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ANCYL has no copyright on economic freedom

The struggle for economic freedom predates us all. It began many years ago. Long before the ANC or the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) ever existed, and even long before the arrival of the employees of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape in 1652. When Nguni tribes, moved south of the African continent in search of fertile land ready to fight all before their way, sought economic freedom. When the Khoi fought their first battle against a Dutch settlement encroaching on their grazing land, they sought economic freedom. When the French stormed the Bastille partly angered by Mary Antoinette’s mockery of their hunger they sought economic freedom.

At the centre of the Anglo-Boer war was the yearning by two European tribes to have hegemony over the vast natural resources recently discovered in South Africa in order to enhance the economic freedom of their peoples. The daily struggles between workers and employers at the shop-floor are essentially about economic freedom. That’s what communists call the class struggle. Recognising this fact Karl Marx and Frederick Engels declare in the Communist Manifesto that: “The history of all hitherto existing society is a history of class struggles.”

Men and women through the years have sought to ensure economic freedom for themselves and in so doing they have employed various tactics. They have gone to war, conquered nations and acquired land. In some cases they have deposed Kings, governments or even installed dictators and later removed them; all in pursuit, not of just political freedom, but of the right and capacity to determine their economic lives. It would be a stretch of the imagination to suggest that this struggle for economic freedom is new and sprung up from the brilliant heads of the ANCYL or its leaders and thus its success is tied to their political fortunes as these comrades have suggested.

They have been brave enough to even suggest that the decline or rise in the political fortunes of certain youth leaders would determine the success or failure of the struggle for economic freedom. Nothing can be further from the truth. This idea does not belong to the ANCYL nor does it hold copyrights to it. Of course, the ANCYL leadership has played its part in ensuring that the question of economic freedom takes centre stage in the public discourse, but only in the public discourse, with the exception of that lonely march for economic freedom little has been done in the actual arena of struggle.

Seeking economic freedom is simple. It is a yearning by all to produce whatever they want and to have financial capacity to acquire whatever they want from others which they cannot produce on their own. Obstacles imposed on their capacity to produce and acquire from others suffocate their economic freedom and thus leading to a struggle. Men and women, since the existence of classes, have never achieved economic freedom — hence the endless class struggles. In all class societies, certain classes acquire their economic freedom at the expense of that of others. In capitalist society, the bourgeoisie has economic freedom thanks to its lack of existence for the working class. Any attempts to ensure economic freedom should thus appreciate the fact that they ought to do it through abolishing classes.

For instance a lower working class couple working as drillers in a nationalised mine and seeks to buy property in nationalised but expensive Sandton will be unable to do so compared to another couple working as managers in the same nationalised mine simply because stratification in remuneration would still be in full effect. Even though the working class couple, nominally, owns the land in Sandton through the state but it cannot acquire a stand to build property simply because other than take the mine and the land in Sandton from private hands it has turned it over into another type of private hands now embodied by state representatives.

The success or failure of the economic freedom suggested by the ANCYL does not depend on the political survival of its leadership, or on its capacity to win the broadest sections of the ANC and society and but importantly on its willingness to see the destruction of capitalist relations of production and their replacement of socialism. Quite frankly, I am not too convinced about the possibility of economic freedom as suggested by the ANCYL. As far as I’m concerned without socialism there can be no economic freedom. So long as there is exploitation of man by man, economic freedom will only just be a catchword with which to drug freedom thirsty masses.

Any call for economic freedom to succeed it must disrupt capitalist production and change the structural character of the production process and replace it with an egalitarian system in the hand of workers themselves. Otherwise, so long as economic freedom is premised under capitalism it will only result in the co-option of a small elite amongst black people into upper echelons of capitalist society whilst leaving the vast majority in the shackles of poverty. Even if our government would nationalize everything including barber shops, it would still not have changed the hierarchical organization of the production process which results in stratification at the point of production and builds the first networks of unequal access to the proceeds of the production itself. That would only reproduce capitalism in a new form, which would be state capitalism.

