Sober debate is needed

THE debate on whether South Africa should nationalise the mines is very important because it relates to how ordinary South Africans should benefit from the natural resources of the country.

THE debate on whether South Africa should nationalise the mines is very important because it relates to how ordinary South Africans should benefit from the natural resources of the country.

There are those, like ANCYL leader Julius Malema, who feel that it is not enough to say the mineral rights are owned by the government on behalf of the people if the people are not really benefitting from such an arrangement.

There are those, like SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin, who argue that maybe nationalisation is not the only solution to the current situation in which only a few blacks have benefitted from the mining industry in the name of black economic empowerment.

But we look on with dismay at how the debate around an issue of national importance is allowed to degenerate into an insult-trading exercise .

Malema has the right to raise whatever issue he feels is in the interest of the constituency he represents. But labelling Cronin a "white political Mesiah" is really sinking rock-bottom low in the realm of political discourse.

In the same breath we believe that the SACP must wash its mouth with soap when it comes to political engagement. Calling Malema a "retard" contributes nothing to the debate. Instead it diminishes the seriousness with which this important issue should be tackled.

We agree with the Young Communist League that the tendency to use derogatory labels against anyone we disagree with does nothing to enhance the level of discourse in this country.

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