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Vol 52 No 17

Published 26th August 2011

South Africa

Suddenly, the nationalisation talk gets serious

The President and his business friends will have to make concessions to the growing calls for more state ownership

Nationalisation of the country’s mines, banks and land is under serious consideration by the governing African National Congress and not only because of the populist calls for it from Julius Malema, leader of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). ANC members are increasingly looking to public ownership as a remedy for economic ills and support for it goes well beyond Malema’s political base. Characteristically, President Jacob Zuma keeps quiet about what he thinks, while his business baron friends are against it. While Zuma quietly reassures them that they have nothing to fear, he will not oppose the trend publicly because he needs the party’s left-wingers on board for his campaign for a second presidential term. The result is the sense of a policy vacuum at the centre.

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