Nationalisation, on its own, without fundamental changes in the economic structure is half-hearted. Of course this does not suggest as some do that there must be no nationalization at all. There must be, but it must be accepted that if nationalisation takes place under these conditions it does so not as a panacea to all our problems but as part of the radical reforms that any progressive liberation movement ought to engage in. So no one should attempt to arrogate themselves the role of an unflinching revolutionary simply because they advance an old struggle for reform. Nobody should therefore present themselves as a Messiah being nailed to the cross because they dared challenge Monopoly capital, when actually they didn’t they just seek to ensure that we relate with monopoly capital on favorable terms.

Any struggle for economic freedom which is not a struggle for socialism runs the risk of never achieving that economic freedom. But something named after it that is not the real deal.


  • Lazola Ndamase is head of Cosatu's political education department. He is former Secretary General of SASCO.


  1. Dave Harris Dave Harris 4 August 2012

    I glad you see the necessity for nationalization of strategic natural resources.
    However, mere talk of socialism and nationalization going hand in hand, unfortunately does not amount to much in the struggle for economic liberation. The ANCYL at least has boots on the ground to make themselves heard over our media mafia and can unite our youth to force our leadership to tackle land reform, nationalization, festering racism etc. by speaking the uncomfortable truths. Your lone voice, even though you have perfectly valid arguments, is drowned in the sea of misinformation peddled by our mainstream media on a daily basis.

  2. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 4 August 2012

    @Lazola,there is no society in the world where the people are all equal. There are people that will worked hard to learn in school and there are people who will not work hard. When these people worked hard in school and become highly skilled people should they be paid the same as a person that’s unskilled? When you get sick and go to the hospital should the doctor be paid the same as the porter in the hospital? People that are working seven days a week to make a business grow should they be rewarded the fruits of their labor? The people working in labs. to develop new technology should they be treated the same way as unskilled people?

    Speaking of the nationalization of the land does that includes land owned by the tribal chiefs? When the state take over all of the land where will they get the capital to develop this land and other sectors of the economy?

    A country should strive to give everyone equal chance in the society but, everyone is not going to be equal.

  3. Bigman Bigman 5 August 2012

    Well informed and notice the risky of nationalization up so far.
    Those who push nationalization agendas are not well informed thoroughly, best way is to organize workshops for them.
    I like the publishing about truth in this issue

  4. FactChecker FactChecker 5 August 2012

    Thanks for clarifying what you mean by economic freedom: “a yearning by all to produce whatever they want and to have financial capacity to acquire whatever they want from others which they cannot produce on their own.” But there’s a problem with the words “whatever they want”.

    You see, in a capitalist society, the primary way to wealth is to produce things that OTHER people need and want: food, shelter, clothing, labour-saving devices, entertainment, knowledge, etc. The more you produce of value for others, the wealthier you tend to become.This is a function of the experience, skills and knowledge one accumulates over time.

    That’s why “economic freedom” is understood to entail institutions such as the rule of law, private property rights, freedom of contract, and more. These are essential incentives that encourage people to strive for self-improvement.

    The Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) and Index of Economic Freedom (IEF) are two indices which attempt to measure the degree of economic freedom in the world’s nations. On the IEF ( site you can compare, for example, South Africa and Mauritius and see how economic freedom has been rising in Mauritius and falling in South Africa. At the EFW site ( you can see that, in terms of economic freedom, South Africa ranked 48 out of 123 countries in 1995 but had fallen to 87 out of 141 countries in 2009.

    We need more economic freedom for sure to improve the lives of…

  5. MLH MLH 5 August 2012

    Nicely written blog, although I’m not entirely sure I can agree in total: no mention is made of the crucial need to enlarge the pie in order to service the millions who have little access to the present one, or the way in which new businesses can make their initiators wealthy people; that doesn’t happen overnight, it is true, but many of the people who dug for gold and diamonds in this country did all the digging themselves…and only a small proportion of them became wealthy.
    Still, it is mainly sane and sensible and makes the point that many of the ex-Euros who helped to people this country initially, arrived with nothing, but built on that. Taking the value they have built is like stealing the presents from the birthday boy: unfair when your own birthday is coming up.

  6. bernpm bernpm 5 August 2012

    “Economic freedom” does not exist and will never exist. All personal “freedom” is by definition limited by the freedom of the next person or group of persons.

