State must nationalise and socialise private wealth

State must nationalise and socialise private wealth!Numsa’s call for nationalisation has provoked strong debate on the airwaves and printed pages. Numsa spokesperson, Castro Ngobese outlines why this demand should top our agenda and what needs to be done to achieve it. Write and tell us what you think.

“If we have a mere change of face of those in governing positions what is likely to happen is that black people will continue to be poor, and you will see few blacks filtering through into the so-called bourgeoisie. Our society will run almost as of yesterday”, said Steven Biko. These words cannot be truer.

The current vulgarization and selective distortion of our call for the nationalisation and eventually socialisation of the key commanding heights of the economy, namely banks, mines and land bears testimony.Our call was triggered by the recent expose which appeared in the Sunday Times –

The Richest List, which showed the billions of rands that are in the hands of private individuals. These billions have been accumulated or expropriated through ‘legal’ looting or brutal theft of our mineral resources beneath the soil through private mining, productive land, and financial institutions and through other privatised strategic and key components of our economy like Sasol and ArcelorMittal.

SA – most unequal societyJust recently our country was declared the world’s most unequal society replacing Brazil from this barbaric phenomenon.

This was confirmed by University of Cape Town School of Economics Professor Haroon Borat. He also indicated that whilst inequalities have risen amongst black South Africans, the growth of white South Africans’ salaries between 1995 and 2008 surpasses by far the growth of salaries amongst black South Africans.

The question we should be asking is why such massive wealth is in the hands of private individuals? Why are we afraid to nationalise and socialise this wealth to benefit the poor?

We do not care whether these elites’ skin pigmentation is pink, yellow, orange or green. The Sunday Times also noted that these elites lost R56 billion of their wealth by gambling in bloated stock and real estate markets in 2008.

What if?What if these billions had been invested instead in social and job-creation projects throughout our country? How many decent houses could we have financed with this R56 billion? How many decent jobs could have been created for the unemployed youth and the poor? We may be accused of ‘being jealous’, ‘a joke’ or ‘black success is a sin’, but all these are worse forms of political arrogance and unwillingness to engage on the fundamental agenda of our revolution as dictated by the Freedom Charter.

This is geared towards improving and uplifting the lives of the majority of our people, as opposed to a tiny minority.A document titled ‘The Nature of the South African Ruling Class” prepared for the ANC National Consultative Conference held in Kabwe, Zambia in 1985 made the following observations; “This type of democratic state we envisage is spelt out in the ten clauses of the Freedom Charter…

The enactment of these measures will place political power in the hands of the black masses and transform South Africa from a country belonging to, and exploited by, a small class of white capitalists and imperialist allies… Though the Freedom Charter is not a programme for socialism, it must, nevertheless, be distinguished from a conventional bourgeois-democratic programme.

In its third and fourth clauses, the Charter projects the seizure of economic assets presently owned either by South African capitalists or trans-national corporations.

Such measures will strip the present ruling class of the actual substance of its power, by seizing hold of the commanding heights of the economy. People’s power, as conceived within our movement, will therefore entail a democratic revolution of a new type, in which the interests of the working people, of town and countryside, will be pre-eminent”.

This illustrates that the Charter demands have always been the over-arching political programme of the broad movement as led by the ANC.

Restoring wealth to the peopleThe Freedom Charter declared that ‘the national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people; The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the Banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole; all other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people’.

This clause is clear. It explains that the mines and banks must be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.

This does not speak to individuals nor does it speak to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act which we are being bombarded with and which has been interpreted as the alpha and omega of real peoples’ ownership of mines and banks.

The transfer of the minerals into the hands of the state does not necessarily mean the actual transfer of the wealth to the people. There is a difference between legal state ownership and people’s real ownership of our mineral wealth. The legal ownership does not mean people will have control of what they own.

Black eliteIn fact, under the Act the state elite uses the state’s ownership of our mines to transfer our supposedly publicly owned resources to parasitic black elites such as the Motsepes, Macozomas, Sexwales of this world to ravage our communities under shoddy black economic empowerment (BEE) schemes.

The working class and the poor people are left with no access and control whatsoever of our mines and banks. It becomes only the state elite and its black and white business partners that will have control over our mines and banks for their accumulation and expropriation of capitalist interests.

According to the SACP, this parasitic black elite has been using the broad movement as led by the ANC to steal and loot public resources. The patronage-based incumbency in the State allows elites to ‘throw the javelin’ (public resources) to a network of friends, family and other connections.

At the appropriate time, a comfortable personal transit is made from the public sector to the private – where the ‘javelin’, or at least a share of it, can be personally retrieved. This accumulation model was fostered by the 1996 Class Project and deepened everywhere in the State and private sector, and systematically transmitted to our society at large.

Deepening poverty of the massesCurrently, millions of jobs have been shed in the manufacturing and other sectors. The costs of basic necessities are skyrocketing. The unemployment rate is escalating.
There are massive service delivery backlogs, and houses and cars are being repossessed by financial institutions. Our extremely high level of poverty is deepening.

All of these problems can be attributed to the deep crisis of capitalism, in part because the 1996 Class Project has reproduced a fraction of the black elite co-opted by dominant white monopoly capital to legitimize this system.

We strongly believe that our National Democratic Revolution (NDR) as encapsulated in the Freedom Charter was never meant to reproduce or replace a white capitalist class with a black capitalist class. The NDR has always been anti-imperialist and capitalist.

This broad movement as led by the ANC, must champion the call for the transfer of the wealth of our country into the hands of the people as a whole, instead of a select few.

Their failure to do this will spiral today’s alienation and lead to an upsurge of service delivery protests over economic marginalisation and resources.

Nationalisation then socialisationAs Numsa, we are calling for the nationalisation, and eventually the socialisation of the massive and privately owned wealth in the hands of the Motsepes, Sexwales, Macozomas, Mittals and Oppenheimers of this world. We are conscious of the fact that there has never been any transfer of wealth from the capitalists to the workers and the poor without a long and intense struggle.

We know that the exploiters and those oppressors of South African workers and poor people will not surrender wealth without being forced to do so. We should build a people’s army of cadres that will agitate, propagate and lobby other Cosatu-affiliated unions and progressive forces to mount a radical and militant campaign to cap the excessive privately held wealth and the obscene salaries which are reproducing racial (class and gender) apartheid inequalities and opulence.

The political centre of the tripartite alliance should also launch an informed and structured discussion about privately owned wealth and obscene salaries. The commitment of the Alliance Secretariat to hold this discussion will prevent the auctioning of the revolution to the highest bidders in the market.

Mas’jule ngengxoxo!!


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