“The developmental state must not be equated as holiday resort for capitalism. It must produce an approach to develop the economy without prescripts of the ruling class. The state must collaborate with the private sector to enhance national interests. The roles and objectives of state capitalism in building the economy must be determined by the multiclass character of the ANC with an intention to enhance working class biasness.”
By Advocate Seitebaleng Alfred Dikole
The ANC Manifesto made a commitment to voters to build a broader and inclusive economy where all South Africans participate and benefit. The fundamental point of departure is that there should be broader participation of various class forces in the transformation of the economy. There has been a consistent misconception in this country to regard the economy as something that belongs to the elite. Sadly, the ANC always speaks on behalf of the market instead of fighting for an economy that seeks to reflect what the ANC seeks to achieve.
The role of the developmental state becomes paramount in a sense that the state must coordinate all role players in building an effective economy that is not unstable. Local economic development cannot be divorced from main stream economic development. The emphasis cannot only be made on the township economy whilst you create dichotomy within the rural economy. It is therefore crucial for the nation to identify impediments within local economic development that hinder progress.
Reciprocity and mutual benefits between rural and urban areas should be given particular attention. The template of a capitalist economy that seeks to champion profit maximization must be discouraged because of its’ failure to create inclusive growth that is aspiring to create human civilization.
The current state of the COVID19 pandemic provides an opportunity for the state to invest in the public health system and also to reorganize State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). Social investment must now become a priority for growing and developing our economy. Principals of neoliberalism must be discouraged because in many virtues they are calling for public resources and wealth to rescue capitalism so that it can continue with its laissez faire practices.
ANC POSITION ON ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION
The ANC has a long-standing position on how to transform our economy. The election manifesto provides a framework that must be used to champion economic transformation. It states that “we must build an economy in which our people have meaningful stake and which from they can benefit”. Also, the principles of the National Democratic Revolution must be our guiding factor.
It is important for every key stakeholder to have key performance areas. Workers’ money that belongs to different investments cannot be controlled by capitalists, let alone to bail out business practice. Policy restrictions should be developed to protect our economy from abuse by those with no national interest of building an egalitarian society.
RADICAL LAND DISTRIBUTION
The land question remains one critical matter that needs urgent attention. Policies should be scrutinized to evaluate both strengths and weaknesses to address current realities. The most important task by the ANC is to avoid undermining its congress resolutions in purport to please the market. Land reform is about addressing historical injustices and land dispossession of the black community. Land reform must be more radical but with intention to address food securities and sustainable livelihood to our communities.
The word “communities” cannot be left uncontested, since it is made up with various role players in the form of class forces and strata. Ours must be more biased to the rural poor and working people in general.
Progress has been made with regard to the amendment of section 25 of the RSA Constitution. This on its own becomes a best legal template to use in addressing the land question. The main tasks are to clarify land ownership, wherein land must be owned by people not the state. This must find expression within the process of radical transformation.
We have experienced confusion brought by both municipalities and tribal authorities in so far as land usage and distribution is concerned. Therefore, there should be promulgation of laws that will protect land and people from local scavengers. We must in many respects promote greening revolution where we live, work and study.
Big business must also impart skills to producers in agricultural industries. Funds must be available in this regard to incentivize women and young people from previously disadvantaged communities. In this regard, the state has to avail relief funds for small scale farming in rural areas and defend big emerging farmers against bullying of big monopolies in the agricultural sector. In the rural areas there must be strict measures that are applicable in both municipalities and traditional leaders.
It is therefore crucial for the ANC structures to play political oversight in land distribution. Failure to do so will lead to the process being highjacked by business consultants.
FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The Fourth Industrial Revolution should be used in such a way that it can broaden participation and beneficiation from all walks of life. Deliberate method should be applicable to ensure that it becomes pro poor and working-class bias. The industrial strategy must ensure that manufacturing becomes a central role player in our economy.
This must serve as a corner stone for economic transformation by ensuring that all sectors of the economy utilize it in their production level.
This is one area that can be used to remove red tapes and bureaucracy in acceleration for development in rural areas. Proper training of young people and women in 4IR must be given priority so that they become prime beneficiaries of the revolution.
The main task is to make sure that 4IR does not become a tool for job losses and exploitation of the poor working people. Therefore, it will be more crucial to develop a tool that will assist workers and the poor to be beneficiaries in the whole project.
