yonelaBy Yonela Diko

In October 2015, the Nelson Mandela Foundation invited the rock star economist, Thomas Piketty, a man who – true to his Rock Star Status – is independent and brutally frank, like someone who knows his name is carved in the books of history even if he never sell another speech. In that gathering he outlined to a captive audience why he thinks South Africa is still so dramatically unequal – and suggested a few things that can be done about it.

Piketty began with the jarring claim that Europe’s success in reducing inequality had more to do with violence than market forces.

“It is due, to a large extent to the very violent shocks of the first World War, the Great Depression, World War 2 and, most importantly, to the new social policies, welfare state policies, new fiscal policies [and] progressive taxation that were finally accepted by the elites after these violent shocks […] which put strong pressures on the elite in western countries to accept reforms, which until 1914 and World War 1 were refused,”.

Then Piketty drew parallels with South Africa. ‘If you look at the South African wealth data, especially within the top 1%-5%, it will be up to 80% white, so although things have changed a little bit, we are still very much with the same structure of racial inequality that we used to have. So now how can we make progress?”, Piketty asked.

While Piketty refrained from saying so explicitly, the implication seemed to be that South Africa needs its own violent shocks to force the issue.

Then Pickety went for the kill. “I think it’s fair to say that black economic empowerment strategies, which were mostly based on voluntary market transactions […] were not that successful in spreading wealth. So I think we need to think again about more ambitious reforms,” he said.

After that Piketty Lecture, South Africa’s former finance minister Trevor Manuel said, ”while we all know Piketty is right, no one – not the South African government, not big business, not the economic elites – is in a hurry to implement his ideas”.

To be frank, this was a disappointing response from Manuel. Here was an opportunity presented by a world renowned economist who the markets cannot ignore, telling us that South Africa will never break the back of inequality until it employs some violent shocks into its system. Piketty was effectively saying the market forces will never deliver to us our transformation agenda, which is is both morally and surprisingly, economically correct.  A 2012 World Bank report on South Africa traced the differences in life opportunities for South African children and unsurprisingly found large differences based on race, gender, location and household income.

It is a fact that South Africa’s income inequality has hardly changed despite the introduction of social transfers that now reach 17 million poor South Africans. Inequality remains high, partly because the number of jobs created over the past 23 years barely kept pace with growth in the labor force

Thanti Mthanti, Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Business Administration, University of the Witwatersrand, in his article titled ”Systemic racism behind South Africa’s failure to transform its economy”, published on 2 February 2017 on the Wits website, echoes Piketty’s sentiments about the lack of transformation, particularly in the business sector and the failure of black economic empowerment by government.

”Transformation rules and the interests of informal racist agents have proved to be incompatible. As a result, whites have used racism to crush the perceived threat to their property rights. They are able to attain their goals since the ownership and control of listed companies and banks is highly concentrated in their hands. They are able to use their oligarchic power – and grand corruption – to maintain the status quo. They stifle black advancement and also engage in grand corruption, by falsifying their empowerment scores to get large construction tenders, banking and mining licences. In this way, they subvert black advancement and entrepreneurship. White oligopoly power is so effective in marginalising blacks because it has one or two friends in the ANC government’, Mthanti says.

Mthathi then accused the governing party for not enforcing its own transformation or land distribution laws. Instead, he says, sometimes ANC uses state power to protect white oligarchs.

But is this true. Is the government not enforcing its own transformation laws?

The recent actions by Minister Zwane may well be said to be a government finally awakening to it’s lacklustre approach to enforcing its transformation laws and business’s tendency to fight these transformation aspirations. There are two contentious aspects that arise out of the charter Minister Zwane has released. The first is the 30% black ownership target as well as the “continuing consequences” principle, often referred to as “once empowered, always empowered”.

Although the attack is on Zwane, simple because of his rather unfortunate dealings, Thebe Thabani takes us further back to March 2015, when former mining minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi was due to release the 10-year review of the first mining charter that had expired in 2014. This was put on hold to allow the parties to seek a declaratory court order to clarify the issue of ownership. At that time, the markets went on a free fall, with mining stocks plummeting, again just to assess whether transformation was taking place seemed to be incompatible with the interests of informal racist agents.