    The debate is cluttered with the usual “pro” and “con” bullshit (see previous blog on the same subject) that mainly serves to baffle the brains of potential supporters who move to the streets and destroy traffic lights in order to get their “demands” met.

    Enjoy the debate.

  7. Pieter Pretorius Pieter Pretorius 5 August 2012

    Zola, good point that the struggle for economic freedom predates us all. I think you need to go further back in history to get a different perspective on this issue. 1400 year before the birth of Christ God instructed Moses about what was on his heart for his people. You can read about it in the Bible the book of Leviticus chapter 25. But unfortunately even they did not obey God.
    When the regime in Albania came to a fall I was shocked to hear of all the atrocities that was committed under socialism. What Sterling Ferguson said explaines why there will never be classless societies. Somebody always wants to be the boss with more privileges than the masses.
    Our trouble started the day when mankind wanted to be independent of God and decide for themselves what is right and wrong.

  8. bernpm bernpm 5 August 2012

    @Pieter Pretorius: “Our trouble started the day when mankind wanted to be independent of God and decide for themselves what is right and wrong.”

    I do appreciate your religeous convictions but………which of the many Gods we have to obey?? Islam, behind many conflicts, the Jewish….same story, Christians whith a similar history……..
    With all due respect, religions have not proven to give reliable guide lines to “economic freedom”. Religions have often been the bullshit (political) reason for going to war to achieve economic dominance and get the hordes to take up arms.

  9. Dave Harris Dave Harris 5 August 2012

    Its not a matter of just more economic freedom since the economic disparity in our country was caused through CENTURIES of economic and political oppression. As Lazola has pointed out, our transformation initiatives have to be carefully planned out or risk being hijacked by opportunists.

    These EFW, IEF indices that you point us to are simply there to shape public opinion for the benefit of the 1%, nothing else! Furthermore, improving peoples lives here in SA being undoing the havoc created by apartheid. So instead of pointing to meaningless “facts” and laws do you have any better ideas on land reform, nationalization etc. Mr Factchecker?

  10. bernpm bernpm 5 August 2012

    @Dave Harris: Its not a matter of just more economic freedom since the economic disparity in our country was caused through CENTURIES of economic and political oppression.

    How could these “centuries of oppression” happen?? Were most people happy with the situation and their experience of their “economic freedom” at the time??

    Political oppression?? Why was the ANC founded only some 100 years ago?? Why did this “economic freedom” stuff only comes up now??
    Why do we see so little demand in economic subjects from university entrants??
    Are all, you, me and all the others talking about the same “economic freedom”?

  11. bernpm bernpm 5 August 2012

    I asked: “Are all, you, me and all the others talking about the same “economic freedom”?

    Just for fun…..I checked:

    “The freedom to prosper within a country without intervention from a government or economic authority. Individuals are free to secure and protect his/her human resources, labor and private property. Economic freedom is common in capitalist economies and must incorporate other civil liberties to be deemed as truly free.”

    How can we explain that “economic freedom” in SA is being advertised by socialist/communist leaning groups who seem anti capitalist ?

    Once more: are we on the same platform when demanding “economic freedom” ?

  12. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 6 August 2012

    Lets take the basics of ‘economic freedom’ back a few steps.

    Before (what we now call) civilisation, you had the guy who was a good fisherman and the guy who could tan hides. They would ‘swap’ goods for (what they considered) a fair deal. Now lets say three other guys start fishing. The ‘price’ of fish now goes down and instead of being a difficult commodity to find, it now becomes less valuable. Should a few enterprising people decide that tanning hides was a lot more lucrative and each start up their own little tanning operations, then the ‘price’ of hides comes down and the status quo returns to where it was.

    That, in essence is Capitalism. You get paid the value that people are prepared to pay on merit of your work and the scarcity of your skills

    In this same imaginary village is the town fool (no human settlement is complete without at least one). The locals take pity on him and give him food and a few less desirable hides because they feel sorry for him. A couple of ingenious young folk see that they can get by without doing anything and suddenly the town has a whole group of village fools. The town elder decides that the donating of a few fish and hides is not good enough and the fishermen MUST give each fool a certain amount. Some of the fishermen soon figure out that fishing is a waste of time if they can get fish for nothing and before you know it, we are back to only having one foolish fisherman doing all the work.

