Hani!”. This victory indeed is a great way to honour the sacrifice and commitment of our leaders like Oliver Tambo, Joe Slovo, Dora Tamaana, Ncumisa Kondlo and Esther Barsel.

The SACP commits itself to deepening the political organisation of the working class to play its rightful place as the leading motive force to deepen and consolidate our democracy.

In our election campaign, as communists we interacted with millions of our people who have raised with us genuine challenges and problems relating to service delivery. We do not have the luxury of time on our side, but to move with speed to attend to the water and roads problems in Itsoseng township in the North-West, the total absence of sanitation facilities in sections of Bethal in Mpumalanga, attending to the backlog of land and agrarian reform and the conditions of the farmworkers in South Africa’s countryside, and many other challenges identified during this campaign.

To do this, we ought to remain true to our commitment to working together! The SACP calls on our people not to demobilize but to utilize the momentum that has been generated by the elections campaign to form street committees to fight against crime and corruption, to form people’s health committees to attend to the challenges of provision of quality health for all, establish local people’s education committees to eradicate illiteracy and make education a societal issue, establish people’s land committees to deal with the issue of land reform and attending to issues of food security in order to fight hunger and establish public transport committees for safe, accessible and reliable provision of public transport services.

We need to continue with the momentum to deepen community participation in various platforms set for them to influence decisions of government especially at a local level. This victory should be a declaration that nothing should be done to communities without their participation!!!

The working class and the poor have scored a major victory today and should benefit immensely from their effort. When we started the second decade of our democracy we declared that the first decade indeed benefited capital more and that the second decade of freedom should be a decade of the workers and the poor. Half way that journey, we are at a pole position to accelerate our efforts to make this, the second decade of our democracy the decade of the workers and the poor!

The SACP congratulates the ANC and the rest of the Mass Democratic Movement on this resounding victory. We wish Cde Jacob Zuma and his leadership collective all the best in the next administration and guarantee them of our support.

Issued by the SACP.

Contact:

Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson

South African Unions Demand Action After ANC Win

By Matthew Tostevin
Reuters
Apr 26, 2009
http://uk.reuters.com/article/marketsNewsUS/idUKLQ49245120090426

JOHANNESBURG, April 26 (Reuters) - South Africa's
powerful trade unions demanded more action to fight
poverty on Sunday, putting pressure on president-to-be
Jacob Zuma after the big election victory of his African
National Congress.

While Zuma has promised no radical change to policies
favoured by business, markets are concerned he could
bend to pressure from leftist and unionist allies at a
time Africa's biggest economy faces its first recession
in 17 years.

Zuma's future cabinet will also be closely watched.
Media tipped Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, respected
by markets for keeping spending in check and promoting
financial stability, to head a powerful new government
oversight body.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, allied to
the ANC, said that after the ruling party's 65.9 percent
election victory, it was time to do more to address
inequality.

"Our priority now is to make sure that the ANC's
commitments in its progressive elections manifesto are
driven forward and turned into a programme of action,"
said a COSATU statement ahead of the public holiday on
Monday to mark the 1994 election that brought an end to
white minority rule.

"We must take vigorous action to protect workers from
the impact of the global economic crisis, create new,
decent jobs, transform the lives of the poor majority of
South Africans and ensure that we all share in the
fruits of our labour."

Zuma, 67, is close to the unions, who were instrumental
in helping him win an internal power struggle against
former President Thabo Mbeki and ensuring his election
despite graft charges that were dropped this month on a
technicality.

But he has also assured investors they have nothing to
fear from putting money in South Africa and pledged on
Saturday to work with unions and business to ensure
stability. The global crisis allows even less room for
manoeuvre.

SPOTLIGHT ON MANUEL

The fate of finance minister Manuel is being closely
watched as a sign of policy direction under Zuma.

The Sunday Times newspaper said he was likely to head a
new national planning commission which would monitor
government performance. It said Manuel's staff recently
held a farewell function for him.

The Sunday Independent said Zuma was likely to keep
Manuel in the cabinet to reassure markets, but also said
he could be given the powerful Central Planning
Commission portfolio.

"Some in the ANC would like his superpowers to be
retained in the cabinet," the paper said.

The rand fell more than 2.5 percent last year
when markets thought Manuel was leaving the cabinet.
Expectations he will stay on have also helped strengthen
the rand recently.

ANC spokesman Brian Sokutu said any discussions on posts
would still only be at the informal level and the
cabinet would be made clear when Zuma takes office on
May 9. An ANC transition team is in place to ensure a
smooth handover.

"We don't want to entertain speculation about what
individual will take what post," he said.

The Sunday Times said possible new finance ministers
could be businessman Cyril Ramaphosa and current deputy
Nhlanhla Nene.

Because of the questions about how long Manuel will stay
in his current role, close attention is also being paid
to whoever might take the deputy finance job.

