Strategic intervention trumps nationalisation

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THE ANC’s elective conference has rejected the idea of nationalisation, opting instead for strategic intervention in the economy where necessary.

“The national conference has refused to be drawn into the word ‘nationalisation’… which means that the issue of nationalisation as discussed over the past few months is off the table,” ANC economic transformation committee head Malusi Gigaba told journalists yesterday.

However, the government would decide on “strategic ownership” in the economy “when deemed necessary and based on balance of evidence”, as happened in other economies around the world, he said.

“There might come a moment when a particular sector might need to be nationalised for particular purposes, as happened in the UK and the US during the global economic crisis… We’ve not limited ourselves,” he said.

“National conference was eager that we provide final clarity on this issue,” he said. “There shouldn’t be… any expectation the ANC will move from here and start deciding who and where we are going to nationalise.”

President Jacob Zuma, when he opened the five-day conference, reaffirmed the ANC’s long-standing belief in a mixed economy with a strong public sector and a thriving private sector, “and that is the view that conference has taken”, Gigaba said.

Draft policy documents had referred to “nationalisation where appropriate”.

Other key recommendations endorsed by the conference related to economic transformation include:

l Encouraging the growth of new business; ensuring the government paid service providers on time; and an expanded role for development finance institutions;

l transforming the financial sector, including addressing the uncompetitive behaviour of commercial banks and a state-owned bank in the form of Postbank;

l a comprehensive review of the policy framework for state-owned enterprises and development finance institutions;

l rolling back corruption and graft, and improving the efficiency of public servants;

l changing the tender and procurement system to make it more transparent and less open to fraud and corruption;

l a review of mining companies’ compliance with the Mining Charter and a decision on which minerals will be deemed strategic, as well as finalising ways the state can “capture an equitable share of mineral resources” through taxation.

The conference also decided that discussions in Nedlac over the youth wage subsidy should be expedited and a means of incentivising employers to take on young people be found – but that this not threaten existing jobs, in order to allay the concerns of Cosatu.

Gigaba said delegates were deeply concerned at the high level of youth unemployment.

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