    That, in essence,…

  13. David David 6 August 2012

    Harris. Thank you for yet another ‘Ctrl C, Ctrl V’ contribution. You’re quick to judge others, but you are often found light in the ideas department. Where’s your manifesto on nationalisation, land reform, etc. – they are both headlines you regurgitate with frequency, but sadly do not provide the content.

  14. The Creator The Creator 6 August 2012

    No, the ANCYL doesn’t have a copyright on it. But they’re almost the only people with the guts to talk about it in public. (Good for you, Mr. Ndamase, for raising the issue)

    You can’t really compare the precolonial, or even the pre-mining, society with the present. At present, economic freedom (actually the ANCYL talk about economic “liberation” to avoid all that poisonous waffle about the free market which Mr. Ferguson provides) is prevented by complex corporate networks tied in with bought-and-paid-for politicians. You can’t move on to new land, you can’t even invent a better mousetrap thanks to intellectual property laws.

  15. Bravado Mazibuko Bravado Mazibuko 6 August 2012

    Capitalistic have failed all of us, including the so-called haves. Communism as well has failed, so why not come up with an alternative economic system that will equitably distribute resources. To all of you that say capitalism is the answer, you all belong to the have gang. You have never experienced poverty before,which is the daily grind of all black people in this continent and the world over. So seemingly, since you seem to be skilled and educated as you claim, may you come-up with an original economic system in order to avert income inequalities that afflict this world.

  16. Brian B Brian B 6 August 2012

    Lazola, You started your blog quite coherently but I’m afraid you got lost in a maze of mumbo jumbo socialist communist rhetoric.

    I do however agree with you that neither the ANC or its appendage the ANCYL have the credentials or ability to create economic freedom for the masses. (perhaps for themselves yes.)

    We need leaders who will serve the people, not themselves. to steer the country towards wealth creation not exploitation.

  17. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 6 August 2012

    “Economic Freedom” now means “Equal Money and Status” for no work and no study!

  18. Lazola Ndamase Lazola Ndamase Post author | 6 August 2012

    @Brian B, I am sure if you feel the communism is “rhetoric” why do you not point out what is it that is rhetorical about it. Because in actual fact the rhetoric is making sweeping statements about something without proving what is it that is of no substance

  19. Una Una 6 August 2012


    You are suffering from the same naivety that you accuse the ANCYL of: The reason why both socialism and capitalism have failed is due to the fundamentalist theories that they promote: according to both doctrines there are, apparently no grey areas. Unfortunately those who promote either of the two fail to give a detailed road map of how this can be achieved – even Marx’s Dialectic Materialism is ignored by present day so called Marxists. Karl Marx states clearly that there must be an abundance of resources that must shared equally. In other words wealth creation presupposes socialism. It is a pity even Marx does not address the dynamics of beneficiaries, and participants in production within a socialist state. This leaves humankind with a task of having to enrich the Marxist theory such that it takes humans to another level. This has not happened up to this day. Shouting the rhetoric and promoting whichever of the isms is not going to help. Even capitalism when it reached its zenith in the western world the system began to disintegrate, just as Marx had predicted.

    A whole book can be written on what you have raised in this blog. I agree with Dave Harris that at list the ANCYL is galvanizing and providing leadership to a very uncomfortable South African youth. You seem to be leaving in another country. Are you not aware of the very angry youth? The ANCYL has done this country a favour by providing leadership and articulating their wishes. If it were not for them…

  20. bernpm bernpm 6 August 2012

    @ Lazola/Brian: Both systems, capitalism and communism, had the potential to assist humanity to live happy and in harmony “for ever thereafter.
    However the implementations of both have been polluted by greed and power hunger.
    Communism -as implemented- took away most of personal freedom in a dictatorial environment.
    Capitalism does the same but by withholding for many people the means to excercise the freedom one has with money.
    The movement of “new economics” is trying to correct some of the issues by reshaping the money and bank systems as well as some other socio economic practices.
    One example: it recommends to establish a link between the highest paid and the lowest paid in an organisation. The movement has already been accused of socialist tendencies.