Names mentioned include Pravin Gordhan, who heads the
tax authority and is credited with significantly
improving revenue collection. ANC Treasurer-General
Mathews Phosa, a former lawyer and Zuma ally, is also
seen as a possibility.

COSATU: Historic Victory For Our Revolutionary Movement

Historic Victory For Our Revolutionary Movement
Address by COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, to
the ANC Victory celebrations, Johannesburg
23 April 2009
http://www.cosatu.org.za/press/2009/apri/press36.htm

Today's historic victory for our revolutionary movement
- the African National Congress - is dedicated to its
greatest leaders - Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter
Sisulu and Chris Hani. It is also a victory for our late
2nd Deputy President, Violet Seboni.

Our victory also represents a funeral for COPE and all
the other fish-and-chips political formations. Our
people have rejected negative politics. They don't like
negative campaigning. Only people who are truthful knew
who was going to win. God listens to the majority and
not to the spiteful elite who are hell-bent on clinging
onto positions.

To us this campaign started in 2003 after Bulelani
Ngcuka held an off-the-record briefing with selected
black editors to launch a media trial and win public
opinion, instead of winning his case in court.

It gathered speed when he declared that he had prima
facie evidence against Comrade Jacob Zuma but not a
winnable case. It gathered more momentum after the
unfair dismissal of Comrade Jacob Zuma by former
President Thabo Mbeki. The Polokwane conference was just
one of the stations on the route to the union buildings.
The COSATU General Secretary said that Jacob Zuma was an
unstoppable tsunami, for which he was ridiculed and
lampooned. Today he has the last laugh.

Today's result is a vote for decent jobs, for
healthcare, education and rural development, and a vote
against crime and corruption. It is a vote for a strong
tripartite alliance and for strong ANC branches on the
ground.

The Western Cape result is disappointing but not
surprising. Back in November surveys suggested that we
were left with a mere 18% of the vote. The ANC had been
deeply hurt by infighting and factional battles that
have run for five years.

But following the very good work by the COSATU unions
and the ANC, particularly those deployed by the NEC, we
turned the situation around. We now expect to get double
that 18% support.

This has been the mother of all election campaigns! The
ANC and its allies have faced the combined opposition of
much of the private and public media, and many
institutions and individuals in society, who seem
determined to protect and entrench minority interests,
without understanding that unless the majority move
forward, our country cannot prosper.

But our people, particularly in working class
communities, saw through this barrage of attacks,
misinformation and lies, and have come out as never
before to protect and advance our movement.

Whilst we celebrate our victory, however, we know that
much more still need to be done. Too many of our people
remain unemployed. Too many of the employed are in
temporary and casualised jobs or employed through the
labour broking system. Our country's wealth is still
unfairly distributed. Too many live in poverty, while a
tiny minority control most of the country's resources.

The commitments the ANC has made in its progressive
elections manifesto has invigorated a new spirit of hope
and determination in all of us workers. We are confident
that the ANC will ensure that these commitments are
taken forward, and we will mobilise to see that this
happens. The pessimism that was beginning to set in over
the last 10 years has been replaced by a new hope that
workers' priorities have been made national priorities.

We need to continue to rally around the ANC and prepare
for the next phase - ensuring that the pledges contained
in the Manifesto are translated into an implementable
programme to radically improve our people's lives.

We need to see that the economic policies in the
Manifesto are implemented vigorously, to counter the
impact of the economic crisis on our people and ensure
that we all share in the fruits of our labour. We need
to translate the incredible energy and mobilisation we
have seen in this campaign into a mass movement for
transformation to propel our country to greater heights.

COSATU wishes to thank its members for voting in defence
of the revolution and for continuing the fundamental
transformation of our society. We thank the thousands of
out shop stewards and activists who worked so hard to
ensure this victory.

South Africa to Retain ‘Conservative’ Fiscal Policy

By Mike Cohen

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa’s incoming administration plans to keep its “conservative” economic policies, according to Mathews Phosa, the treasurer-general of the ruling African National Congress.

“Our macroeconomic policies will not shift, but our focus on delivery in specific sectors will be sharpened,” Phosa said today in an e-mailed copy of a speech made at the Global Emerging Markets Summit in London. “The South African government understands the current global challenges. It also understands that an isolated South African response to those challenges would be short-sighted.”

Jacob Zuma is due to be inaugurated as South Africa’s next president on May 9, following the ANC’s victory in the country’s fourth all-race elections on April 22. Zuma’s rise to power was back by trade unionists and the South African Communist Party, which want the government to ease budget restrictions and abolish inflation targeting.

“We fully understand that good governance, sound macro- economic policies, mature democracies and enhanced security makes for better partnerships” with investors, Phosa said. “The incoming president will verbalize his own economic policies in consultation with his economic, trade, industry and financial advisers and ministers, but we have repeatedly stated that our conservative fiscal and monetary policies will remain in place.”

