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Address of the Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa
(SRSA), Honourable Mr FA Mbalula (MP), on the occasion of the
Black Management Forum Annual Conference, Gauteng
Province, Republic of South Africa, 18 November 2011.
Programme Director;
President of the BMF,
Board Members present here this morning;
Membership of the BMF;
Distinguished Guests;
Media Houses in our midst;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Fellow South Africans;
Ladies and Gentlemen, this Black Management Forum (BMF) Annual
Conference takes place at a time when the world is undergoing rapid
changes, in which old certainties are disappearing, new trends are
emerging, but new opportunities also present themselves to us, if we are
bold enough to seize these opportunities.
In this regard, to succeed in seizing the opportunities we have to achieve
higher levels of economic growth and ensure that such growth benefits all
of society, especially the poor.
The authentic document of the People the Freedom Charter states clearly
that the ‘people shall share in the country’s wealth.
However, it is
dispensation, while the movement and the democratic state have made
substantial progress, we have not yet achieved true economic freedom,
which should include fundamentally altering the structure of the economy
and the distribution of wealth and income in our society. In this case, the
key strategic objectives of the developmental state are the elimination of
poverty and the reduction of inequality in our society.
An evidential point is that, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey
(QLFS) Statistics July 2011; the unemployment rate in South Africa was last
reported a 25 percent in the first quarter of 2011. From 2000 until 2008,
South Africa’s Unemployment Rate averaged 26.38 percent reaching an
historical high of 31.20 percent in March 2003 and a record low of 35% in
September of 2007. The labour force is defined as the number of people
employed plus the number unemployed but seeking to work.
nonlabour force includes those who are not looking for work, those who
are institutionalized and those serving in the military, stay-at home
spouses, patients in psychiatric hospitals, kids, and etc.
In this instance, according to the survey, the number of persons in the
labour force increased by one hundred and eighty one thousand (181
000) between the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of the same
year. This clearly shows that employment remained virtually unchanged
during the same period.
Formal sector employment contracted by
twenty one thousand (21 000) jobs while informal sector employment
increased by thirty four thousand (34 000) jobs.
Both the Private
households and Agriculture remained virtually unchanged between these
two quarters under review.
The number of unemployed persons increased drastically by one hundred
and seventy four thousand (174 000) between the first quarter 2011 and
the second quarter the same year, while the number of discouraged
work-seekers decreased by sixteen thousand (16 000) in the same period.
Therefore, the unemployment rate increased by 0.7 of a percentage
point between the first quarter; which was 25.0% and the second quarter
became 25.7%.
Hence, we conclude that, the year-on-year changes indicate that there
was a net increase in the number of economically inactive persons in
South Africa which amounted to two hundred and eighty seven thousand
(287 000) or two point zero percent (2.0%). An increase of two hundred
and sixty nine thousand (269 000) in discouraged work-seekers, hundred
and seventy three thousand (173 000) of students and seventy five
thousand (75 000) of individuals who were too old or too young to work,
and a decline of hundred and thirty five thousand (135 000) in persons
with an illness or disability and sixty one thousand (61 000) in the number of
homemakers contributed to the net change.
To deal with the abovementioned challenges the ANC led government
built its approach on the assumption of a strong mixed economy, where
the state, private capital, co-operatives and other forms of social
ownership complement each other in a more integrated way, to achieve
shared economic growth.
At the same time, in this regard, we need not loose sight of the global
environment we are operating under in order to achieve our economic
goals especially our local economic realities.
Thus, the continued social and economic exclusion of millions of our
people, especially blacks in general and Africans in particular, the
majority of whom are women, reflected in high levels of poverty and
inequality, is the country’s main catastrophe. In the view of the African
National Congress (ANC) and the democratic government, these high
levels of poverty and inequality have a historical basis in apartheid
colonialism, and are driven primarily by the fact that too few people work
and that the quality of work of many black people remains poor. Key to
pushing back the frontiers of this dichotomy successfully over time is the
state’s ability to create jobs for millions of jobless black people and fight
poverty; and to further improve the working conditions of the majorities of
workers through tightening labour laws and improve the quality of
education and training, especially for poor black youth.
It in this regard, we need to revisit the colonial history of South Africa,
especially the history of the strategic sectors of the economy such as, but
not limited to, the mining and rural economies that seeks to provide the
background for why strategic sectors of our economy are not in the
hands of the majority and why are these sectors an imperative in the postapartheid South Africa to undo racially based imbalances in ownership
patterns; and even access.
Thus organizations like Black Management Forum have a huge role to
play to close that economic and financial burden. BMF should think big
especially when it comes to its role to assist the developmental state to
pushback the frontiers of poverty, underdevelopment and ignorance.
