ANC Youth League president Julius Malema yesterday ramped up his nationalisation campaign - attacking ANC leaders for denouncing their own policies and labelling mining magnates corrupt thieves.
Malema took a swipe at his political leaders for failing the poor in favour of foreign investors and by enriching their families.
Though he did not specifically mention President Jacob Zuma, Malema said politicians and their families should not benefit from preferential treatment when it came to lucrative state tenders.
Zuma's son, Duduzane, is part of a consortium that recently won a lucrative empowerment deal from ArcelorMittal SA.
Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, and former president Nelson Mandela's grandson, Zondwa, last year secured a R215-million contract from gold miner Pamodzi.
Speaking at the Mining for Change conference in Sandton, Malema said: "We must not allow politicians and their families to be enriched and preferred above others. It can't be correct when people continue to steal from the poor."
But Zuma and other top ANC officials insist that the issue of nationalisation is a debate and not government or ANC policy.
Yesterday, ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu refused to be drawn into the debate, saying he was not going to comment every time Malema spoke.
"The ANC does not have a view, it is not our policy," Mthembu said.
But, in his speech, Malema said: "When you say that it is not our policy, you are denouncing the Freedom Charter."
He dragged struggle icons Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo into the fray, saying that they had made clear when signing the Freedom Charter in 1955 that nationalisation was an ANC policy.
"Nelson Mandela made it clear that nationalisation is a policy of the ANC," Malema said.
He said the league was merely echoing Mandela's view on the matter and that the ANCYL was not just a "group of anarchists" since "great leaders have said it before".
Malema, who was recently disciplined for publicly criticising ANC leaders, said they were quick to talk about discipline, but "only when it suits them".
"Everyone, juniors and seniors, must respect the policies of the ANC," he said.
In a blunt attack on foreign investors and mine owners - some of whom where present - Malema said South Africans had suffered far too long and that now was the time to own "what we fought for".
To privately owned mining companies he said: "You are the most corrupt people who take our minerals. That is stealing from the poor. You have no shame about that."
Miners, he said, risked their lives for a pittance.
"Mining companies have no interest in our people . After playing golf they check their bank balances, cause that's all they are interested in."
Malema said when nationalisation was implemented, the government would be "very selective" and only completely take over mining operations of national importance.
He warned that nationalisation would result in the government owning 60% of mines, with 40% going to private companies which would pay taxes and royalties, leaving them with about 10% profit.
Earlier yesterday, Joel Netshitenzhe, executive director of the Maphungubwe Institute of Strategic Reflection and a member of the ANC's national executive committee, said a strategic national plan for the mining sector needed to be developed before looking at nationalisation of mines.
"The level of state participation . will be informed by the effectiveness of the mining sector strategy arising out of a compact among all players," he said.
Netshitenzhe said a change in the mindset of all players in the sector was necessary.
Another difficulty was ensuring a licensing system that was "competitive and transparent" and preventing "squatting" (acquiring licences and failing to mine) and ensuring that windfalls during boom periods were shared "equitably".
Department of Mineral Resources spokesman Jeremy Michaels said the country's mineral wealth had been vested in the hands of the state since the inception of the Mineral and Petroleum Development Act that came into effect in 2004.
"While the nationalisation of mines is a debate within the ruling party, it is not government policy," Michaels said.
Original Post http://www.timeslive.co.za/-fought-for