********

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/86606058-35aa11de-a997-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

Zuma official vows no lurch to left

By William Wallis and Alec Russell in London

Published: April 30 2009 18:27 | Last updated: April 30 2009 18:27

South Africa’s incoming administration will not be cowed by the global downturn into abandoning election promises of social and institutional change, but will not spend beyond its means, says a leading African National Congress official.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mathews Phosa, the ruling party’s treasurer and a central player in president-in-waiting Jacob Zuma’s rise to power, said the broad thrust of economic policy would remain unchanged.

There would be no lurch to the left to please Mr Zuma’s supporters in the trade unions and Communist party, indicated Mr Phosa, who was in London to reassure foreign investors over government intentions .

“People are very impatient, and you can understand coming from low levels of poverty, but we need to manage that impatience into the future,” he said. “We are not going to spend money we don’t have ... or do anything in our fiscal and monetary policy that would undermine fundamentals.”

Mr Zuma comes to power as South Africa looks set for its first recession in 17 years, with mineral export markets collapsing and domestic manufacturers and retailers cutting output and jobs.

Yesterday, Tito Mboweni, the central bank governor, said there were “no indications of a quick recovery” as he cut benchmark interest rates to 8.5 per cent – their lowest level since 2006.

The new administration would have to temper public expectations, Mr Phosa acknowledged. But it was not going to be “defeatist”.

The government’s focus would shift aggressively towards service delivery. A new “planning commission” would be created to co-ordinate and monitor policy implementation. The new cabinet would be announced soon after Mr Zuma was sworn in on May 9.

The government would lay off “lazy” officials and strive to improve civil service training and performance.

“Our view is that we have beautiful policies. There is cash. But the skills level in the public service is very low. If you have no project managers to implement [policy] you will not deliver,” said Mr Phosa. “This is a big challenge for the Zuma government.”

He defended the ANC’s record, saying the reason that 65 per cent of the electorate continued backing the party was that it had restored dignity to black people by giving them the vote and providing the housing, water, health clinics and electricity denied them under apartheid.

But he said it was time to recognise shortcomings. The education system was inadequate, and teachers would be put under intense pressure to improve their act.

The government would continue providing welfare to the poorest, but the priority would be to stimulate entrepreneurship to enable people to help themselves.

The focus of Black Economic Empowerment policy would be “flipped on its head” to target start-ups, community investments and the “grass roots”, instead of fostering an emerging black elite riding share prices.

With additional reporting by Tom Burgis

 

Big business press: `Zuma appointments ease business fears'

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7b5e4c4e-3d6e-11de-a85e-00144feabdc0.html

Zuma appointments ease business fears

ByRichard Lapper in Johannesburg

Published: May 10 2009 15:47 | Last updated: May 10 2009 18:46

Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s new president, on Sunday appointed Trevor Manuel, the country’s respected finance minister, to head a powerful new centralised planning body, reassuring business critics who feared the new leader would shift policy to the left.

Mr Zuma vowed to create a partnership with a place for all citizens
In another appointment closely watched by financial markets, Pravin Gordhan, the highly regarded head of the country’s tax collection service, is to take over from Mr Manuel at the finance ministry.

Investors had feared that Mr Zuma, whose election campaign was supported by the Communist party and the trade union movement, might oversee a populist lurch to the left.

But his opening appointments, as well as his inauguration speech on Saturday, have been pitched at reassuring investors. In particular, Mr Zuma has stressed the need to improve government efficiency and provide better public services, one of the shortcomings of the former government.

Mr Zuma said on Sunday that Mr Manuel was being “given a new structure, a very powerful structure, to work out a national plan of government. It will be all encompassing and is not going to exclude economic matters”.

Jeff Gable, head of research at Absa Capital in Johannesburg, said: “There is not a lot that is scary here. The government has fallen short on delivery and has now introduced a structure designed to put things right.”

In his inauguration speech, Mr Zuma promised more efficient government, as well as a new partnership “in which there is a place for all South Africans, black and white”.

This was an implicit swipe at former president Thabo Mbeki, whom he ousted as leader of the ruling African National Congress 18 months ago and who was accused by his critics of abandoning the reconciliatory ethos of Nelson Mandela, the first post-apartheid president.

From the planning position, Mr Manuel appears poised to play a key role. Closely identified with Mr Mbeki, Mr Manuel often sparred with Mr Zuma’s leftwing backers and at one time was expected to leave the government.

As finance minister since 1996, he is credited with many of the previous government’s economic achievements, especially the maintenance of stability during the early years of transition from apartheid.

William Gumede, a political analyst, dismissed concerns that Mr Manuel’s powers might be notional. “He will be based in Zuma’s own office and have political backing to do things,” he said.

Mr Gordhan’s appointment, meanwhile, should ensure that the Treasury – one of the best performing government departments under Mr Manuel’s watch – will continue to do well.