  21. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 6 August 2012

    @Momma, the capitalist system is the best system in the world as far as its ability to produce goods for the market. However, the capitalist system has to be regulated to keep crooks from controlling the market. Capitalism works best when there are many buyers and many sellers. Capitalism doesn’t work well when there are few seller and many buyers. A good example of what I am talking about is Eskoms, this is a state owned monopoly with many sellers so, this company can give the buyers bad services because the buyers have no other services to turn to. The state own companies will never be run well because these companies make political decisions instead of business decisions. Most of the state owned industries in SA can’t compete in the world market with capitalist run companies because they are run as state owned monoplies. Russia and China had to make a 180 degree turn because the state owned companies had made these countries dirt poor.

  22. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 6 August 2012

    Lazola, the communism system is nothing but, rhetoric because it’s unnatural to ask people to work for nothing. It’s unnatural to ask a farmer to work twelve hours a day for to grow food and to have the state take his crop. In the mean time the big wheels in the party are living it up with imported goods produced in capitalist countries. In my opinion Brian was mild with his statement because I would call communism BS.

  23. Rich Rich 7 August 2012

    The laws of this land seem to be written by big business and government (in that order) and of course the lawyers and accountants that get their cut. Some of the legislation when applied to small business is laughable and stifling. But that could be it’s intent – to keep the little guys down.
    But as for ‘in the hands of the workers’ rhetoric – not sure that will work. By all means I advocate percentage profit share to the workers but this is defeated by collective bargaining (a merit system would work best). So we yet again find ourselves looking at Labour and scratching our heads.

  24. Mack Nyati Mack Nyati 7 August 2012

    @ Lazola to Brian B

    Good challenge there, Lazola…


    “…How can we explain that “economic freedom” in SA is being advertised by socialist/communist leaning groups who seem anti-capitalist?”

    It is a known fact that Capitalism has not helped the sorry lot of the poor working people in South Africa… simply because its focus is on maximising profits for the Capitalist, including by paying the least possible wages to the workers, hence the rise of trade unions.

    On the other hand Socialism propagates the idea of equitable sharing of resources to maintain a fair balance for the livelihoods of ALL citizens.

    Maybe the ANCYL has gone too far to claim that the fight for economic freedom is their domain… that’s if they actually did make this claim. But we cannot ignore the fact that they have been the most audible voice championing this cause, next to COSATU…

  25. nicholasjakari nicholasjakari 7 August 2012

    The weakness of this presentation is, as others have already observed, in this otherwise interesting appraisal, is the undefined nature of Economic Freedom [EF].

    The impression gained is that E.F. is a rent seeking philosophy and in a world that has advanced into a place filled with 7 billion persons, the ancient rent seeking behaviour that brought us from our nomadic origins is no longer feasible or practical. This does not,of course obviate the dilemma of destitution for the vast numbers that are now here and have no substantive means to generate a revenue stream in a world where they are inherently superfluous.

    I have attempted a [fictional] palliative solution based on considerable research into the question, as part of the background environment that permeates my post-apocalyptic, podcast cyber-serial The Jonker Memorandum on my web site

    That the story is set in a pre-and post- apocalyptic world is because i have the inkling that there is no other practical alternative to the ideas that i present, and which are by no means unique … it is simply that their time has arrived [unless we believe as some do that this electronic world is a finite invention] and it is necessary for someone [i choose me] to present them in a digestible form.

  26. bernpm bernpm 7 August 2012

    @Nicholasjaskari: “The impression gained is that E.F. is a rent seeking philosophy and in a world that has advanced into a place filled with 7 billion persons, the ancient rent seeking behaviour that brought us from our nomadic origins is no longer feasible or practical. ”

    I can feel sympathetic to your train of thought -connecting the limits to EF with the increased world population- but……….it could lead to a -considered totally unhumane- practice of treating this “unwanted” hordes as we treat unwanted weeds in our garden.
    A slippery slope back to some events in our less illustreous history. Although, the recent wars from WW1 all the way to “Syria to day” do a good job on showing us what this would mean in practice.

