‘Give us economic freedom or else…’

Malema claimed last week’s march outdid the EFF’s 60km protest from Johannesburg to Pretoria four years ago‚ and “should be in the records of history to be celebrated by many generations to come”. Image by: Cornell Tukiri
Malema claimed last week’s march outdid the EFF’s 60km protest from Johannesburg to Pretoria four years ago‚ and “should be in the records of history to be celebrated by many generations to come”.
Image by: Cornell Tukiri

On Tuesday, South Africa witnessed the Economic Freedom March, a protest by 50 000 young economic freedom fighters, whether members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) or not.

The people are growing conscious of the consistent message we have preached: that political power without economic power is meaningless and South Africa should move from the Nelson Mandela era of reconciliation towards economic justice.

This calls for an end to the economic apartheid politically administered by the ANC.

Our 2015 march is a game-changer in South Africa’s politics and defines the beginning of an altered relationship between capitalists and politics under the leadership of the EFF.

For the first time, a political movement and the masses of our people whose aim is economic power are demanding that capitalists make concrete commitments to the development and upliftment of all South Africans, the majority of whom were oppressed and exploited to the benefit of the same capitalists.

The post-1994 ruling elite and all political parties have walked on eggshells around big business. Our people remain in poverty and there are no signs that the poverty, inequality and unemployment that define the majority of South Africans will be defeated, because the ANC leadership lacks the creativity, courage and commitment required to bring about real socioeconomic change.

The march’s demands to the Reserve Bank were simple: we need it to be fully state owned, and regulations to private banks should include making house repossessions illegal after a certain period of payment.

Banks cannot be allowed to go around evicting people from houses even after these people have paid for the real cost of their homes.

The Reserve Bank should also instruct private banks to stop bank charges on recipients of social grants and all those who earn less than R4 500.

To the Chamber of Mines, the demands are that mines should play a meaningful role in the development and upliftment of their workers and the communities where mining takes place.

The chamber played a racist and repressive role in the development of South Africa, and was an instrument that anchored the racist legislation of successive colonial and apartheid governments.

The chamber should reverse and redress the massive devastation caused towards people and communities. All mine workers should be paid a minimum wage of R12 500 and retrenchments should come to an end.

To the JSE, which in real terms is almost exclusively controlled and owned by white males, we called for all listed companies to move towards worker ownership and control, a necessary socialist characteristic that would address the narrow black economic empowerment (BEE) approach taken by the ANC since 1994.

BEE, even so-called broad-based BEE, will never empower the people in all the impoverished areas of South Africa.

Worker ownership and control of key businesses, particularly chain stores, will also address the question of worker productivity, which capitalists complain about.

For the economic-emancipation movement, the free education campaign is not opportunistic. Provision of free quality education for all is essential for the realisation of economic freedom.

Resources generated in South Africa, and a responsible government, will bring about free quality education for all, and the chamber, the banks and all listed companies must play a central role.

If we want to occupy it, we will do so and no one can stop us. Businesses should not wait for when we shut down all businesses opposed to progressive change.

Thus far, the movement is still under our political, ideological and organisational guidance, but if businesses do not come to the party, the thousands of people of Alexandra will just cross the road to go and fetch what belongs to them in Sandton.

The masses of our people want economic change and the sooner we all realise this reality, the better. Only economic freedom will reignite hope in a democratic society.

Julius Malema is EFF president

Courtesy of News 24



  1. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    I LOVE this sentence – and surely must my in-law too as we are both Socialists!

    “.. the economic apartheid politically administered by the ANC”.(lol)

    This Malena guy has all the phrases!

    The tiny weeny little problem is that it is NOW the Black Elite (former Socialiast Revolutionaries) that are the GREEDY PIGS (Animal Farm) ROBBING & ENSLAVING Da People.

  2. Yeah…He speaks for the masses…These fat bellied pseudo-socialists couldn’t wait for.the “old guard” to.depart the scene before they plunder their country’s resources and steal from the hardworking workers….

    They are all multi-millionaires and the new oppressors of the masses…Molemo has been a thorn in their flesh because he exposes their corruption and greed…

    Like I always say to my compatriots, change of personalities does not always mean meaningful changes…Meaningful changes have to be worked for and earned..That means scrutinising those who aspire to lead and get into government.