Now, 13 years later, a target of only four percentage points higher has a similar effect. What is to be done?

Piketty, who has nothing to gain or lose told us that black economic empowerment strategies, which were mostly based on voluntary market transactions, were not that successful in spreading wealth. So he thinks South Africa needs to think again about more ambitious reforms.

26% to 30% is not even ambitious. We must therefore tell government that without enforcing these BBBEE targets and without ambitious programmes of change, the social tinder is going to explode.

The ANC Policy Conference held in Narec, south of Johannesburg seemed aware of its weaknesses concluding that in order for the ANC to give meaning its radical posture, the centre needed to hold. It would be a sign of weakness if ANC became excessively negotiable with monopolies and their race posture, monopolies that clearly did not support ANC resolutions. The ANC government must commit to its own resolutions and support ministers and public servants who were implementing them.The dream cannot be differed indefinitely


By Nkosana Mbokane
There was a great excitement in the progressive world when the Mining Charter was announced. In the same vein there was great unhappiness within the Mining Industry about the Mining Charter. This is fine because in a democratic state people’s views differ and that is how democracy works. Those that feel aggrieved when they have money they can go to court. What about those who have no money but are likely to benefit from the changes being proposed, obviously they are on the losing end, because we know in South Africa the courts are accessible mainly to those who have a lot of money. Whether those in power denies this or not it is a reality of our situation.
The ANC made a few resolutions in the discussion document on Economic Transformation adopted in Mangaung, and one of the resolutions says that in order to advance economic transformation we need “To transform the mining sector with the aim of widening the benefits of South Africa’s abundance of minerals, including the creation of safe and decent work on the mines as well as benefits for near-mine local communities, as well as give particular focus to mineral beneficiation.”
So in 2012 the ANC resolved that Mining must be transformed, and in 2017 a true transformational charter is created and there is an outcry about it, which is to be expected from those who owns the mines because the charter’s adoption and implementation will mean they will have to share the spoil of the mines with black people. It was strange that some people in the progressive movement including some in the ANC did not accept the Mining Charter with open arms. Maybe the mining lobby groups got to the progressive people, unfortunately the poor black masses could not get into the people who are against the charter and who should actually be supporting it.
According to an American survey done 5 years ago South Africa’s total mining reserves were estimated to be worth R20.3 trillion. The same survey estimated that South Africa is the fifth largest mining sector in the world in terms of the GDP, In particular Gold, Diamonds, Platinum & palladium, chromium, coal and uranium.
The historians’ state that mining in South Africa started in 1867 with the discovery of diamond in the Orange River. The mine ownership was opened only to the colonisers who fought over the land and the minerals, while the indigenous people were being used as mine workers and slaves to the mine owners.
So if we make a statement that black people were not allowed access to the ownership of mines immediately after democracy, then we can safely say that the R20.3 trillion has been shared and continues to be shared amongst the whites and this has been like that for more than 127 years. The Mining Charter was merely opening better access than what was done immediately after 1994.
The proposed charter was a small improvement on the old charter. Yet, there is an outcry by the Mining industry, my question is this, is it correct that the minerals must continue to benefit those that have been benefiting for the past 130 years? According to the Chamber of Mines the mining industry has contributed the following to the country:
· Created one million jobs (500 000 direct and 500 000 indirect).
· Accounts for about 18% of GDP (8.6% direct, 10% indirect and induced).
· Is a critical earner of foreign exchange at more than 50%.
· Accounts for 20% of investment (12% direct).
· Attracts significant foreign savings (R1.9-trillion or 43% of value of JSE).
