EFF’s aim is to deliver real economic emancipation to our people through the creation of sustainable jobs, fighting poverty and inequalities, says Julius Malema.
Nelson Mandela and his generation declared in 1944 – 70 years ago – that they would achieve freedom in their lifetime through a proclamation of Freedom in Our Lifetime. They indeed played their part and achieved what they achieved.
We need to however acknowledge that the political freedom realised with the first democratic elections in 1994 has not translated into economic freedom. Our people still live in unbearable conditions.
As the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), our aim is to deliver real economic emancipation to our people through the creation of sustainable jobs, fighting poverty and inequalities. We also need to transform the state and set a new agenda with the aim of reducing the huge costs associated with governance.
In this regard, our state of the nation address for 2014 will primarily focus on the following three broad categories:
* Radical transformation of the economy to benefit all citizens of South Africa.
* Provision of quality services to meet our social transformation objectives.
* Radical transformation of the state to make it more efficient and respond quicker to the demands of our people.
These are aimed at fighting poverty, unemployment, inequalities and most importantly under-employment, because even those employed in SA today are poor and part of the working poor. That should change.
We need to urgently attend to these issues because over the past five years, South Africa suffered high levels of mediocrity, directionlessness, corruption and insensitivity of government. It was within the past five years that workers were murdered at Marikana and many protesters were shot by the ANC government, and still no one is held accountable.
Prime among areas we should build capacity on, is to internally produce food, because as things stand, our country imports lots of food from various parts of the world.
Our approach to the food question is that we should be a nation that can feed itself by producing adequate food for domestic consumption and for export.
We will pass laws that compel all food bought by the government for hospitals, prisons, schools and even government functions to be food that is locally produced, particularly in small scale farming and agriculture.
This will be the seed for sustainable job opportunities for all.
To locally produce food products that will feed our nation, we need to expedite the land reform programme.
We will pass legislation which will make the state the official and only custodian of all land in South Africa, in a similar way the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act has made the state the custodian of our mineral and petroleum resources.
Our drive to industrialise will mean that we should decentralise development and investment of key infrastructure. The development of Special Economic Zones should lead to the development of new cities and areas of real economic activity.
We need to decentralise industrial and economic development in South Africa in order to make sure that all areas are evenly developed.
Massive labour absorptive industrial development will also require the state’s ownership and control of development finance and banking in a similar way that South Korea controlled its banking and finance sectors to finance infant industries.
The current development finance institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation, Development Bank of Southern Africa, and sadly the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) are not adequate vehicles to address industrial and enterprise development because more than 90 percent of entrepreneurs cannot gain access to their finances due to lack of security.
Massive state-led industrialisation and enterprise development inherently come with risks, and the state should be prepared to take such risks if the country really needs to address unemployment.
With regards to services, the EFF government will build internal capacity to provide all the critical services, particularly the construction and maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals, and universities. Since 1994, private corporations and construction companies have been the main source of corruption, mainly on price collusion and teaming up with administrative staff of government to inflate prices and deliver poor services.
As a result, the state will officially launch the following companies to do work on behalf of the state in all areas:
* State cement company to produce cement for all construction programmes.
* State construction company to build schools, houses and transport infrastructure on behalf of the state.
* State pharmaceutical company to manufacture and produce medication for all our hospitals.
Attempts by established pharmaceutical firms to oppose this on the basis of patents will be fought aggressively by the EFF government.
These will constitute the core of what EFF government will do over the next year, and will pass legislation that abolishes the tender system in the performance of functions the state should perform.
The EFF government will introduce free education for all South Africans until undergraduate level, and ensure that there is improvement in the quality of education provided. There will never be a matriculant who goes to a university without computer literacy skills because our government will introduce those to all learners in the pre-secondary stage.
We will from 2015 send a minimum of 10 000 students to the best universities across the world to gain skills, education and expertise on various skills with the understanding that after their graduation, they will work in South Africa for a minimum of five years.
We will improve the scope of the National Health Insurance and make sure that it is implemented in all areas as soon as possible. There should never be a difference between public and private health care institutions in South Africa.
Because poverty is astute and a continued basis of many social ills, EFF government will continue with the provision of grants, with the ultimate objective of reducing grant dependents in the next five years because jobs would have been created.
As a new government, we are going to engage in processes that will lead to radical reduction of costs associated with running an administration. Part of what the EFF government will do from 2014 are the following:
* One administrative and legislative capital city which will be Tshwane. This will avoid the travel costs and waste of time associated with the current arrangement.
* All government officials, including ministers will use their own salaries to buy their own houses and cars.
* The government will never spend money on alcohol, under no circumstances.
* The Presidency will be provided with one official residence in Tshwane and the state will not be responsible for residences other than the official residence.
* Establishment of state corruption specified courts to promptly respond to incidents of corruption with the aim of firing and blacklisting corrupt state employees and private companies.
These mechanisms will be part of the things we intend to do as a matter of urgency. Details of what the EFF government will do in other areas will be given by EFF government ministers during their budget votes and speeches.
* Julius Malema is commander in chief of the EFF.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.