There must be an urgent Digital Industrial Strategy which deals with disruptive changes and entail over aching public control. There must be democratic public control of our national broadband spectrum and reduction of the cost of data. It will be important to continuously heighten mobilization of the working class and progressive strata and within this context, develop a leadership role to forge a broad patriotic and a left front.
It is widely recognized that 4IR will place premium on digital literacy, skills and technicity occupation in number of respects. As a country we must anticipate that the deepening and widening of technological revolution may create high floor of digital competence as a basic requirement in the job sector.
The existing realities of high-level concentration, centralization and tax avoidances will need robust engagements within the spirit of promoting national interest in the digital revolution. There should be the sovereignty of data that must not be used by external forces to promote their cosmopolitan character of abusing and undermining the interest of the country. The role of institutions of high learning must be visible in provision of skills revolutions within the context of 4IR. It is within the same context that state must give incentives for them to simplify understanding as well as put 4IR into reality.
The ANC manifesto demands the roll out of a public infrastructure programme to support broader based access to digital technologies. There must be an enabler for broader participation in the digital economy. We need to recognize profit seeking entities in a manner that will enhance poor people in townships and villages to earn income. A public roll out of public infrastructure will be fundamental to a struggle for an inclusive digitalization programme as opposed to the release of public spectrum to advance private profit maximization.
TOWNSHIP AND VILLAGE ECONOMY
Townships and villages are an integral part of local economic development and a solid foundation at that level should be established. The practice by other nationalities who own tuck shops and other local business have given us a great lesson. We need to develop biasness for local participation in local economic development since current activities are more of making profit that is not contributing to effective economic growth. There must be legislation that provides for bias ownership of spazas and tuck shops by South Africans. The law must be tight enough to ensure that there is growth and development in the local areas. Big role players such as retail stores must assist in terms of economic boosting for those who are interested.
The promotion of tourism and creative industry in the locality cannot be divorced from local economic development. The challenge is for the government to dismantle bottle necks that have been created by the big monopoly which deny local artist to prosper. The financial sectors must relax measures in order to ensure that local people access funding for their small businesses. It is also advisable for the sector to lay infrastructures for local growth of the economy.
In conclusion, it will be important to obliterate key features of Colonialism of a Special Type rearing its ugly head in our economic transformation. Budget planning should not be accountable to the ruling class who have stupendous concentration of wealth in their private hands. The developmental state must also create and be characterized by a non-capitalist developmental path. In the long run the state must smoothly regulate functions of private capital in creation of an egalitarian society.
This will unfold within a fierce class battles between contending classes that are role players in championship to erect new growth path. Domination of the financial markets in the state has over period of years lowered the state capacity in addressing neoliberal prescripts. For us to develop state capacity we must have political capacity. This entail training and deployment of best cadres who are skillfully trained and carefully selected to drive the agenda of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) within the state. This must be underpinned by organizational discipline and revolutionary honesty.
It is appreciative that the ANC started to institutionalize political education by making it a requirement for every member who occupy areas of responsibilities to undergo training. ANC structure must take economic transformation as one of the key pillars within the NDR project. It cannot be correct for the entire economic engagements to be left to bourgeois analysts and consultant to interpret and give the masses a wrong recipe.
The economy has to be transformed in a radical manner that seeks to address the evil bequeathed to us by Colonialism of a Special Type. Radical economic transformation must not be an empty slogan that reflect a cry for bail out by the bourgeois compradors within a class existing society. All role players must have a clear distinctive participation in advancing and deepening economic transformation.
There is fertile ground for the working class to occupy its rightful place in taking NDR into the next step. Local economic development must be a priority by locals becoming active participants in that regard. The state must remove impediments that works against people accessing finances and it must develop capacity to discipline capital and ensure its’ held accountable in addressing economic challenges. Radical transformation must be understood by every role player as it shouldn’t be a mere sloganeering that seeks to champion bailing out of sinking and parasitic business.
- SACP 4th Special National Congress Discussion Documents on www.sacp.org.za
- 2019 ANC election manifesto
- ANC.2017.Strategy and Tactics
4.Turok.B.1989.Mixed Economy in focus;Zambia.Institute for African Alternatives,London p.15.
5.Makoe.D.2019.Prescripts of looting.New African Magazine.London.p 29