Why economic freedom call is still relevant
ECONOMIC Freedom in Our Lifetime was the clarion call made by the ANCYL in June 2011. The 24th National Congress resolved to fight tirelessly for the realisation of economic freedom in our lifetime, particularly nationalisation of mines, expropriation of land without compensation and provision of free quality education.
The ANC made many sacrifices and concessions during the transition period leading to the 1994 democratic elections. The concessions and sacrifices were made to consolidate political power and freedom.
The Freedom Charter remains the vision and strategic objective of the ANC in achieving radical economic transformation which is no different from the clarion call made by the ANCYL at Gallagher Estate in June 2011, that under the democratic government, the mineral wealth beneath the soil, monopoly industries and banks shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole.
This Freedom Charter was re-affirmed at all ANC conferences, including the 2007 52nd National Conference in Polokwane, whose view on economic transformation took as its starting point, the Freedom Charter`s clarion call that the people shall share in the country`s wealth.
As we commemorate and celebrate Youth Month, we should hasten to revisit the resolutions of the 24th National Conference which gave impetus to the radical economic transformation.
Part of the inputs of economic freedom in our lifetime were premised on:
a. Increasing the budget of the state for social development – health, education, rural development, fight against crime and job creation.
b. Laying a very firm basis for minerals to be locally beneficiated and industrialised.
c. Changing the economy from over-dependence and reliance on exports of natural resources and imports of finished goods and services.
d. Creating new economic centres of development outside of Joburg, Durban and Cape Town.
e. Improving the working conditions and salaries of mineworkers.
Government revenue that is generated from taxes will not be able to build better lives for all South Africans. Government cannot solely rely on taxes to deliver better services to the majority of our people. South Africa will not be able to deal with the housing backlog, free education access, better healthcare, safety and security, employment of particularly youth if we are not in control of the key and strategic sectors of the economy. The wealth of South Africa should benefit all who live in it.
The economic plight of the youth is a cause for great concern. If anything, it is a call to action.
Recent stats show unemployment is standing at 27.7% and that unemployment among the youth stands at 54%.
There’s an even bigger tragedy which has been termed NEET; Not Employed, in Education or Training.
These and millions of other unemployed young people in town and the countryside, are going through the most dehumanising, difficult and painful time of their lives.
Millions of youth go through formal education and hundreds of thousands reach an abyss as soon as they pass or even fail matric. Without a skill, with poor and inadequate education and with no work experience, they are forced to look for jobs in an environment hostile to unskilled and inexperienced people, that is rigid in terms of age and prone to massive retrenchments.
Frankly, to be young in Africa today means being vulnerable to the hostile labour market that treats the working class in general, but the youth in particular, with disdain and hatred.
Practically, a young person faces a mountain of structural obstacles when seeking a job. If these obstacles are not removed, he stands no chance of ever finding a job.
Many young people, therefore, are rendered unemployable. Formal education chases them off at some point and closes the doors behind them; and tertiary education is just inaccessible either because of its rigid entry requirements or excessive fees.
Without any fear of contradiction, the truth is that the greatest yearning for the youth of our country today is for economic participation – for the opportunity to contribute to economic growth and development and to benefit from such growth and development, hence the clarion call “economic freedom in our lifetime” made in June 2011 is still relevant.
As the youth we are saying, Nothing for us, without us.
As the youth we are saying; Nothing for us without us!
ANCYL NEC member and co-founder of NGO: YOUTH UNITE, writing in her personal capacity.
JOBLESS: With youth unemployment at about 54%, the writer says this group must be involved and benefit from radical economic transformation initiatives.