According to the developmental state of South Africa; our policies on the
transformation of the strategic sectors of our economy especially land
policy and mining, minerals and petroleum policy have always played an
important role in shaping political, economic and social progress in the
These policies promises to ensure equitable access to these
strategic sectors of the economy and promote its contribution to the
development of all communities; and to respond to injustices of the past,
based on race, gender and class. They also recognize the need for more
equitable distribution of income from these sectors to reduce poverty and
unemployment; and contribute strategically to economic growth and
economic development.
Our government introduced Black Economic Empowerment as a tool to
redress, access and equitable participation into the mainstream of the
economy. However, in recent the ANC and the government expressed
profound concern that the existing approach has led to narrow
empowerment patterns and a series of unintended consequences.
Some of the unintended consequences are the excruciating pain of
‘fronting’. Our people, blacks in particular are selling their souls by putting
their faces into big businesses they do not necessarily have ownership and
control; businesses totally owned and controlled by white monopoly
capital at the expense of the majority of our people.
To counter-act these, there is a common view within the ranks of the
democratic movement that all sector Charters should be strategically
aligned with the Department of Trade and Industry’s Scorecards and that
revisiting of the existing policies should continue with the aim to build a
productive stratum of black entrepreneurs. This should be carefully done
to answer the questions of how supply chain management and
preferential procurement can more effectively contribute towards small
and medium businesses and co-operative development.
Hence, for those of our people who remain excluded from the first
(formal) economy, live in informal settlements, depend on hand-over’s
from the state through social grants and services which are either absent
or of very poor quality due to the plethora of challenges that local
government finds itself.
It is indeed the task of progressive organizations like the BMF that can help
the state to overcome such challenges by deploying its membership to
volunteer in a number of government projects and programmes that are
aimed at pushing back the frontiers of poverty in the struggle to better the
lives of all South Africans.
South Africa is said to be in dire need of
specialists, artisans and engineers and many other scarce skills, it is the
membership of BMF who have these skills that can meet the democratic
state half-way in the quest of tailored skills transfer programmes that are
aimed at skilling South Africans, of whom the majority black, especially
women from rural areas, including people with disabilities.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a general consensus that we should
ensure a greater state involvement and control of strategic sectors of the
economy such as parastatals, mining, energy, the financial sector and
This stance is propelled by an approach that the transformation of our
economy should always holistic and comprehensive, covering all sectors
of the economy.
Indeed, political change brings no guarantee of social, economic, or
indeed political progress. Tendencies of poor economic management,
skills and capital flight can stall our country’s progress; gains of the
revolution reversed and even the foundational aspects of democracy
and constitutionalism unraveled. If these threats are not tackled head-on,
the probability of decline will increase.
Organisations like BMF with a track record of attracting black and African
intelligentsia should be seen jealous of their democratic government.
They should be seen jealously defending the gains of democracy by
soldiering-on in the quest to teach all civil servants on the benefits of the
principles of Batho Pele. BMF should be seen by communities leading
campaigns that are aimed at discouraging ‘go slows’ and ill-treatment of
our citizens, especially ill treatment of senior citizens by bad public
servants. Campaigns like our ‘elder citizens are our libraries’ should be at
the centre of reviving the value and respect of our elder citizens and their
Comrades and compatriots, it is said that throughout history many
civilizations, empires and countries have experienced dramatic decline
rather than progress due to lack of proper planning, mass unemployment,
mass youth unemployment and lack of education, super exploitation of
the workers by the capital, disregard of the government’s role in the
economy, poverty and huge inequalities; and the likes.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Freedom Charter declared that:
“Restrictions of land ownership on racial basis shall be ended, with
all land re-divided amongst those who work it to banish famine and
land hunger” (Congress of the People 1955).
The RDP also
considered land as the most basic need for rural dwellers and
access to land as central to rural development, and Government
derives its mandate for land reform from the Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa Act No. 108 of 1996.
The Freedom Charter goes further to state that:
“The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South
Africans, shall be restored to the people; the mineral wealth
beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be
transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole …” (Congress
of the People 1955).
To qualify the above assertion, the colonial and apartheid regimes used
state apparatuses to create a system of racial capitalism leading to a
dual system of agricultural economy made up of large and capitalintensive commercial estates alongside a poorly resourced subsistencebased farming sector mainly located in communal reserve areas. Harsh
land laws such as the Native Land Act No. 27 of 1913 and the
Development and Trust Act No. 18 of 1936 were enacted to facilitate
arbitrary appropriation of agricultural land held by Africans outside
reserve areas without compensation, thus pushing small-scale black
farmers to marginal lands. These twin-laws became essential tools in the
systematic land dispossession of black people, resulting in an artificial
shortage of land available to black farmer and advancing policies of
separated development.