  27. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 7 August 2012

    Socialism has never failed – not Socialist Welfare Democratic states.

    Communism has failed everywhere, and the jury appears to be out at the moment on Capitalism.

    But what CAN NOT be combined is Capitalism and Communism – which is what Africa has been doing in every state since Independence, with disasterous results.

    WHO is going to invest Capital in SA if either the Unions with strikes, or the Competitions Commission will attack profits as soon as they are made?

    The whole POINT of Capitalism IS Competition – if you fail, you fail, if you make profits they belong to you!

    Telkom has made “excessive profits”? According to whom? And anyhow Telkom, like Eskom, was never designed to make profits at all but to provide as cheap as possible a service to citizens.

    Telkom “abused its monopoly”? So WHY did the ANC government GRANT that monopoly AFTER they had sold it as a parastatal?

  28. Piet Boerie Piet Boerie 7 August 2012

    Are all systems of control and power then not a pyramid scheme? All us plebs at the bottom feeding the top.
    So the system starts to collapse when the top requires far more to feed itself and the bottom has none left to give.
    So when the proverbial cow is milked dry you eat it?

    Vertical Integration.

    Where the hell has all the wealth gone? Really think about it! Capitalist or whatever.

    South Africa has produced 40% of all gold ever mined.

    Lets take one year 2011

    Lets take 1 Gold company:

    Gold Fields Limited is a South African gold mining firm
    Revenue R31.56 billion (FY 2010)[1]

    Net income R7.73 billion (FY 2010)

    The country’s diamond industry is the fourth-largest in the world.

    “South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of gold and platinum and one of the leading producers of base metals and coal. Holding the world’s largest reserves of gold, platinum-group metals and manganese ore”

    Our exchange then for the resource that is ours seems a very poor return? Capitalist or whatever!

    So if all these billions are going up the funnel where is it ending up? Why do we still have poverty when such large sums of wealth are trading hands?

  29. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 7 August 2012

    @Beddy, Unregulated capitalism will be doom for failure and this is the caused of the problem today with capitalism. On the other hand communism has failed around the world because it’s unnatural to ask people to work hard for the state with no reward. However, in the capitalist countries the people have a high standard of living and a relative degree of freedom.

    The problem with post colonial Africa is most of these government have setup an economy of extraction and not an economy of production of goods. In the 15th hundreds Africa started trading off their people for finished goods from Europe and didn’t try to learn how to make these goods for themselves. In SA over the last twenty years whole manufacturing sector have been wipe out by SA dumb trade policy. This country has exported million of jobs to China so, China can buy their natural resources. In Nigeria, this country has sold billions in oil but, very little of this money has been invested in other industries to produce goods. Nigeria is a net importer of gasoline because very little oil is refined in that country. The ANCYL brought up the wrong issue they, should be talking about adding value to their natural resources to create wealth. In Angola, ninety percent of the people are dirt poor and a small group of people are enjoying the oil boom even though the government owns everything.

  30. Rich Rich 7 August 2012

    Piet, spot on there!
    Our government screws the small guy because it is an easy target. You cannot screw your bedfellow (well, if you are honest you can because it is what you do – but we are talking a different ‘snuggles’ here) so you screw the laundry people.
    But I tend to look on the bright side: us bottom feeders are kept honest. This is where real business is done. Price, service and person. Up there it’s all about what colour your socks are and who else did you screw.

  31. bernpm bernpm 7 August 2012

    @Lyndal: “Telkom “abused its monopoly”? So WHY did the ANC government GRANT that monopoly AFTER they had sold it as a parastatal?”

    ..and has been fined 450 million or so…..where does this money go?? To the poor sods who have been milked along the way??

    Like the collusion on bread pricing some time ago: Tigeroats was fined a few millions for controlling bread prices…….. did you see any of that when you bought a bread???

    Capitalist sins punished by a “communist leaning” governement. Interesting concept. And the managers walk free.

  32. bernpm bernpm 7 August 2012

    @ Piet Boerie: “Where the hell has all the wealth gone? Really think about it! Capitalist or whatever.”

    The wealth has indeed gone up the funnel, by hook and by crook. Research has been done on this by various countries to find the ways this is done.
    Intercompany billing is one major and well known tool for tax evasion.

