BEFORE the 1994 elections it was widely reported in the Western media that then ANC president Nelson Mandela was putting a damper on nationalisation.
The announcement was received with approval in Western capitals, the citadels of capitalism.
The issue of nationalisation has resurfaced less than two decades into democracy.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe dithered when the issue was first mooted, then made an about-turn and said nationalisation was open for debate.
Post-apartheid South Africa needed nationalisation from its inception in order to protect the working class and destitute people from depending on welfare, theft, prostitution or whatever means available to survive.
Essential enterprises and provision of services such as water, telecommunications, energy, printing, the issuing of money, education, mines and land should be under public control.
According to African culture, land is an indivisible collective property.
We grow our food on land, our oceans, rivers, our airspace, and mines are all on land and are our sources of life.
If we don't nationalise ownership of them and leave them under private ownership, coming from the worst exploitative economic system, politically repressive regime and socially reprehensible environment, there's no way we can equitably redistribute wealth and power in order to redress the socioeconomic imbalances in our country.
The powers that be shouldn't play Russian roulette with the wretched of this country by carrying out nationalisation along the lines of BEE to benefit certain powerful and well-connected individuals and families.
Just like BEE it will engender resentment and opposition.
Let me sound the warning of one of Africa's greatest thinkers, who said that selfish group interests - whether partisan, ethnic or social, masked by a facade of pseudo nationalism. are catastrophic.
There are those quislings and Western sidekicks who are opposed to nationalisation on the flimsiest of grounds.
Might we remind them that February last year the British government announced that the mortgage lender, Northern Rock Bank, would be taken into temporary public ownership after being hit by the US sub-prime crisis.
To achieve this end, British chancellor of the exchequer Allistair Darling put forward emergency legislation in parliament to nationalise Northern Rock Bank.
Darling said the measure announced by the British government to nationalise Northern Rock Bank was in line with European Union state rules and was done to offer value for taxpayers' money.
By nationalising certain industries South Africa wouldn't be mimicking Britain or any other country but she would be responding to our national imperatives.
The writer is a media commentator and independent researcher