“The markets will be happy,” said John Cairns, currency strategist at Rand Merchant Bank, of Mr Gordhan’s appointment.

A pharmacist, Mr Gordhan worked with Mr Zuma as part of the ANC’s underground movement in the 1970s and 1980s. He took over at the tax authority in 1999 and saw revenue collection grow from 24 per cent to 28 per cent of gross domestic product in 2008.

“He is a technocrat who has delivered like no one else in this government,” said Mr Gumede.

“He has also recruited really competent people, going for good technicians rather than those who just have the political credentials.”

There was room in the government for senior Communist party leaders such as Blade Nzimande, one of Mr Zuma’s closest allies, who was made minister of higher education.

Tokyo Sexwale, the prominent black businessman who is a leading beneficiary of the government’s empowerment policies, is to take over at a newly created ministry of human settlement, a position that includes responsibility for housing.

Additional reporting by Tom Burgis

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

ANC sidelines SACP in Western Cape

SACP Western Cape PEC Lekgotla
Khaya Magaxa, Karl Cloete, 16 May 2009

The SACP Western Cape held its PEC Lekgotla on Saturday 16 May 2009, and discussed robustly, amongst other, an elections and political report, organizational report and the programme of action for 2009. The PEC Lekgotla, had a full quorum, attended by the PEC, Districts, Central Committee members and Young Communist League.

1. On the SACP and reconfigured Alliance

The SACP resolved in its 2008 Policy Conference that it will throw its full weight into the ANC-led alliance election campaign to ensure an overwhelming victory with an increased majority within a reconfigured alliance, which must involve amongst other things the following:

1. The forging of the alliance as the strategic political centre of the national democratic revolution.
2. The establishment of an Alliance Political Council, consisting of the Alliance national officials to oversee broad political issues, including policies, popular mobilization, governance challenges and deployments.
3. The establishment of Alliance deployment committees at all levels, from the national to local levels.

The Lekgotla in its assessment of the ANC Western Cape elections processes concluded that in the final lists, Communists were sidelined and as a consequence not a single SACP member in the Western Cape made it to the provincial legislature or national assembly. This once again confirms the picture prevailing in our province of reluctance to ensure that communists occupy key sites of power and that comrades are not accommodated in Mayoral Committees and other related deployments.

In the view of the SACP the 1996 Class Project in the Western Cape has manufactured a leadership crisis not only in government but within the national liberation movement itself. The palace politics that this project represents – that of backstabbing, factionalism, patronage and corruption have seen a situation whereby the ANC as the leader of the alliance has been weakened to an extent that it cannot lead and implement the programmes of the ANC and Alliance as adopted by Polokwane and the recent National and Provincial Alliance Summits.

The SACP Lekgotla appreciated the fact that the ANC (NEC) intervened in the Western Cape to rescue the province from further electoral embarrassment of the ANC during these elections. The NEC appointed provincial elections task team inherited an electoral support for the ANC as little as 18% in the Western Cape. In the SACP’s view the presence of the TASK Team enhanced harmonious relations within the ANC and within Alliance partners. There are already signs with the lapse of the political life span of the TASK team that the organization will revert back to the pre-TASK TEAM political discourse.

The SACP Lekgotla resolve that:-

1. That the alliance structures in the Western Cape implement the National and Provincial Alliance Summit Declarations with immediate, as they contain areas of agreement and minimum programme of the alliance, and that there should be a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the implementation of Alliance Declarations.
2. That the ANC HQ decisively intervenes in the Western Cape thereby province in preparation for the local government elections thereby ensuring that we defeat the divisions and factionalism created by the ANC provincial leadership in the Western Cape but more importantly to maintain the momentum created in the 2009 elections by the all inclusive NEC deployed elections team.
3. The SACP’s memorandums since 2005 to the ANC Head Quarters wherein the Party pointed out the internal strife in the ANC Western Cape province as well as the SACP’s resolution in its December 2008 Provincial Council which calls for the disbandment of the Western Cape ANC leadership is a matter that we would once again convey to the ANC national leadership if we are to rebuild the ANC into a strong, unifying and campaigning formation in the Western Cape.

Deployments for Nzimande, Cronin problematic for SACP

Deployments for Nzimande, Cronin problematic for SACP

May 25, 2009 Edition 1

Xolani Mbanjwa

The SACP has conceded that it might encounter challenges maintaining
cohesion within its ranks after its general secretary and dep-uty, Blade
Nzimande and Jeremy Cronin respectively, were deployed to President
Jacob Zuma's new executive.

The party has also expressed concern that it was not consulted by the
ANC in certain provinces regarding the appointments of some premiers and
members of their provincial cabinets.

Nzimande's deployment to the cabinet has left senior SACP members
concerned that it could create a leadership vacuum. But the party's
central committee decided at the weekend that the new minister of higher
education and training should remain in his post until the SACP holds
its special congress in Limpopo in December.