    A change of direction from the causes of the problems is a MUST, but only those who understand the causes of the problems, think for themselves and have no time for the RED CARPET TREATMENT (humble servants) can lead us towards that direction…

    Unfortunately, Africa has yet to produce that type of leadership…All we’ve got so far are copyists, imitators, conformists and worst of all, life presidents (99.99% vote winning presidents) and brutal, blood thirsty dictators…And not many new aspirants offer anything different..

    We just got a lenthy document of.policy outlines pledging, amongst many, the pursuit of a FREE MARKET ECONOMY”…

    “FREE.MARKET….!!!” You got to be kidding me…There is no free market…David Cameron is off to get EU leaders to restrict Chinese steel imports…Russian and Iranian competition is killed by economic sanctions…states, like.Japan, massively subsidise their farmers to stifle competition..

    “FREE MARKET”…..Please, let’s think of something else…FREE MARKET has got us nowhere for bloody half a century and we still mill around those who promise “FREE MARKET ECONONY”..

    We are a joke…

  3. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    Bax, Bax, Bax, too Socialist for REALISM. Right, let us close the FREE MARKET of our great British, Chinese and American friends.

    Will you Africans ride Donkeys? You make no cars.
    Will you Africans go back to the Bongo Drum? You make no iphones.
    Will you go back to walking around naked with grass leaves? You don’t even make clothes of your own!
    Will you be prepared to live with no electricity?
    No books?
    No computers,
    No tooth brush even!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you look around Africa everything is FOREIGN – including the fake light skins of our women and that beautiful horse-hair on my darling’s head!!

    Bax, what exactly do we Africans produce for ourselves? Even most of the rice we eat we get from India.

    Man I am out of here, it is all too depressing to be a Pan-Africanist. I am heading for a Bleaching Salon and I shall call myself Sir David Hall henceforth.

  4. Well, My-in law…

    We could start off by forming a CONTINENTAL ASSOCIATION OF DONKEY DRIVERS..

    And put Lafia at the head of The Gambia branch…

    Max would have been a good candidate but he is too impulsive to be trusted…

    Bax will be hopeless for the job.. Scared to death of donkeys…

    DH is not suitable..He must be one of them…He has a few millions in the pocket..

    As for yourself, well, you have just become a “Sir”…Not one.of us anymore…(Hahahaha)

    On a serious note, whether you are just poking fun or not, the views you expressed above are commonly held by many and they stem from misconceptions, misunderstandings and perhaps, genuine Ignorance..

    The first of these is the conflation of (genuine) “TRADE” with “FREE MARKET”. These two are not the same..

    Scientific advancement, which gave us cars, electricity, etc, is NOT the result of (the concept of) “FREE MARKET” and so, we will not be going back a thousand years if we adopt a different approach…


  5. As a matter of fact, history has recorded that Africans have traded in their own products for centuries, and have done so on their own terms…

    According to research, at the time of independence in the 50’s, 60’s and the 70’s, not only was the continent sufficient in food production, average food exports per year between 1966 and 1970, amounted to 1.3 million tons..

    Today, almost every single country on the continent is a net importer.of food (and.other basic commodities) and as a whole, we import between 25- 30% of our food requirements, thanks to “FREE MARKET”…

    The emergence and consolidation of the “FREE MARKET” economic concept, has not only killed off trade on our own terms, but has also destroyed our ability to produce even our most basic needs…

    Decades of deliberate, sustained and subtle destruction of our production abilities and capacity, has reduced us to dependency on almost everything.. And this is no “CONSPIRACY THEORY “..

    Of course, we cannot absolve poor governance, conflict and wars (which are by products of economic hardship of the people ) as part of the problems that we face, but even the most democratic governments in the continent are grappling with the effects of the “FREE MARKET” economic concept and practice…

    The outcome of the agricultural crisis in the continent is not accidental but deliberate, due to the imposition of policies that starve the sector of resources and finance..

    At the Uruguay Round Table negotiations in or around 1986, then US Agriculture Secretary, John Block, is reported to have made the following statement:-

    “the idea that developing countries should feed themselves is an anachronism from a bygone era. They could better ensure their food security by relying on U.S. agricultural products, which are available, in most cases at lower cost.” ( Quoted in “Cakes and Caviar: the Dunkel Draft and Third World Agriculture,” Ecologist, Vol. 23, No. 6 (Nov-Dec 1993), p. 220)..


  6. The “FREE MARKET” concept is supposed to be guided by the twin principles of FAIR TRADE and UNRESTRICTED (OPEN) MARKETS, but this is only true in the case of developing countries, especially in Africa.

