ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has called on President Jacob Zuma to seize the moment and nationalise the mining industry and manufacturing sectors amid the confusion brought about by the global financial crisis.

Speaking at the launch of the youth league's National Political School and Train the Trainers workshop in Krugersdorp yesterday, Malema said Zuma should fast-track the implementation of the aspirations of the Freedom Charter of 1955, which declared that "the wealth beneath the soil, monopoly industry and banks should be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole".

Malema said: "At this moment, when the imperialist forces are accepting the failure of capitalism, we should ask whether the time has not arrived for the government to make sure that the state owns the mines and other means of production as called for in the Freedom Charter."

Malema said the youth league understood that implementation of some of the aspirations of the document would not be welcomed by all citizens.

Zuma's government is already battling criticism and perceptions that its dominance by members of Cosatu and the South African Communist Party could result in a shift to the left.

Cosatu and its affiliates have launched a campaign to force the Reserve Bank and its monetary policy committee to do away with inflation targeting.

They have also opposed the privatisation of state-owned enterprises, with the latest showdown being about the recent sale of Telkom's 15percent share in Vodacom to Vodafone for R22billion.

This week Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said the union would oppose the introduction of a private electricity supplier into the South African market, saying the government should find ways to finance Eskom's expansion programme.