Senior party leaders said the party's constitution would have to be
amended because Nzimande's general secretary post is full-time.

Cronin said yesterday that there was a "long-range" debate about
Nzimande's appointment at the central committee meeting.

He said Nzimande had been instructed by the party to make himself
available as an ANC MP because he had featured high up on the ruling
party's list of candidates.

"Even before the elections, we instructed him (Nzimande) to make himself
available, because he received huge support from ANC branches during its
list process and he was high up on the list. To us, that made a point
that the communists are an integral part of the ANC and that the ruling
party's members wanted to see communists serving in (the) government,"
said Cronin.

He said such deployments were new to the SACP. "During (ex-president
Thabo) Mbeki's years, we were marginalised and undermined. The
deployments will pose some challenges of maintaining cohesion within the
party, but certainly there is no crisis."

The SACP would set up a deployment and monitoring commission to assist
members who held leadership positions within the party and who had been
deployed to the government.

Nzimande said the SACP would also discuss concerns raised over the ANC's
failure to consult over certain provincial government appointments.

"While there has been huge improvement in the operation of the alliance,
we are concerned that this good position is not translating in the same
way at provincial level, where our relations seem to be worse.

"We would like to see more-inclusive consultation and we admit that the
situation is not good in provinces, but we are confident we will address
this because the (ANC) national leadership has stated that this alliance
is not a luxury, it's a necessity," said Nzimande.

SACP and COSATU unhappy at being sidelined in E. Cape

SACP and COSATU unhappy at being sidelined

2009/05/27

Daily Dispatch

COSATU and the South African Communist Party (SACP) have attacked the ANC provincial leadership for “purging and sidelining” the two alliance partners with an “anti-working class agenda”.

Cosatu’s provincial secretary Xola Pakati fired the first salvo in his secretariat report tabled at the labour federation’s two-day elective provincial congress in East London yesterday.

Pakati told the 1000 delegates at the Orient Theatre that the relationship between the left and the ANC was characterised by mistrust.

“We can no longer rely on the bona fides of the leadership of our movement. Most of our engagements are not yielding any positive results, in terms of influencing the ANC. In fact, the recent experience is that of being purged completely.”

The scathing report also listed a number of cases that had led to Cosatu believing the ANC was not a trustworthy ally. These included:

l The recent appointment of the provincial Cabinet by Premier Noxolo Kiviet, which indicated the ANC had an anti- working class agenda;

l Differences of opinion between political alliance structures and their respective decisions which the ANC implemented selectively; and

l The emergence of the rooi gevaar tendency where Cosatu and SACP were perceived to be hatching a plot to take over the ANC.

In the face of the extraordinary attack, ANC provincial executive committee member and Chief Whip Humphrey Maxegwana defended his party and called for unity.

He said the left had an “instrumental role to play in advancing the programme of development and transformation”.

“A dynamic and strong alliance is required to act as a conveyor belt for the sentiment of the people and to ensure that our democratic movement and its government have their ears on the ground, at all times feeling the pulses of the masses.”

He called for a stronger alliance, united in purpose.

“As the leadership of the ANC in the province, we are committed to building a stronger alliance, respecting each of the alliance components’ right to speak out within the framework of the national democratic revolution, in furtherance of the interests of each of the constituencies,” added Maxegwana.

But SACP provincial secretary Xolile Nqatha waded in where Cosatu left off, saying that in the labour federation they had a dependable ally, contrary to what was happening with the ANC.

“In Cosatu, we can go to bed without worries. But our experiences post-election with the ANC has shown us that we cannot demobilise because we have been reduced to being spectators in the process of managing the transition in provincial government,” said Nqatha.

“The ANC will remain a contested terrain until the working class becomes the dominant voice that sets its agenda …We, as the left, have an interest in who leads the the ANC. We cannot rely on ANC leadership goodwill any more,” he added.

Cosatu’s provincial chairperson Mpumelelo Saziwa added that the workers needed to swell the ranks of the ANC to ensure that the working class could not be sidelined by the ruling party.

“Comrades, this not an attack of the ANC but a constructive criticism. We won’t keep quiet when we are being sidelined on matters of deployment.” - By MSIMELELO NJWABANE

Political Reporter

ANC warns union

ANC warns union
Friday 29-May-2009

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe warned trade unions on Thursday
against public attempts to push the government to give in to demands.

"You are projecting the [President Jacob] Zuma leadership as weak and
indebted to various constituencies," Mantashe told a National Union of
Mineworkers (NUM) congress in Johannesburg.

Some trade unions were creating the impression that "the ANC must react
instinctively to demands", said Mantashe.

He cited a protest by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa)
to the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) offices in Pretoria on Wednesday as an
example.

"I am not sure the Numsa march was helpful," said Mantashe.

"I need to talk to comrade Vavi about that," he added, looking at
Congress of SA Trade Unions' general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Mantashe said the Numsa march to SARB on Wednesday, while it was meeting
to discuss interest rates, was "counter-productive".

