Durban – ANC Youth League (ANCYL) president Collen Maine says the league wants and needs the rand to fall so that when it rises again, the country's economy will be under their control.
“We want the rand to fall, we need those economic turntables. The rand will fall but when it rises, we will be in charge of the economy of South Africa,” he said.
Maine was addressing more than 2 000 people on Wednesday at a lecture on economic freedom at Durban’s Olive Convention Centre.
He said those who had made objections against the country’s controversial multibillion-rand nuclear programme had done so because they would not benefit, “and all of them are white”.
He challenged the youth league to compose a song titled Jacob Zuma, Economic Freedom Is In Your Hands .
“Once you get attacked by capital, it wins.
“This rand thing comrades, it is very problematic. During the local government elections, when it was said that the ANC was not doing well, the rand gained strength, but when the ANC wins somewhere else, the rand depreciates,” Maine said.
“The problem is the ANC itself, we are more afraid of the market and the rating agencies. My solution to that problem is that the ANC must get younger.”
‘We are at junk status already’
Maine said he was inspired by Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.
“As we compose the song [about you], can you please be the Putin of South Africa?” he asked President Jacob Zuma
He said people could make whatever objections they wanted to about Zuma, but to “get to Zuma, they must go through us”.
“We are asking for economic freedom in our lifetime, and we see that in you, like your friend Putin,” he said, much to Zuma’s delight.
He said he did not understand the fuss about South Africa’s credit rating being cut to junk status.
“Can’t we take some action that is anti the market in South Africa and see if people will leave the country. We are threatened [with] junk status, as far as I am concerned we are at junk status already.”
He said those who were making a noise about the economic markets were the ones that stood to lose.
“I can tell you now that they will not leave South Africa. I want actions to be taken so that the rand must fall. It must fall. We won’t be dictated to by white monopoly capital.”
‘Correcting’ finance department
He said the key pillar to economic freedom was education.
“People of South Africa are saying that [former] president [Nelson] Mandela has brought us freedom. That is how people understand it.
“Can you please, as part of your legacy, give us free education?”
He said South Africa had the money to fund free education, and added that the performance of all previous finance ministers should be analysed.
“Because when we say go and serve us, some comrades got to be captured.”
He said the solution was “correcting the Department of Finance”.
“I am not going to say remove people. That is your prerogative. I am calling for transformation of that department.”
Maine said unless the party started doing things differently “we will not be able to achieve economic freedom in our lifetime”.
ANC not a ‘bed of roses’
He said some senior ANC leaders encouraged “our economic oppressors to do certain things economically”.
Maine expressed fears that should the ANC not address the issue of the economy “we will not be in government in the next ten years, but at least you won’t be president and Nkandla won’t be an issue. The issue will be the economy.”
He said the ANC was not a “bed of roses, but a revolution. This is not All You Need is Love “, he said referring to a TV programme on romantic relationships.
He said Zuma should be allowed to lead the country and hit out at the Save South Africa campaign.
“Let’s take Save South Africa for example, who are they? All the CEO’s of these big companies and our fellow brothers, I pity them, [Save South Africa leader Sipho] Pityana, who in the cake just get the icing sugar, they don’t get to eat the entire cake.”
He said Zuma was equal to the task and “the youth might be forced to do what it did not want to do, and we will start in Cape Town, the wine farms”.
Maine warned that 2017 was not going to be easy.
“We will lead the revolution on who must lead the ANC because we want these issues to be addressed. We have seen people in the ANC, I won’t mention names, who have declared that they are standing to be elected as the next president even though the time has not come to talk about it.”