MK’s “nationalise, defang Constitution” manifesto reflects arrogance of ignorance

In December 2015, just after firing Nhlanla Nene and on the eve of opening the door to the National Treasury for a Gupta takeover, then-president Jacob Zuma famously went off script to tell a business audience all other continents would fit into Africa – and bewailed how the continent does not have a major river (seriously – click here to read the full speech). This was not an isolated example. On numerous other occasions, Zuma showed himself to be a personification of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which Wikipedia describes as “a cognitive bias in which people with limited competence overestimate their abilities.” Put differently, the arrogance of ignorance. His MK Party’s manifesto, published this week, shows 82-year-old Zuma remains deeply entrenched in that mindset. Those voting for him are essentially pressing a self-destruct button for the South African economy. The fact that so many will, says as much about the ANC’s shocking basic education policies as it does of the man’s grasp of the real world. – Alec Hogg

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By Chris Steyn

Should former President Jacob Zuma’s uMKHONTO WESIZWE (MK) party come to power, it plans to “break the power of private monopoly finance over the economy”.

Among the radical measures to achieve that will be the nationalisation of “strategic” mines, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), major banks, as well as insurance companies “to reduce the dominance of private finance”.

Those aims are set out in detail in the party’s manifesto, in which MK blames the theft of mineral resources and land for the poverty, unemployment and inequality in the country.

Therefore another big priority for MK will be the expropriation of “all” land without compensation.

The ownership of expropriated land will be transferred to “the people under state and traditional leadership custodianship”.

As part of its fight against “Neo-apartheid”, MK also plans to nationalise Arcelor Mittal and Sasol.

Read more: 🔒 Hartford: SA’s left surges in ‘New Dawn’ for radical ideologies amidst political shifts

The party wants to “ensure state ownership and control of all natural resources on behalf of the South African people, including water, spectrum, and renewable energy resources”.

Furthermore, it plans to “regulate private capital participation in resource exploitation”.

The party also vows to “force” the relisting of major South African companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Among its other promises are “free, mandatory, high quality” education from early childhood to postgraduate level, and a basic salary of R4 500.

To “cultivate discipline and patriotism” among the youth, there will be a year of military service for “every young person reaching the age of 18”.

MK states that its policies are designed to address the most pressing challenges today: economic inequality, inadequate access to quality education and healthcare, national security threats, inequitable land distribution, and the need for robust traditional leadership and foreign policies that “reflect our values and aspirations”.


Zuma’s Party Wants to Nationalize Land, Mines in South Africa

By S’thembile Cele

South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma’s newly formed party vowed to nationalize land and banks, withdraw from the International Criminal Court and expand the social security net in its campaign manifesto released before May 29 elections.

Opinion polls show the Umkhonto WeSizwe Party cannibalizing support from the ruling African National Congress of which Zuma remains a member. They also show the ANC, which has governed South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994, may lose its majority for the first time.

The MKP’s plans are similar to those of the nation’s third biggest party, the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters. The EFF’s leader, Julius Malema, has indicated that it would be open to align with the MKP to form a left leaning bloc.

Zuma, who led South Africa for nine years marred by scandal including allegations of large-scale corruption and the looting of billions of dollars of government funds, is popular in KwaZulu-Natal, the second-most populous province. He’s denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been indicted on the accusations.

Zuma has also drawn crowds to rallies in Gauteng, which has the highest number of registered voters. 

Coalition Partners

Over the weekend, Zuma said he was open to work with like-minded parties in a WhatsApp voice note, in which he apologized for not attending two rallies in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal in which thousands came to see him.

“If we have any differences, it is fine but not on the fundamentals of this country and changing the lives of black people for the better,” Zuma said in the 10-minute recording. “Even if we vote differently for now but after the election we must get together and talk, including those who are not yet sold on the vision and those we have not yet been able to approach, they must know that they must come back so we can work together so we can shape this country.” 

Like the EFF, the MKP is also advocating for the nationalization of the central bank and the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund. 

“The narrow mandate of the partially foreign-owned South African Reserve Bank is not supportive of economic diversification and industrial growth,” the manifesto said.

Where the two parties differ is on the scale of nationalization. MKP wants to nationalize all major lenders and mines, Malema has said that state-owned banks, mines and schools would compete with those operated by the private sector. 

The MKP will also withdraw from a pact to move away from coal as the primary source of the country’s energy, saying it will renew the existing fleet of coal-fired power stations and accelerate a nuclear program.

Other plans in the MKP’s manifesto include:

  • Hold a referendum to scrap the constitution and replace it with a parliamentary system.
  • Nationalize strategic mines, ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd. and Sasol Ltd.
  • Force major South African companies to relist on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
  • Withdraw South Africa from the ‘weaponised’ International Criminal Court. Zuma proposed leaving the ICC in 2016, though that plan was later abandoned after he left office.
  • Introduce a basic income grant above 1,558 rand ($81) for the unemployed.
  • Increase the old-age pension grant to at least 4,500 rand a month from more than 2,000 rand currently.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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