· Accounts for 13.2% of corporate tax receipts (R17-billion in 2010) and R6-billion in royalties.
· Accounts for R441-billion in expenditures, R407-billion spent locally.
· Accounts for R78-billion spent in wages and salaries.
· Accounts for 50% of volume of Transnet’s rail and ports.
· Accounts for 94% of electricity generation via coal power plants.
· Takes 15% of electricity demand.
· About 37% of the country’s liquid fuels via coal.
This is how important this sector is to the South African economy, and it is currently and mainly still under the ownership of the minority. Now those crying foul are basically saying that they are the only ones who deserve the access to the ownership of these mines. How can that be correct in a country where the majority were excluded from even owning land in the country of their birth? What is the meaning of radical economic transformation when a Minister is doing what seems like an effort to radically transform the mining sector and some in the progressive movement are siding with the long term beneficiaries of this sector instead of siding with the poor and the mining communities who will become bigger beneficiaries of this charter?
The ANC in the Legislature and Governance document adopted in Mangaung in 2012, says that “Advancing the NDP requires that we exploit to the maximum the strategic levers that are available to the state, such as, Legislation and regulations (e.g. MPRDA); licensing (e.g. Mining, Water and Environment); BBBEE and Transformation Charters; National budget and Procurement; State-owned Companies and Development Finance Institutions; Government programmes for redistribution such as Land Reform. However, the State has not fully utilise these strategic levers to influence the behaviour of the private sector – to effectively transform the economy and society.”
The statement above is reflected on the ANC more when it was alleged that they had summoned the minister to Luthuli House. The ANC realised long time ago that the state has not been fully able to utilise its influence to effectively transform the economy and society. All efforts to transform the economy and society will continue to fail until the ANC-led government realises that it is absolutely critical to have that power of influence to ensure that everyone is on board with changes, and everyone understands why it is important to transform the economy. This charter was a great opportunity for the state and the ANC to engage the Mining sector and explain why this was necessary, and attempt to influence instead of agreeing to be influenced.
It is common knowledge that this Charter has been going back and forth for many years and finally the work of ensuring a representative ownership within the Mining is found and comrades are retreating. It is very important for the leadership in government and in the ANC to be seen to be acting on their words. Supporting all efforts that attempts to peacefully and legally change the trajectory of the poor majority. Radical economic transformation has many, many enemies. Those enemies are going to use every available reason to prevent economic transformation from taking place. The progressive movement must prepare themselves for a long and painful fight to ensure that promises made to those who voted for the ANC are kept even if it means going against the monopoly capital flow.
It is my hope and wish that the Mining charter issues will be resolved for the benefit of the mining communities and mining workers. Everyone was in agreement with the previous charter that proposed 26% black ownership. I just don’t understand why the additional 4% ownership is not acceptable, the increase is from 26% to 30%. The charter proposes benefit for the mining communities, and mining workers and that must be encouraged. The ANC-led government will need to learn to fight for what they believe in, and to use their power of influence when engaging the private sector, and not allow itself to be easily intimidated and coarse by those with their own agendas.
Nkosana Mbokane is a former ANC branch leader, former regional ANC YL leader, former Sectional Commander of the Self Defence Units. He is a businessman with over 20 years’ experience in Information Technology, construction, government policy development, broadcasting & telecommunications, corporate strategy development, enterprise risk management, and corporate governance. He is currently the CEO of TechnoChange Solutions a successful black owned ICT Company, and holds an MBA degree with a distinction in corporate strategy. 


