The ANC's Freedom Charter does not promote the nationalisation of mines or banks, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) said on Tuesday.
“In the 60s the Freedom Charter was regarded as a sellout to capitalists. It was regarded as a right-wing, conservative, liberal document,” FMF executive director Leon Louw told reporters in Johannesburg.
“I was fascinated at how this document, which hasn't had a single punctuation mark changed, is now regarded as socialist and for nationalisation.”
He said that the ANC leaders who drafted the document admitted that it was not a socialist document.
“The DA (Democratic Alliance) if they had any sense at all, would adopt the Freedom Charter. They should make their members sign it.”
He said the idea of nationalisation, which was proposed significantly by the African National Congress Youth League, only focused on one sentence of the Freedom Charter.
The section reads: “... the mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry should be transferred to the people as a whole...”
Louw said the authors of the charter stated it did not promote nationalisation.
“The ANC studiously avoided the word (nationalisation), because that was not what it wanted. If it wanted it, it would have said so,” he said.
“Since it (nationalisation) was the policy of the National Party, it is much more likely that the ANC took the view that it didn't want what the Nats wanted.”
He said the charter stated “wealth beneath the soil” and not mines, as well as the “people” and not government.
“As the ANC in apartheid, the last thing you wanted to do is to confuse the government with the people,” Louw said.
“The government on the contrary was the enemy of the people.”
He said the Freedom Charter was consistent with the principles of a free market.
“Fifty percent of the mines have already been nationalised by way of taxes. There are no risks for government, and it provides no capital,” Louw said.
“If you want to put government in a worse position, then you nationalise.” - Sapa