Comrades the land reforms envisaged in the Reconstruction and
Development Programme (RDP) state that, “a national land reform
programme is the central driving force of a programme of rural
development. In this regard, the government of the Republic of South
Africa undertook to distribute thirty percent (30%) of white-owned
agricultural land to black people within the first five years of constitutional
However, after 17 years of democracy, the land reform
advancing the objectives of the RDP and the ANC. It has experienced
fundamental setbacks in terms of advancing rural development as
measured by land redistribution targets, increased rural incomes,
employment generation, and poverty reduction through enhanced rural
The programme has also not yet succeeded in its transformational
agenda of rural political and economic landscape since agrarian
economies and agricultural land ownership patterns remain largely
unchanged. Furthermore, the programme has reintroduced a perpetual
dominance of white monopoly, export-oriented large-scale agroindustrial-commercial discourse and has failed to respond to the food
security needs of the poor.
Having failed to reach the target of redistribution of thirty percent (30%) of
land by 1998, our government faced by constraints changed the date
towards 2014.
However, unintentionally this postponement also has
entailed a shift in the goal-posts in the sense that access to municipalowned land commonages, driven by municipalities, is now being
included as part of the original land reform redistribution targets, rather
than as an additional mechanism to expand land redistribution to black
This put more constraints to our democratic government and it slowly
makes our movement, the ANC, unpopular amongst its historical base;
which are poor blacks in general and Africans in particular.
However, our government under the leadership of the Department of
Land Reform and Rural Development has introduced a Green Paper on
Land Reform and Rural Development that is aimed at answering pertinent
questions on the skewed distribution of land in our country.
Hence there was greater consensus in the ANC 3rd General Council in
September 2010 on the nationalization of mines and other strategic
sectors of the economy. The NGC mandated the NEC to ensure further
work be done, including research, study tours and discussions and to
report to the Policy Conference for decision at National Conference in
Therefore organizations like BMF can not be on sidelines and keep-mum
when such issues of national importance are debated by the nation. BMF
should conduct its own research with a sole aim as to help the
developmental state to take informed decisions when it comes to these
matters of economic transformation.
This approach will undoubtedly position our people to be their own
liberators and shape their own destiny and definitely provide the state
with a space and time to occupy a central and prominent position in the
political and ideological discourse of South Africa.
It is against this reality that maybe BMF and the forces of progressive
change would like to take this opportunity to call on the masses of our
people and their intelligentsia to lobby tirelessly for the deliberate
establishment of a ‘peoples bank’. This call is informed by the resolution of
ANC NGC on the question of nationalization and the collective ownership
of the means and modes of production.
The NGC urged government to expedite the establishment of a state
mining company to consolidate all assets of the state in mining; and
suggest that the mining company should be given a mandate to consider
various forms of ownership including partnership with the private sector.
This should be coupled with ensuring an increase in beneficiation targets
from the current 10% to about 50% in the next 20 years.
The NGC unanimously made an assumption that this will require
consequential amendments to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources
Development Act in order to support the objectives of South Africa’s
mineral sector. This, in reality, calls on organizations like BMF to enter the
discourse and make meaningful inputs into the intended debates and
help society to come into grips and terms with the requirements of the
economic transformation policies.
Perhaps BMF must ask the nation and the movement is to what extent
would the debate and research about the state company integrate a
call for a ‘peoples’ or cooperative bank’ towards the struggle to break
the backbone and the grip of the white foreign monopoly capital in our
domestic economy particularly the financial sector? Is this debate and
research going to elevate success stories in the continent and elsewhere
in the world where the concept of a ‘peoples’ bank or cooperative bank’
have been explored and proven to be working?
We are convinced that this challenge will need a strong and focused
BMF; and a democratic movement that is capable, proactive, coherent
and visionary in its approach. A leadership of the working people that
recognizes and addresses problems and challenges with vigor and
diligence, but also exploits opportunities and build upon its strengths and
that of the developmental state.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion, it is true that many successful
societies that eradicated poverty, inequality, underdevelopment and
ignorance in a short space of time used a social compact of some sort,
through which those at the bottom end of the income pyramid, together
with all others, have enjoyed a steady but surely rise in living conditions.
Indeed, this kind of progress has given both labour and government,
including progressive capital the legitimacy to implement difficult socioeconomic policies which, in spite of initial difficulties, often has positive
spin-offs on the entire citizenry. Fortunately in South Africa we have such
a socio-economic pact through NEDLAC, lets use it!
Thank you.