South Africa’s radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will nationalize all mines by 2023 if elected this year, the party said in its election manifesto launched on Saturday. The party is using an anti-corruption, jobs creation and state control of the economy platform to challenge the governing African National Congress (ANC) in the election expected in May.
“The EFF government will nationalize all mines and mineral wealth in South Africa by the year 2023. It will allocate key shares in South Africa’s mineral and petroleum resources to the Sovereign Wealth Fund,” the party said in the manifesto, adding that a state mining company would be established. Since its formation in 2013, the EFF, which draws much of its support from the rural poor, has called for the nationalization of mines, banks and other strategic sectors of the economy as well as expropriation of land without compensation.
While parliament has opened the way to a change of the constitution to allow land to be expropriated without compensation, a final decision is not expected until after the election. “We cannot postpone the land question, we cannot postpone the jobs question, it must happen now,” EFF leader Julius Malema told supporters, many dressed in red and carrying placards, at the manifesto launch in Pretoria. Land is a hot-button issue in South Africa where racial inequality remains entrenched more than two decades after the end of apartheid when millions among the black majority were dispossessed of their land by a white minority.