Numsa marched to SARB's offices in Pretoria to demand a cut in interest
rates and the scrapping of inflation targeting.

The Reserve Bank was under pressure from all sectors to drop rates
following news this week that South Africa was in its first recession in
17 years.

Mantashe said the SARB would not want to be perceived as having buckled
under pressure from unions if it decided to drop rates.

"It is not a household tactic to march because you are actually pushing
them not to drop rates," said Mantashe.

Numsa officials were furious after learning SARB would not accept their
memorandum of demands.

But Mantashe said unions were welcome to talk to the African National
Congress about their complaints.

"It [protest action] may be counter-productive, particularly when there
is an ANC that is there to listen and engage.

"It doesn't help if those doors are open and you keep kicking the door.

"Walk in and engage," said Mantashe.

Earlier, Vavi told the congress that the tripartite-alliance between the
ANC, Cosatu, and the SA Communist Party had never been as strong as it
was now.

"The alliance has never been so strong.

"It is a spell of unity we have never seen," Vavi said.

"The challenge is how we will keep this unity strong."

Vavi called for "a shift by the new government to more expansionary
economic policy" to deal with the recession.

This should include "a radically expanded public works programme".

Mantashe said the government would do its utmost to combat unemployment.

But he warned that the current economic situation was not going to make
it easy.

"This situation is going to impact negatively, particularly on the
question of creating more jobs," said Mantashe. - Sapa

Source Url: http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?art_id=nw20090528151609593C970196

ANCYL: Why we need to nationalise the mines

Why we need to nationalise the mines - Julius Malema
Julius Malema
06 July 2009

ANCYL president defends his call for state control of the mineral wealth of the country

MINERAL WEALTH BENEATH THE SOIL AND MINES SHOULD BE TRANSFERED TO THE OWNERSHIP OF THE PEOPLE AS A WHOLE

In opening the ANC YL Political School on the 1st of July 2009, our call for the nationalisation of mines (see speech) ignited a necessary reaction and overreactions from various quarters of society, often reflective of the class interests of the people who reacted. In the call for nationalisation of mines, we went further to assert that this will not please everyone, and that is why we are not shocked that certain people, particularly the representatives of big business are not happy.

What surprises us though, it is those within our ranks who oppose the call for the nationalisation of mines, because this is a call of the Freedom Charter, which says unequivocally that "the mineral wealth beneath the soil, monopoly industries and banks shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole". The people as a whole is vividly distinguishable from State rentals of mineral wealth to big corporations who brutally exploit labour and unsustainably exploit mineral wealth to make big profits.

The Freedom Charter is a the clearest expression of what the ANC and alliance partners seek to achieve in South Africa and any person who is against the Charter is against the aims of the ANC and the revolutionary alliance. Those who are tired of leading the African National Congress will dare oppose its ideals, because the declaration all members sign when joining the ANC commit all members to abide the aims and objectives of the Freedom Charter. As defenders of the revolution we will have a permanent problem with any member or leader of the ANC who opposes the Freedom Charter in an attempt to please the minority owners of Mines and mineral resources.

The ANC YL has a responsibility historically to come with new ideas and methods of engagement towards the attainment of our ultimate goal. We are not prisoners of previous Congresses' resolutions even when material conditions have objectively shifted. So those who intend to silence us on the basis of resolutions should rethink their method of engagement, and understand that we can analyse and think on our own. We have a responsibility to break new ground and propose to the movement new tactics towards the attainment of our Strategic goal, and we will not allow anyone to take away such an important character of the ANC YL.

Our call for nationalisation of mines is in such a manner where the State will own mineral wealth and mines as a custodian of the entire South African population, and not a custodian of few big-businesses. All South Africans should equitably benefit from State owned and controlled mines and we are not mistaken when we make the call for the nationalisation of Mines. We are vividly aware of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) which retains State control of all mineral rights, but what we are calling for is State ownership and control of both the mineral wealth beneath the soil, and the extraction and production of these mineral resources in Mines thereof.

Why is it that South Africa should be criminalised for nationalising our mineral wealth, whilst the big capitalists' States like the United States are nationalising their corporations in their countries. We should refuse to be controlled by imperialist forces whose interests will never converge with the interests of the South African population. Theirs is to make big profits at the expense of South Africans' labour and mineral resources, and this is historically the root of racial oppression. Racial oppression in South Africa is a direct consequence of colonialists' control of South Africa's mineral resources, and we have a responsibility to reverse such phenomenon.

During the 2009 State of the Nation address, President Jacob Zuma said: "The creation of decent work will be at the centre of our economic policies and will influence our investment attraction and job-creation initiatives". It is our firm belief that if job-creation is genuinely at the centre of economic policies, then the State should own and control mineral wealth and mines so as to attract labour absorptive industrialists who will beneficiate our minerals resources and diversify South Africa's economy. The beneficiation of the mineral resources and diversification of the economy will never happen if minerals and mines are still controlled by the current owners, because their interests are only confined with exporting South Africa's minerals to the bigger economies.