    A report by a Danish university (sorry, lost the reference) worked out that of all claimed development aid by developed countries to developing countries some 80% comes back to the developed country. A way of recycling the profits at a profit in the form of aid??

    “Where have all the flowers gone”? was a popular song.

    The SA rebel rousers do have a point when calling for nationalisation of “resources” but the solution cannot be found in “economic freedom”. Maybe in economic and administrative disciplines and controls with strict guidelines. A little like running a spaza. You look after your stock and your till at the same time.

  33. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 7 August 2012

    @Harris, the leaders in SA and Africa have setup an economy of extraction and no added value to their resources, this has made Africa dirt poor. The issue that should be on the table is how to add value to the African resources and the ANCYL have failed on this matter.

  34. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 8 August 2012

    Sterling Ferguson,

    Good point …. the use of Eiskom as an example is an excellent one. In a communist country where everything is owned by the state, everything becomes an ‘Eiskom” and there is no competition, choice or possibility of choice.

    The use of socialist (as opposed to communist) economic models is essential in Africa as we simply do not have the levels of sophistication to become a completely capitalistic continent at the moment. Models such as France and Canada work well. The danger is going overboard and becoming a ‘nanny state’ where grown adults are treated like errant teenagers who can never be trusted to mould their own destiny. Rather like the old feudal system where your station of birth was set in stone and no amount of ingenuity could change it.

    Currently, our biggest stumbling block is corruption. As a single example: Who is benefiting from selling our minerals at bargain basement prices and, thereby, reducing our industrial strength? We worked out once, that if China bought SA steel, shipped it into international waters and then back into an SA port, they could still (after all the costs) sell it in SA at a profit – how do our industries compete with that?

  35. Brian B Brian B 8 August 2012

    Hey Lazola,
    Nice of you to acknowledge my blog.
    “Rhetoric” is “Speech or discourse which pretends significance but lacks true meaning”.

    “Without socialism there can be no economic freedom”

    “Any call for economic freedom to succeed it must disrupt capitalist production and change the structural character of the production process and replace it with an egalitarian system in the hand of workers themselves. Otherwise, so long as economic freedom is premised under capitalism it will only result in the co-option of a small elite amongst black people into upper echelons of capitalist society whilst leaving the vast majority in the shackles of poverty. Even if our government would nationalize everything including barber shops, it would still not have changed the hierarchical organization of the production process which results in stratification at the point of production and builds the first networks of unequal access to the proceeds of the production itself. That would only reproduce capitalism in a new form, which would be state capitalism.”

    The track record of communism or socialism to create lasting prosperity is dismal
    Capitalism has created wealth has resulted in sustained quality of life.

    The nature of mankind is to achieve and prosper.

    Communism / socialism therefore defies the will of the people while benefiting only its proponents.

    Fairplay is the key.

    Let people reach their potential not limit their horizons!


  36. bernpm bernpm 8 August 2012

    @Brian: “Fairplay is the key.

    “Let people reach their potential not limit their horizons!”

    This closes the circle of the debate nicely: education seems the answer and could be the main source of SA’s failure in establishing even the beginnings of “economic freedom”. Very little is left to call “viva” about.

  37. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 8 August 2012

    @Momma, most of these people commenting on this page all have the cat by the tail. There is a thinking among African leaders that Africa is so rich and all one has to do is mine the resources and live. Therefore, there is no need for Africans to work to produce goods for themselves like other countries are doing. Take for example, in Nigeria and Angola these countries produced a lot of oil but there is hardly any refined products made from this oil to add value to their resources. Take the East African countries that produce some of the best coffee in the world and is sold for $18 dollars for a twelve ounce bag in the US, why this coffee is not roasted in these countries to add value to their product? Cotton is produced all over Africa but where are the mills producing cotton goods? In SA the people always talking about their mineral but, where are the goods produced from these mineral to add value to these minerals? The ANCYL got the cat by the tail they, should be raising the issue of adding value to the resources in SA/Africa.

