Malema, Sunter debate economic freedom
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Cape Town - EFF leader Julius Malema and author and scenario planner Clem Sunter gave radically different arguments for how economic freedom could be achieved during their much-hyped “rumble in the urban jungle” debate at a Cape Town hotel on Friday night.
While Sunter argued that only a new generation of small businesses and entrepreneurs could grow jobs and the economy, Malema said nothing could be achieved before land was expropriated without compensation.
The debate was held at the Southern Sun Cape Sun Hotel in the city centre, and was hosted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Sunter spoke first, saying the age of people being employed in big, labour intensive legacy-companies was over, and it wasn't coming back.
What counted now for jobs growth were nimble small businesses who each employed only a handful of people, he said.
If South Africa could grow a million such small business, they could together employ five million people, boosting the country’s moribund growth rate.
When Malema’s chance to speak came, he described his and Sunter’s conception of economic policy as “totally different”.
The EFF commander-in-chief said only expropriation of all land without compensation would kickstart the economy.
In response to Sunter’s central argument about the need for a country of entrepreneurs, Malema said he had never met a successful black capitalist who wasn't fronting for, in the sway of, white capital.
Malema said that all privately-owned land, not only white-owned land, would be expropriated under EFF rule.
This would then be shared among South Africans, although he didn’t go into how this would be done.
Malema said the expropriation could be done without imploding the country’s economy.
“We don’t want a Zimbabwe here,” he said. “It has to be done legally, procedurally, in a manner that is not going to put the country in a disaster.”
Despite half a dozen catcalls during Malema’s talk, the event was the conducted in good spirits, and both speakers had the audience in stitches at times.
Sunter, when confronted with feedback from his mic, reminded the room that he “knew all about feedback” as he had “played with the Rolling Stones in 1964.”
He also spoke of a certain chief executive who recently told him South Africans don't drive on the left of the road anymore, but on “what’s left of the road.”
Malema, meanwhile, took it in his stride when an inevitable “point of order” was raised from the floor when he started speaking.
He paused for a few seconds, before icily responding “I don't recognize you” to howls of laughter.
This remark was a reference to Thursday's State of the Nation Address, when the EFF raised numerous points of order during President Zuma’s speech, before eventually leaving the chamber.