The threats of disinvestment are simply threats that cannot disorientate the South African economy. The investors need South Africa's economic resources, labour and expanding market as much as we appreciate their investments. They are investing in South Africa because they want to benefit, not because they are doing us a favour. So the threats of disinvestment are really hollow. As we said before, nationalisation of mines will not please everyone, and the ANC government should appreciate that in a class divided society like South Africa, some decisions will not go well with certain sections of society.

We should be decisive and mobilise the people to understand that we need to nationalise mines in order to benefit all South Africans. Those who are calling for an open debate around the whole issue are welcome, as this will assist the people to decide their destiny and concretely affirm that indeed the mineral wealth beneath the soil should benefit all the people.

Statement issued by Julius Malema, ANC Youth League President, July 6 2009

Zuma May Be African Lula

Zuma May Be African Lula as Anti-Inflation Move Lures Investors

By Nasreen Seria

Aug. 28, 2009 (Bloomberg) -- South African President Jacob Zuma was propelled into office this year by union support. So far, it is investors who are reaping the benefit.

Zuma, who campaigned on promises to create jobs and slash poverty, began by removing two union foes: Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and central bank governor Tito Mboweni. He then named replacements who once worked for Manuel and Mboweni and who have favored their predecessors’ economic policies, which labor officials say stifle growth and employment.

That has some analysts comparing Zuma to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who panicked investors with his anti-capitalist rhetoric when he came to power in 2003, only to implement market-pleasing measures later. Since Lula took office on Jan. 1, 2003, Brazil’s gross domestic product has tripled to become the world’s eighth-biggest economy.

“Zuma is pulling a Lula,” said Lars Christensen, head of emerging-market strategy at Danske Bank in Copenhagen. “Zuma is a pragmatist. I can’t see any big differences between Zuma’s policies and those of his predecessors. No one expected that.”

The president has maintained the inflation-fighting policies of his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, has met investors to reassure them, has said that public spending may need to be curbed and has commissioned a study on using tax revenue more effectively. Yesterday, Gwede Mantashe, secretary general of Zuma’s African National Congress, said labor unions have no undue influence over the president.

Best After Brazil

South Africa’s rand is the second best-performing emerging market currency of the 26 monitored by Bloomberg this year. The first is the Brazilian real. Ex-union leader Lula kept spending in check and named as central bank president a FleetBoston Financial Corp. executive who resisted pressure from some members of Lula’s Workers’ Party to immediately cut rates.

Almost four months into his term, Zuma is adhering to the free-market approach that angered his union backers when implemented by Mbeki. Investors who were irked by Zuma’s ties to labor now say Zuma’s South Africa is looking like a good bet.

Since the April 22 election, the rand has gained 13 percent against the dollar, the benchmark South African stock index has advanced 26 percent and credit default swaps, the cost of protecting against a default, have dropped by more than a third.

“Zuma appears to be making very solid decisions,” said Joseph Rohm, fund manager of the $300 million Africa & Middle East Fund at T Rowe Price International Plc in London. “We are encouraged that what was a business-friendly environment has been maintained.” He said he has been buying South African assets, though he declined to be more specific.

Police Questions

Opposition parties accuse Zuma of failing to act against corrupt officials and making inappropriate appointments to key positions, including the head of the police.

Zuma’s conduct “suggests a lack of respect for the constitution and in turn for good governance and best democratic practice,” Athol Trollip, parliamentary leader of the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, told reporters in Cape Town yesterday. “There is a yawning gap between the president’s words and actions.”

Zuma has appointed senior unionists and South African Communist Party leaders to his cabinet, though they have little say over fiscal or monetary policy.

Blade Nzimande, head of the Communist Party, became minister of higher education. Ebrahim Patel, previously secretary-general of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union, was named economic development minister, a new post with undefined powers.

Planning Head

And Zuma has created a new post for Manuel as head of a government planning commission that may allow him to steer overall government policy and maintain programs that he spent more than a decade putting in place at the treasury.

Union leaders say they remain confident that Zuma will act in their interests.

“If you look at the current cabinet, it reflects new ground,” said Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, which has held demonstrations outside the central bank demanding lower rates. “Our interests have been accommodated.”

The union leaders are asserting Zuma is with them because “it’s in their interests to do so,” said Steven Friedman, director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy in Johannesburg. In reality, he said, “nothing has changed. The fundamentals remain the same.”

No Mine Nationalizations

The president on July 10 dismissed calls from the ANC’s Youth League and the Congress of South African Trade Unions for the country’s mines to be nationalized, saying that it was “just a debate.”