  38. nicholasjakari nicholasjakari 9 August 2012


    Yes, thank you for pointing that out. The core problem of superfluityhas, as Ms Arendt was wont to point out, been a primary source of conflict; and, correspondingly, growth through the ages since we simply moved across the next hill. Superfluous people created Johannesburg [Jozi] where i live… and made themselves less superfluous as a result.

    And like you i do not think the outcome you envisage to be a pleasant one, and so i have presented the logic for the next radical transformation of Capitalism into a model that allows us all to prosper in this this new Post-Industrial Information Era… or not…

  39. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 10 August 2012


    SA had REGULATED Capitalism – the ANC did away with many of those regulations, and so capital streamed OUT with speculative, not investment, capital coming IN!

    And pre-1994 SA did NOT have an extractive economy – but an economy based on parastatals which BENEFICIATED eg Sasol (coal), Mittal (iron to steel).

    The ANC sold them under pressure from the IMF and World Bank in line with their Capitalist Mantra “It is nit the Business of Government to do Business”!

    Which is a lot of Hot Air!


    The Competition Commission is one of the reasons we are not getting new business. The Bread Pricing debacle was another lot of Hot Air! The complaints were against the companies like Pick n Pay etc selling bread at colluded prices at about R8 per loaf. Pick n Pay, Spar and many of them were selling their own bakery bread at R6 a loaf (cost price) but people WANTED the more expensive bread! Previously in SA the bread price, and prices of ALL staple foods, were LEGALLY set prices and subsidised!

  40. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 10 August 2012

    Where has the wealth gone?

    In corruption and in GIVING AWAY HOUSES FOR FREE!

    No other country in the world, not communist and not capitalist and not socialist, has followed such a disasterous and unsustainable policy!

  41. Rory Short Rory Short 10 August 2012

    Genuine wealth is the result of enterprise producing goods and/or services that are wanted by other people, wealth obtained by any other means is obtained in an unfair way and that is the bottom line.

    Thus we want an economic system that promotes enterprise and at the same time tries to stamp out unfairness, and therein lies the problem, pinpointing unfairness. I see even Google, which has implemented many desirable services on the Web and is a great capitalist success story, has been found guilty of unfair practices. Neither communism nor capitalism have found a way to prevent unfair practices being developed by their adherents. It seems to me that the problem lies outside of any system and it has to do with our flawed self-serving human nature. Thus to expect any system to somehow overcome that problem is pure wishful thinking.

  42. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 11 August 2012

    Sterling Ferguson,

    In all fairness, the ANCYL did bring up the issue of working the minerals here – it just got lost in the Malemanese language translator, They proposed a sliding tariff rate for all materials leaving SA, Which goes to prove that even a broken clock can be right twice a day.

    Part of the problem with the continent, in general, is that an instant wealth was expected. The history of the amount of blood sweat and tears that went into families becoming successful was forgotten and an instant levelling of the fields expected. Just because the Tzar is dead, doesn’t mean that everyone gets to live like him. Its a long upward haul

    Unfortunately, freedom is a two edged sword – you have the freedom to succeed but you have an equal freedom to fail.

  43. Sterling Ferguson Sterling Ferguson 12 August 2012

    @Momma, the person that talked about the economy of extraction was Moeletsi Mbeki in a book called “Architects of Poverty”. In this book the author pointed out how the African leaders were setting up an economies of extraction and not producing goods with their resources. He claims that Africa was getting poor because of this policy. The ANCYL was inside the house looking out and called Moeletsi a bitter man for writing this book. Zuma went as far as calling Moeletsi an arm chair critic for writing this book. In the mean times, SA is faced with a high unemployment rate, with fifty percent of the people receiving family grants because the jobs been exported to China.

  44. Lyndall Beddy Lyndall Beddy 12 August 2012


    Moletsi is good on current African problems, but not so hot on the African history of the original causes.

  45. Brian B Brian B 13 August 2012

    Ask Lyndall,

    She wrote the book of original causes.

  46. Momma Cyndi Momma Cyndi 15 August 2012

    Sterling Ferguson,

    An excellent book.
    The ANCYL, however, aren’t too fond of being rational or averse to changing their tune to suit their needs (as our President surely can attest to). It was in their ‘demands’ so someone within the league can read.

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