    Massive subsidies and various tariffs by advanced ecobomies, close off any genuine competition between products in the so called “FREE MARKET”, especially from developing countries…

    Often, access to lucrative markets (unless you produce minerals) is granted through “concessions”, but these come at political costs of one sort or the other..

    (For example) From $367 billion in 1995, the first year of the WTO, the total amount of agricultural subsidies provided by developed country governments rose to $388 billion in 2004. Subsidies now account for about 40% of the value of agricultural production in the European Union (EU) and 25% in the United States.

    So.whilst we are told that we must not subsidise our agricultural products (for example) because, supposedly, that distorts the market, the developed economies are increasing subsidies to gain unfair advantages in the market..

    Even worse is the fact that sometimes, even when it is clear that the removal of these subsidies can lead to hunger, our economic experts from the IMF/World Bank still insist on their removal…

    The case of Malawi is a good example..

    (According to Walden Bello, a senior analyst at Focus on the Global South, a program of Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute, and a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org)

    “In 1998 and 1999, the government initiated a program to give each smallholder family a “starter pack” of free fertilizers and seeds. This followed several years of successful experimentation in which the packs were provided only to the poorest families. The result was a national surplus of corn. What came after, however, is a story that will be enshrined as a classic case study in a future book on the 10 greatest blunders of neoliberal economics.

    The World Bank and other aid donors forced the drastic scaling down and eventual scrapping of the program, arguing that the subsidy distorted trade. Without the free packs, food output plummeted. In the meantime, the IMF insisted that the government sell off a large portion of its strategic grain reserves to enable the food reserve agency to settle its commercial debts. The government complied. When the crisis in food production turned into a famine in 2001-2002, there were hardly any reserves left to rush to the countryside. About 1,500 people perished. The IMF, however, was unrepentant; in fact, it suspended its disbursements on an adjustment program with the government on the grounds that “the parastatal sector will continue to pose risks to the successful implementation of the 2002/03 budget. Government interventions in the food and other agricultural markets…crowd out more productive spending.”

    When an even worse food crisis developed in 2005, the government finally had enough of the Bank and IMF’s institutionalized stupidity. A new president reintroduced the fertilizer subsidy program, enabling two million households to buy fertilizer at a third of the retail price and seeds at a discount. The results: bumper harvests for two years in a row, a surplus of one million tons of maize, and the country transformed into a supplier of corn to other countries in Southern Africa.”


  7. Luntango Suun Gann Gi

    Great piece my in-law, my provocation always works!

    That bit about “free fertiliser” leading to surplus food production in Malawi is interesting because Gambia’s former Agricultural Minister Yankuba Touray once told Gambian farmers that they would not get free fertiliser from the government!

    Free seeds and fertiliser to poor farmers is absolutely crucial to raise food production.

  8. The Malawi experience (for.example), has clearly shown that Africans do not lack the capacity to produce enough to feed ourselves and export to others…The problem we face, is the subtle institutionalised destruction of our economies and ability to be productive, which has secondary ramifications like conflict and destabilisation…

    Scientific knowledge, on the other hand, which makes inventions possible, is not the exclusive property of any nation..We are not making cars, aeroplanes, generators,etc because we are not pursuing the right type of education and/or training and not investing in research and development..If we do, we will reap the benefits within a few generations..

    We can again point to concrete examples to proof this point, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, is one such example..

    Iran has made considerable advances in science and technology through education and training, despite crippling and excruciatingly painful international sanctions and asset freezes, in almost all aspects of research and development, during the past 30 years.

    Iran’s scientific progress is reported to be the fastest in the world…It has made great strides in different sectors, including aerospace, nuclear science, medical development, as well as, stem cell and cloning research…

    Today, despite years of concerted and co-ordinated efforts to stifle that country’s research and development in nuclear science, the West (including the US ) have grudgingly come to terms and acknowledged the fact that Iran is now a Nuclear Power, albeit, a Peaceful one.

    To conclude, I will proclaim that Africa has the resources, the manpower and the potential to surpass what Iran achieved in 30years, if we have the right leadership..

    This is no fantasy, nor is it devoid of realism..It is REALITY..

    Unfortunately, “FREE MARKET” adherents and desciples are NOT the answer and can never achieve meaningful changes for the continent, no matter their popularity with the electorates…

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