ANC wants ‘strategic nationalisation’

The ANC has rejected “wholesale nationalisation” in favour of “strategic nationalisation”, according to recommendations from its national policy conference.

The African National Congress called for “transformative state intervention in the economy” which could take many forms.

One form is “state ownership, including more strategic use of existing state-owned companies, as well as strategic nationalisation, where deemed appropriate on the balance of evidence”.

“However, [the] conference has rejected wholesale nationalisation.”

The recommendations came out of the party’s policy conference in June and will be considered at its national conference in Mangaung in December.

The party said the economic transformation it wanted would not happen without bold state intervention.

This included financial regulation and control, including through a state owned bank, and progressive and redistributive taxation.

The ANC also called for wage policies which promote growth and address poverty and inequality, as well as progressive competition policies.

The ANC favoured state intervention in the minerals sector, with a focus on beneficiation.

“At the forefront of this intervention should be the strengthening of the recently created state mining company, by consolidating state mining assets into a single institution.

“This state mining company will expand or contract depending on the balance of evidence, including by partnering with the private sector in strategic mining ventures.”

This was the outcome of a debate on the ANC’s discussion document –“Maximising the developmental impact of the people’s mineral assets: state intervention in the minerals sector” — known as Sims.

Sims is based on an extensive study commissioned by the ANC to find out how best to leverage South Africa’s mineral wealth to grow the economy and create more jobs.

The study found that nationalisation of mineral assets was not affordable, as it would cost just over R1 trillion to acquire a 100 percent stake in all listed and non-listed mining companies.

The ANC said there was broad consensus at the policy conference that the minerals belonged to all South Africans through “state custodianship”.

“Exploitation of minerals must optimise the developmental impact, especially job creation, across the economy,” the party said.

It called for a greater degree of beneficiation, or transforming minerals into a higher-value product, which could either be consumed locally or exported.

The Sims report suggested introducing state control through the introduction of a 50 percent resource rent tax, or a super tax, which would kick in only when an investor had made a reasonable return, so as not to deter investors.

The ANC recommendations do not mention a percentage, but said the “state must capture an equitable share of mineral resource rents and deploy them in the interests of long-term economic growth, development and transformation”.

It also recommended that the state develop strategies to identify and manage strategic minerals in the national interest.

“Instruments to support beneficiation and competitive pricing of these strategic resources include the use of targeted export taxes.”

The ANC said other issues raised in the Sims report could be dealt with by the party’s national executive committee.

The willing-buyer, willing-seller principle of land reform would be replaced with the “just and equitable” requirement of section 25 of the Constitution, the ANC said.

The party proposed that expropriation without compensation be allowed on land acquired through unlawful means or used for illegal purposes.

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However, it also proposed in terms of land: “Keep nationalisation as an option.”

The ANC has recommended that the number of provinces be reduced, and that a presidential commission be appointed to review the provinces.

It also proposed keeping the system of separate local government and national elections.

“Election campaigns give the ANC an opportunity to connect with the masses and renew our mandates, so we shouldn’t reduce them.”

Recommendations made at the policy conference would be taken back to ANC branches for further discussion and input.

They would be presented at the ANC’s national conference where they could be adopted as official policy.

This would in turn inform government legislation and policies.