AD1Staff Reporter

Measures to ensure local councils are better resourced and capacitated received particular attention during a commission on Legislature and Governance at the ANC National Policy Conference (NPC) currently underway at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.

Among the issues raised was the need to expand the powers of local and district municipalities to enable them to better provide services and infrastructure.

The commission deliberated on proposals contained in the NPC discussion documents, which have formed the basis for branch discussions over the last few months. According to the discussion document: “Local Government sphere is the most critical sphere of government in the delivery of government infrastructure investment and services to communities. Municipal space is the shared and most contested space by various government agencies, national and provincial departments.”

The commission dedicated much time to identifying solutions to the challenges at local level, challenges with existing funding models and allocation of existing. Another area discussed was the need to strengthen the capacity of councillors to effectively undertake their responsibilities and to professionalise the public service.

Drawing on the policy discussion document, the commission emphasised the centrality of coordinated planning and execution of ANC policies.

While the national Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation has put in place monitoring and evaluations frameworks that enable the state to measure its impact and identify shortcomings, the practice of integrated planning has not taken root across all spheres of government.

The commission thus considered  mechanisms to ensure that legislatures in all spheres are more effective in advancing the ANC’s electoral mandate, holding the executive to account and ensuring public representatives are more responsive to the needs and views of the people.

The recommendations of the commissions on legislature and governance which are expected to include enhancing the developmental role of state owned enterprises, improving public management and public finance capabilities, rooting out corruption and wastage, and enhancing the role of traditional leaders, will be presented to the Conference plenary for discussion and adoption.


JM1Staff Reporter 

South Africa’s readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the transformation of the broadcasting and print space, and the facilitation of the entry of new players into the media industry.

These were among the issues under discussion in the commission on Communications and the Battle of Ideas in the National Policy Conference (NPC) of the ANC currently underway at Nasrec , south of Johannesburg.

The commission, chaired by Comrade Jackson Mthembu, focused on strategic issues to be prioritized if South Africa is to fully reap the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The role of social media as a powerful global tool for the dissemination of information was also under discussion; with an acknowledgement by delegates that technological advancements have forever altered the political and electoral landscape.

The delegates also discussed the positioning of ICT as an enabler of economic activity across all sectors, and that in positioning South Africa as a key player, policy cohesion and seamless integration is critical.

To this end, the Commission expressed itself on the impact and desirability of separate Ministries charged with the responsibility of advancing various aspects of the ICT agenda, these being the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications.

Failure of self-regulation by the print media came under sharp focus as evidenced by the withdrawal of the Independent Group and The New Age from the Ombudsman.

The Commission also expressed strong support for the establishment of a specialized University focusing on developing high level ICT skills that will develop citizens adequately.


TN1Staff Reporter

As was expected, land restitution and redistribution took centre stage at the Economic Transformation Commission of the ANC National Policy Conference  (NPC) currently underway at Nasrec, Johannesburg.

The National Policy Conference is called by the governing party every five years to assess progress on policy implementation and make recommendation on amendments or the development of new policy towards the National Conference in December which makes the final decisions.

The ANC’s National Policy Conference noted progress on the redistribution of land to the people of South Africa and the role of land in stimulating the economy.

The ANC in the discussion document on Economic Transformation commits government to returning land to the people and reiterates that due to this commitment, South Africa’s Constitution mandates that land reform must take place.

The Commission also received an update on the enacting the Expropriation Act, which is currently being consulted upon.

The commission on Economic Transformation yesterday received a report on progress made on putting in place legislation and other policy instruments to ensure redistribution of land; as well as to improve agriculture and farming in communities. Delegates concurred that it was vital to put measures in place for redress on land.

Commission Chairperson Comrade Thulas Nxesi urged delegates to ensure that, in a disciplined way, conference adopts radical and sustainable policies that will ensure that the ANC continues to carry further the hopes and aspirations of the people of South Africa.

The Commission urged government to speed up programmes meant to ensure food security for the nation.

These programmes include the “one person one hectare” programme; and should be sped up.

Amongst other proposals being considered is how to practically, put in place a system that would ensure land ownership vests with the state on behalf of the people and leased for public and private use.

The mandate of the Land Bank also came under scrunity, with delegates decrying the fact that the Land Bank uses the same processes used by commercial banks.

The Commission will present its proposals to the plenary session of the NPC  when it resumes on Wednesday.


Picture: Sowetan

Staff Reporter

If we are to realize a more egalitarian society as envisioned in the Constitution- society had to be radically transformed.

This is particularly with regards to advancing social cohesion and building a common national identity for our people.

The Social Transformation commission, chaired by Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu- has been sitting at the organization’s National Policy Conference (NPC) in Nasrec, Soweto.

A bedrock of so-called first generation rights, social transformation is key to the ANC’s electoral mandate and to realizing a Better life for All.

Delegates discussed a wide range of proposed interventions to advance social transformation amidst a climate where there has been a resurgence of social ills such as racism and patriarchy.

In a society fractured along race and class lines: the ANC as the leader of society must be at the forefront of pushing for societal transformation.

This, delegates say, requires a focus on addressing and solving social problems: including but not limited to violence against women and children, gangsterism and substance abuse.

