Tough choices stare at ANC

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AS South Africa emerges from last week’s hectic electoral period, there are several considerations that need to be given urgent attention by President Jacob Zuma’s administration especially in the context of the fulfilment of the goals of the liberation struggle.
In the first instance, is the numbers garnered by opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
While the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was confirmed as the winner of the plebiscite after garnering 61,15 percent of the total vote cast, it is the strengthening of the opposition DA that is worrisome especially in light of the view that it represents the ugly face of Apartheid, the same way the MDC-T is the face of the Rhodesian lobby in Zimbabwe.
Without doubt, the 22,2 percent scored by the DA presents inevitable challenges to the hegemonic interests of the liberation movements across the Southern Africa region.
The DA is out to preserve and restore the Apartheid old order.
But the ANC’s victory is confirmation that the region is on the right path to the fulfilment of the goals and aspirations of the liberation struggle.
It is our hope that we will see the same in the forthcoming elections in Namibia, Malawi and Mozambique.
This is what President Jacob Zuma has promised to do in his second and probably final term through his National Development Plan (NDP).
Confronted with ever increasing unemployment and poverty levels, the NDP blueprint seeks to boost South Africa’s growth to 2030 through investment.
According to City Press, the programme will seek to close the loopholes that might be exploited by former ANC youth league leader Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) whose campaigned mantra which centred on nationalisation of mines and -control of the country’s economy by the black majority earned his party 6, 3 percent.
“The National Development Plan (NDP) will take centre stage when President Jacob Zuma begins his second term as head of state later this month,” reads City Press report in part.
“After securing a 62,15 percent victory in the elections, the ANC will focus on closing the loopholes in delivery issues that might be exploited by the Economic Freedom Fighters and the soon-to-be-formed socialist party that is being championed by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA.
“There will be no major changes to government structures because the ANC feels it cannot afford any more experimentation and that ministers should just move on to implementing policies.”
There are fears though that the current growth rate of two percent is an unemployment time bomb that will catch up with the new ANC Government if it does not implement pro-poor policies like what President Robert Mugabe’s Government in Zimbabwe.
Despite receiving widespread condemnation from Western nations and their media, President Mugabe has forged ahead with initiating and implementing land reform and resettlement and the ongoing indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes.
Does President Zuma have an option, but to follow the Zimbabwe route?
On the back of this compelling question and realities confronting the incoming South African is the pressure from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for equitable distribution of land and resources to the majority and the resistance by the DA for the implementation of these programmes.
On the other hand is the need for the ruling party not to dissuade investors from coming to South Africa.
The ANC has some tough choices to make.
Already there is an attempt to sway President Zuma from advancing pro-poor policies.
“But the investor-friendly image that Zuma is trying to convey is problematic when you consider that legislation to give the state ‘free carry’ in private-sector investments in the oil and gas sector is about to be signed into law,” quipped one publication in South Africa.
“Final policy proposals on the expropriation of about half of all commercial farmland on behalf of farm workers, who would be given shares in the expropriated land, also detract from the ANC’s business-friendly credentials.
“Few of us would dispute the burning necessity for land reform.
“But infringing on property rights, and potentially harming food security, won’t reassure investors.”
Let President Zuma be reminded that these are the same charges that were laid against President Mugabe when he took over land from the white minority.
The issue of property rights or lack thereof cannot deter the upliftment of the majority because the land simply belongs to them.
That said, it is heartening to note that among the proposed items in the NDP is the emotive land question.
Some of the changes in the NDP could include:
l Merging the land and agriculture departments;
l Starting a government department for small business;
l Starting a health council to tackle lifestyle diseases;
l Merging sports and recreation with arts and culture; and,
l Merging the department of women, children and people with disabilities with that of social development.
The above presents some relief not only to the people of South Africa, but those who root for the economic emancipation of black people across the world.
It is our hope that the economic empowerment wave will soon hit the people of South Africa.
Let those with ears listen.

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