Malema's South African dream: The wish list for economic freedom
If you thought the six million job opportunities contained in the ANC manifesto sounded far-fetched, it has nothing on the 32-page shopping list of the Economic Freedom Fighters. The EFF manifesto even makes Numsa’s Irvin Jim sound tame by comparison. It’s socialist transformation on steroids and it’s coming to a mine, bank, farm and even an e-toll gantry near you, once the EFF takes power. Behold the wonderful, meaningful world of Malema. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.
In the message preceding the EFF’s elections manifesto, the Commander in Chief Julius Malema writes: “The EFF Election Manifesto, unlike others, does not present promises; it offers commitments that will be implemented… Our programme is socialist. As a Marxist-Leninist Fanonian organisation, we believe that it is only through a socialist transformation programme that we will end the suffering of our people.”
The devil, and populist genius, is in the detail. Here are some “highlights” of what South Africa would be like under President Malema.
Under an EFF government, the lowest paid workers will all get a bump up in their earning and a national minimum wage of R4,500 will be introduced. At the manifesto launch in Tembisa on Saturday, the crowd cheered gleefully as Malema read out the proposed payment schedule:
Mineworkers: R12,500 per month
Farm workers: R5,000 per month
Manufacturing workers: R6,500
Retail Workers (Cashiers and Retail Store Assistants): R5,000
Petrol Attendants: R5,000
Domestic Workers: R4,500
Private Security Guards: R7,500
Full time Waiters and Waitresses: R4,500
According to the manifesto, the EFF government will abolish all contract work and labour brokers, meaning that the Cosatu unions will finally get what the ANC will not grant them. “We will regulate retrenchments by compelling companies to continue paying workers’ salaries for six months post retrenchment.”
So the envisaged EFF government will not only be labour-friendly, it in fact usurps the role of trade unions as it delivers more than what workers ask for. If you’re cleaning toilets or pumping fuel all day, does this party not appeal to you?
With regard to water and electricity, the EFF is promising that electricity costs 50% less than the current costs by 2019 through subsidising industrial and household usage. All homes will have 200 units of free electricity. All communities will have access to “quality sustainable water” and the EFF plans to build dams and “huge water projects” which will sustainably supply South Africa.
On Black Economic Empowerment, the EFF will “limit and ultimately curb the recurrent enrichment of few individuals who have benefited from empowerment charters” and will abolish incentives that pay white companies for complying with affirmative action.
To ensure quality social transformation, the EFF government will impose an “education tax” on all corporations to fund education and training of all South Africans. They will expand existing universities and FET colleges and build new ones. “The EFF government will ensure that the number of first year students accepted in institutions of higher learning increases by 100% in the period 2014 to 2019.” It will also cancel all student debt.
With regards to healthcare, the EFF government will build a state pharmaceutical company to produce medicines and distribute them to hospitals and clinics. It will also build a state-owned healthcare equipment company to build healthcare equipment and “produce essential generic medicines without regard to Intellectual Property Rights regimes”. Traditional healers will be incorporated into the healthcare system.
Like everything else, the property market is in for a shake-up under an EFF government. In order to provide “quality, spacious houses” to all South Africans, the EFF government will subsidise housing finance for middle income earners, and pass laws which will lead to reduction of 20 to 30 years housing loans to a maximum of 10 years. “The EFF will make it illegal for banks to repossess houses from people who have paid 50% of the bonds, and are unable to continue paying the bond due to socio-economic circumstances.”
Regarding safety and security, an EFF government will completely ban live ammunition during protests.
On youth development, an EFF government will pass legislations that will ensure that all government departments and public institutions employ a minimum of 40% of their workforce from people between the ages of 18 and 35, while all private corporations must employ a minimum of 35% of people of this age group.
With regard to transport, e-tolls would be abolished and the gantries physically removed from the roads. An EFF government will subsidise the taxi industry with the intention of reducing taxi fares and improving salaries and working conditions of taxi drivers.
Nothing like happy taxi drivers to make South Africa a better place. The EFF government will apparently tar all access roads to all townships and villages in the country.
When it comes to social grants, the elderly and disabled will be happier than the taxi drivers. Social grants will be increased as follows:
Grant for older persons: Increase from R1,300 to R2,600 per month.
Disability grant: Increase from R1,200 to R2,400 per month.
War veterans grant: Increase from R1,220 to R2,440 per month.
Care dependency grant: Increase from to R1,200 to R2,400 per month.
Foster child grant: Increase from R800 to R1,600 per month.
Child support grant: Increase from R300 to R600 per month.
The EFF government will also introduce a social grant of R2,500 per month for all terminally ill South Africans. If you’re sick, it doesn’t mean you can’t vote.
Rural development, land and agrarian reform will be a mainstay of the EFF government and therefore its “custodianship of all land will lead into equal redistribution of all land amongst all people”.
On corruption, an EFF government will establish “state administration courts” to promptly respond to incidents of corruption and maladministration. The aim would be to fire and blacklist corrupt state employees and private companies, and recover money lost to corruption. There will also be a minimum sentence of 20 years for all public representatives and servants convicted of corruption.
President Malema’s government will be a highly responsive one. It will ensure that memoranda for all protests in all communities reach the presidency within 48 hours of the protest happening, and responses given to protesters within seven days. However, with such a happy, well-serviced populace, protests are sure to be few and far between.
There will be an increase in the salaries of all public servants by a minimum of 50% in the period 2014 to 2019, particularly teachers, nurses, police, warders and all government employees.
While public servants will be thrilled, members of Cabinet will be less fortunate in the land of milk and Malema. “Under [an] EFF government, public representatives with salaries, ministers, MECs and councillors should use their own cars and stay in their own houses, paid for by the salaries they are given by the state.”
So, you might be dying to ask, how will all these fanciful promises be funded? Among other things, land expropriation without compensation, nationalisation of mines and private banks and the creation of a state-owned bank.
It will increase taxes from private corporations and companies to run a R2 trillion budget by 2017 (the current budget is R1 trillion). It will cut the budget for the presidency by 60%, closing the official residences in Durban and Cape Town, and guaranteeing security only in one official residence. The EFF government will also remove all presidential spousal support (sorry for you, any future Mrs Malema).
This is a South Africa never before envisaged. And there you were thinking that that the dream for economic freedom was just about the nationalisation of mines and expropriation of land without compensation. No, this is what the rejection of those demands in the ANC created. And now there is a growing and captive support base, which believes these promises are possible.
Good luck to future presidents who deliver anything less. DM
Photo by Greg Nicolson.