Delegates have also emphasized the need to mainstream youth development across government as a whole.

Bolstering support for military veterans was also proposed. The commission will provide a report back on its recommendations to plenary this week.




























FullSizeRenderStaff Reporter

“When some people hear us speaking about the NHI, they think we are talking about closing all private hospitals and practices. No, the NHI is not about shutting down the private sector, it is about making healthcare universally accessible to all South Africans”, comrade Aaron Motsaoledi said in his opening remarks in the ANC National Policy Conference Commission on Education and Health.
Motsoaledi gave a presentation on the National Health Insurance (NHI) White Paper which was recently released to ANC delegates in the Education and Health Commission. The ANC Policy Conference currently underway at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg is in its 4th day of deliberations on ANC policy.
The NHI is a health financing system that is designed to pool funds together to provide quality and affordable personal health services to all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their social-economic status.
Motsoaledi told the commission that there will be massive reorganisation of both private and public healthcare. The NHI will be run as a non-profit public entity. It will strengthen the hand of the consumer and keep the cost of healthcare reasonable while ensuring that healthcare providers receive fair rate for their services. The National Health Insurance Fund will pay public and private healthcare providers on exactly the same basis, he added.
The fund is a chance for South Africans to join hands in a way that really counts, contribute for their wellbeing, their relatives wellbeing, friends, community and fellow citizens. “None of us would like a fellow human being to die, become disabled or live in pain just because he or she could not get decent healthcare. A healthy nation is a safe, productive and economically stable nation to live in” Motsoaledi added.
Motsoaledi concluded his presentation by urging delegates in the commission to engage with the recently released NHI White Paper.
Comrade Naledi Pandor, who is the chairperson of the commission applauded Motsoaledi for his presentation and urged delegates to endorse the NHI White Paper and further advocate for public awareness among ANC members in branches, in our communities and the broader society at large.


Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 7.00.41 PMStaff reporter

If the countries of the African continent are to realize the aspirations of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU), there must be a focus on unity between nations, with a strong focus on strengthening regional integration.

This was amongst the areas of focus for the commission on International Relations sitting at the party’s National Policy Conference (NPC) in Nasrec, Gauteng.

In presenting a summary of the discussion document, International Relations Subcommittee Chairperson Comrade Edna Molewa noted that South Africa’s foreign policy unapologetically reaffirmed that the country was an integral part of the African continent; and that the ANC wholly supported the African Agenda.

To that end, “A prosperous, stable, secure and peaceful Africa remains an important objective of the ANC’s International Relations policy,” said Molewa quoting the discussion document.

The ANC International Relations discussion document opens with an affirmation of the ANC’s commitment to ‘progressive internationalism’: ‘born out of the interaction with fellow liberation movements throughout the world and with international solidarity movements.’

Playing a role in the peaceful and inclusive resolution of Africa’s conflicts, and ‘increasing the people-to-people interaction (particularly amongst youth) between African countries (augmented by government-to-government and institutional relations)’ formed a key part of Building A Better Africa – which is the cornerstone of the IR policy discussion document.

Delegates representing the different provinces were given an opportunity to present their views to the committee. A robust exchange of views followed on matters contained in the discussion document, ranging from the Israel/Palestine conflict; to defining the role of South Africa in BRICS, to the strengthening of relations within the SADC region.

Delegates reaffirmed a number of resolutions taken by successive conferences of the ANC on international relations matters.


Staff Reporter

Deputy-President Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa says he is happy with the way in which the ANC’s National Policy Conference (NPC) is proceeding: adding that this ‘positive tone’ was catalysed by President Zuma’s opening speech.

The Deputy-President was addressing media in impromptu briefing during his walkabout of the Progressive Business Forum (PBF) exhibition area in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, where the NPC is currently underway. Various businesses are showcasing their products in the exhibition hall, ranging from electric vehicles, to security drones to professional services.

Ramaphosa also briefly visited a stand displaying the portraits of the successive presidents of the ANC.

He offered journalists a brief overview of the programme of the NPC thus far; saying that overall, the NPC gave the organization an opportunity to strengthen itself.

