Mid Rand, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 28 June 2011 – Calls by factions in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to nationalise South Africa’s mines are no more than a front to bail out struggling, black-owned companies, according to Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande.
The radical Youth League of the ruling ANC is pushing for mine nationalisation, unnerving investors in the world’s No. 1 platinum producer, but President Jacob Zuma’s government insists it is not government policy.
“The call for nationalisation by elements within the ANC Youth League, is to save the black economic empowerment elements in crisis, and not to address the interests of the workers and the poor,” Nzimande said at a strategy meeting of leaders affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
“Ten years from now, they will be calling for privatisation, after the state has inherited the debt,” he added.
COSATU and the Communist Party were instrumental in Zuma’s rise to power, but have been largely unimpressed by his indecisiveness and by corruption within his administration.
Political labels have been rendered topsy-turvy by struggles for spoils and power within the ANC. The Communists are opposed to nationalisation, at least publicly, on the grounds it would promote cronyism without tackling poverty. Unions oppose it as they see it threatening investment and jobs. The Youth League’s drive for nationalisation is seen steered in part by stealth-capitalists who could benefit from it.