Zuma, 67, won a leadership race against Mbeki for the top position of the ruling ANC in December 2007 with the help of unions and the Communist Party, which said they had been sidelined during Mbeki’s rule. Unions lobbied ANC members on Zuma’s behalf ahead of the party vote, and then in 2008 called for Mbeki’s departure.

Unions have pressed Zuma to favor workers and the poor, by pushing for cuts in the benchmark interest rate from the current 7 percent, spending more on welfare for children and creating jobs for the almost one in four South Africans without work.

The selection of Zuma’s economic team, instead, shows that Mbeki’s policies haven’t been altered.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan served as head of tax collection under Manuel, 53, while Gill Marcus, who becomes central bank governor in November, helped Mboweni set up inflation-targeting when she served as one of his deputies. The goal is to keep price increases in a band of 3 to 6 percent.

Enemies of Targeting

That contrasts with the unions’ demands.

“We are obviously great enemies of inflation targeting,” Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the trade-union congress, said in July when Zuma announced Marcus’s appointment, adding that the labor federation won’t “shed any tears” over Mboweni’s departure.

The economy is in its first recession in 17 years, mining companies such as Johannesburg-based Anglo Platinum Ltd. and London-based Lonmin Plc have fired thousands of workers, and this year’s budget deficit is expected to exceed a decade-high forecast of 3.8 percent of gross domestic product. South Africa relies on foreign investment to fund a current account deficit of 7 percent of GDP.

“Zuma has to keep the unions happy, but he can’t let investors run away,” said Peter Attard Montalto, an emerging market analyst at Nomura International Plc in London. “There will be plenty of noise from the unions, but we don’t see any major changes in economic policies.”

Labor unions may start agitating for more from Zuma if they don’t see any payback. During Mbeki’s rule, the trade-union congress called national strikes to protest rising prices and questioned whether the federation should maintain its alliance with the ANC, which, with support from the Communist Party, helped ANC candidates dominate in South Africa’s first four all- race elections.

“It’s almost inevitable that Zuma will come into conflict with the unions,” said Nic Borain, a political analyst in Cape Town whose clients include HSBC Holdings Ltd. “The unions are going to be as critical of Zuma” as they were of Mbeki.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nasreen Seria in Johannesburg at nseria@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: August 27, 2009 18:01 EDT

Zuma cannot be compared to Lula - in time, space and history

I find it strange that the above writer choses to compare Jacob Zuma with Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from Brazil after 15 "Wasted neo-liberal Years" with Thabo Mbeki. O.K. at a very superficial level there might be room for a "comparison" as some conservative, even liberal. commentators seem to want to see, i.e. a possible comparison between Brazil and South Africa. True, South Africa's secondary industrialization, post-1948, created a new black working class in the peri-urban zones (due to apartheid segregation they lived in squalor outside of the urban zones, much like the Brazilian favelas)during a period of military dictatorship in Latin America. True, this militant generationally new and combative working class fought the bosses and the State machinery and created better opportunities for themselves in combative class organisations, unions and popular assemblies - even democratically-elected councils - from the mid-1970s through to the late 1980s. But now the picture clouds and the paint gets blurredas we enter the period of 'Shock and Awe" neo-liberalism of the 1990s: Jacob. Z has a 'hidden past' in the ANC's External Mission in Angola, as Head of NAD/iMkobodo/ ANC Security and later on the Killing Fields of KwaZulu's Mainlands, as a warlord with his mentor, arch-Maoist Stalinist Harry Gwala, who broke ranks with the Mandela faction with his militant "armed struggle" line. Lula was never in the Brazilian CP but an ordinary unionist. More? Oh Yes, then there is Zuma's Populist cum Neo-liberalism: it is well established that Jacob Z. "tells the hearer what he want to hear", but he did not "come through the ranks" of the unions as did Lula, whose right-wing turn and new suit image is all media hype. Oh and the corruption in both parties is enormous true, take the Arms Deal in South Africa (from R12 bn. in 1998 to currently R52.5 bn) and the numerous financial tender-fixing scams of that new klepocrats of the ANC (Pty) Ltd are involved in - Oilgate, Travelgate, the coal-delivery scandal of Chancellor House and the "blackouts" and more .... Also, lets look at the ANC-Alliance: this is NOT a 'Leftist Alliance' as Dale McKinley and many other 'independent Left' analysts seem to think, as they could not/did not know what type of predatory beast the External ANC-Mission was - I was attached to this grouping from 1971 and boy they were Stalinist to the core (trained by the GPU/KGB and Stasi Security) but had this Liberal-white tinged icing on the top: but today, Mandela, Manuel Dos Santos, Sam Njoma, Bob Mugabe are the New Ruling Patriarchs of Southern Africa, and the richest men too! Racial politics, even sexual politics, in South Africa and Brazil MAY seem to be comparable but then they have the Bossa Nova and we have Kwaito beat, can THAT be comparable? Well, its good to get that off my chest, so now where is my surf-bord and enough of this bloging? Selim

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