“This is the ANC at its best,” said, singling out branches for particular mention for their energy in the discussions; noting that the branches possessed political and ideological clarity and were ‘very clear’.

“They are debating the substantive issues that have to do with our economy,” he said, adding that the leadership of the ANC was here to listen to what branches are saying.

As a delegate himself, he said he was ‘in high spirits’ and was optimistic that the NPC would see the ANC emerge with very good resolutions to its policy and other challenges.

“This is where the branches have a voice”, says Ramaphosa

The first two days of the NPC have been focused on Organizational Renewal and Strategy and Tactics; and sectoral policy discussions will begin in earnest on Monday.

Referring to the Organizational Report presented by the Secretary-General Comrade Gwede Mantashe on the first day of the conference, Ramaphosa said it was critical that the organization ‘move beyond’ the issues contained in the NEC report and find solutions to them.

Describing the ANC as a living organism that is constantly evolving, he said like all political parties, it had its up’s and down’s – but what was important was that delegates displayed unity of purpose. “The process we have embarked upon is that of uniting the ANC” he emphasized.



Staff Reporter

Presenting the organisational renewal discussion document to the Policy Conference, Comrade Fikile Mbalula, ANC Head of Organisational Development, was emphatic that organizational renewal was deeply anchored on the unity and cohesion of the ANC.  The challenges confronting the ANC are many and require focus, dedication and unstinting commitment to reasserting the values of the movement.

Mbalula set the tone by quoting OR Tambo when he was closing the ANC’s first consultative conference in Morogoro in 1969 when he said, “Comrades, beware of the wedge-driver, the man who creeps from ear to ear, carrying a bag full of wedges, driving them in between you and the next man, between a group and another, a man who goes round creating splits and divisions. Beware of the wedge-driver, comrades. Watch his poisonous tongue”.

“Cde Tambo’s wise counsel has never been more relevant in the history of the ANC,” says Mbalula.   “The emergence of destructive tendencies and factions whose sole preoccupation is to amass political power for themselves and their friends at the expense of the ANC pose a real danger to the ANC.”  Mbalula similarly cautioned the ANC against the rot that was settling and undermining its ability to effectively play its role as a leader of the progressive forces.  He challenged the Policy Conference to look critically at this alien conduct that threatens the hegemony of the ANC and outlines its defining characters as:

  • Widening social distance between ANC leaders and members
  • Rampant corruption
  • Poor service delivery record of government
  • Factionalism
  • Abuse and manipulation of organizational processes for personal gain
  • Ill-discipline of members characterised by flagrant disregard of established rules of conduct
  • Use of intelligence (public and private) to spy on fellow members
  • Arrogance of leadership in dealings with members or civil society

According to Mbalula, “a key condition to achieve organizational renewal remains an honest appreciation and acknowledgement of the negative tendencies that has become rampant in the organization.  Members should always be weary of those who mask themselves as revolutionaries while using the structures of the ANC to achieve personal political ends.  Similarly, renewal presupposes that one has fully understood that, which impedes progress, before any forward momentum can be realised.”

Speaking on the character of the ANC, Mbalula said, “In navigating the path towards renewal, the ANC must have a full appreciation of the treacherous path that has to be traversed.  The premise of this is the affirmation of some of the core values that underpin organizational hegemony. These include the appreciation that the ANC is a product of the left with a bias towards the working class and the poor;  the ANC remains a strategic centre of power and a leader of the progressive forces.” He further added that “the rule of law is a cornerstone of a transformed society where all citizens are equal before the law, progressive Civil Society thrives and where the ANC earns its leadership role through constructive engagements with organs of civil society.”

Mbalula urged delegates not only to be honest in the appraisal of the challenges the ANC faces, but to also engage robustly without fear or favour.  He challenged them to be bold in conceptualizing robust and radical interventions to achieve renewal.  Mbalula implored Conference to seriously consider re-orientating itself and to critically examine whether in the light of the current challenges this requires only adjustments to its organizational design or a complete revamp of the organisational machinery.

The National Policy Conference will continue until Wednesday when the plenary session will reconvene to adopt recommendations towards the National Conference to be held in December.