Drop the big words and educate and make our people happy

THERE are two sides to the debate around the nationalisation of mines in our country today.

The one side is represented by Joel Netshitenzhe, a longtime loyal member of the ANC, who is often described as a Thabo Mbeki man. On the other side are the Malemas of this world, whom our media has somewhat united to vilify in recent times.

Now, Netshitenzhe is a bright man. But what he is cleverly saying on this issue is quite disturbing to me. First he seeks to undermine the validity of the Freedom Charter.

The Sunday Times recently quoted him as saying that, "It is ahistorical to quote texts from some half-century ago as evidence of an immutable policy stance, without an appreciation of the obvious changing context."

Big words that somehow thoroughly undermine the one document that underpins our lauded Constitution and this democracy that is currently working against the poor in this country.

I would like to say to Netshitenzhe that the only changing context in this country is that black people have been getting poorer every decade since the ANC took political power.

This, I must emphasise, makes the Freedom Charter not some "texts from some half-century ago" but an even more relevant document for guidance today.

Secondly, Netshitenzhe says companies taken over in a nationalisation process could be overrun by a lack of skills and corruption because, "state-owned companies lend themselves to corruption and they have high", and here he makes up a word, "lootability". So in a nutshell, and as far as he is concerned we should throw away the Freedom Charter and understand that blacks are unskilled and corrupt and leave mining to our whites.

I'm sorry, Netshitenzhe, but it is precisely this illogical thinking that is moving the ANC further and further away from what it really needs to do today, which is to free our people from the shackles of poverty.

And then you have Malema, who has said the ANC Youth League stands for "economic freedom in our lifetime", a Malema who argued in front of a parliamentary committee recently for a "lasting solution in an economy that has failed to empower the majority of our people", and added that the "nationalisation of mines will lead to greater local beneficiation, industrialisation, growth of the economy and jobs for the majority of our people".

To be frank, I don't care whether we nationalise the mines or not. I just want our people fed, educated and happy to enjoy what is currently a barren freedom.

I am sick and tired of big words that seek to undermine my sense of self-worth.