ANC is 106 years old, and acting like it - Floyd Shivambu

EFF Chief Whip also says SA should try and emulate Singapore's sovereign wealth fund (19 Feb 2018)

Address by EFF Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu in the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, Monday, 19 February 2018

Mr N F SHIVAMBU: Chairperson, I am sure you would agree with me, commander in chief of the Economic Freedom Movement, that we have spent a gruesome long day listening to uninspiring - like last Friday – and mostly flat speeches and repetitions by members of the ruling party. The majority of the ANC speakers here said nothing new and did not articulate anything different in terms of what is going to be done differently. The majority of them were campaigning for Cabinet posts, President. [Interjections.] And all of them spectacularly failed. Maybe one could have succeeded.

I guess that the uninspiring speeches and repetitions of the ANC are somehow reflective of the organisation itself - a post centenarian organisation – a post 100 year’s organisation - which has got signs of people who are above the age of 100. What are the features of people who are above the age of 100? They have got vision loss; they have got hearing problems; they have got cognitive impairments; they are forgetful. [Laughter.] [Interjections.] That is what characterises the ANC now. So the 106 years is not something worth celebrating; it is something that you must decry about. Why do you insist on clinging to power when you are characterised by all signs of centenarians who are unable to provide direction to society.

We want to take this opportunity to congratulate the newly elected President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, on filling a vacancy in the Office of the President that had existed for the past four years, because the fact of the matter is that we did not have a President in South Africa. We had an imposter, a trickster, who had handed over political power to a criminal syndicate. It is only now that you are saying that we must have a President who must be monitored according to the commitments that he makes.

But he did not make any commitments. He did not say what is to be done. He did not tell us what the way forward is. That is why members of the ruling party come here and put words in his mouth and say that the plan we are questioning whether it exists or not is the National Development Plan.

The President never spoke about the National Development Plan. [Interjections.] Some even say that he spoke about the developmental state. He never spoke about a developmental state. Also, it would be crazy to think that what the ANC is doing now is a developmental state. Just basic features of what a developmental state is to be is that it must be relatively autonomous from capitalist influences and interests.

The fact of the matter is that the South African state is not independent from capitalist influences. It cannot direct the direction of capital in terms of where investments are directed. So, you must never speak about developmental states when you do not know because, clearly, there is no plan. There are conferences that are proposed, summits; commissions. There’s no clarity in terms of what you are dealing with.

But you are inheriting a crisis-ridden state which is in debt of more than R2,3 trillion, with exposure of state-owned companies that have got guarantees of government. The debt that is guaranteed by the state in Eskom is R350 billion. In SA National Roads Agency, Sanral, it is R38,9 billion. In SA Airways it is R19,1 billion. In Denel it is R1,8 billion. In the Road Accident Fund it is R8,5 billion. These are the features that you are inheriting.

The Gupta criminal syndicate has shifted billions of rand out of South Africa; it is a fact. The SA Revenue Service, Sars, is failing to collect revenue in a manner which is expected - a shortfall of R50 billion, as was announced here. The National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, is dysfunctional; it works according to who is in political office. They only make arrests now that Jacob Zuma is no more. So this means that this NPA has got eyes - it looks at who is the political principal.

What assurance do we have that it is not going to do the same thing? If you commit a crime, if the people around you commit a crime, if your children commit a crime, what assurance do we have that the NPA is going to fold its arms and not do anything about the high state of crime here in South Africa?

The fact of the matter is that the many Ministries that exist and the Ministers that are still in Cabinet have closed their Pretoria head offices and are working from Saxonwold. I do not know that what is going to happen because the head office in Saxonwold is closed because Ajay and Atul Gupta are on the run.

The Ministry of Finance is given direction from Saxonwold. The Ministry of Mineral Resources is directed from Saxonwold. The Ministry of Public Service and Administration is directed from Saxonwold. The Ministry of Communications is directed from Saxonwold. The Ministry of Energy is directed from Saxonwold. Their interests are the ones that thrive over what has to happen. Why are we still having these Ministers as Ministers? They should have been gone as soon as yesterday.

The Ministry of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs is directed from Saxonwold. They even wanted to expose state-owned municipalities ... companies ... as debt guarantees so that municipalities could indebt themselves further as part of the proposals of the Gupta criminal syndicate.

That is what we are sitting with now. It is not an insignificant crisis that we have been dealing with. We therefore stand here to call for a definite termination of any relationship with South Africa’s resources of the following Ministers: Minister Van Rooyen must go; Zwane must go; Muthambi must fall; Nomvula Mokonyane must fall; Lynne Brown must fall; Ben Martins must fall; Bathabile Dlamini must fall; Joe Maswanganyi must fall; Bongo - I don’t know his name - must fall; Mahlobo must fall. [Interjections.] All these Ministers have got some form of direct or indirect relationship with the Gupta criminal syndicate. We must not tiptoe around their interests with the Guptas.

You said that we must send you, President. I do not know whether we should send you, because the people of South Africa sent you to preside over the Constitutional Assembly in the early 1990s and you brought back a Constitution that is celebrated over the world. But that Constitution just gave us political power. You did not heed the cautions of Kwame Nkrumah and Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere who said that political power without economic power was meaningless. You just gave us the right to vote, and all indications are there that we are not in charge of our economy.

The fact that there are 17 million social grants in South Africa, with 11 million recipients of those grants, is not cause for celebration. It is a reflection of the fact that we have got deep-rooted poverty that has been reproduced since 1994. White people are still in control of and own our economy. The bottom 50% of the population are not affected significantly by economic activities that happen on the JSE, in huge corporations, by this growth that you speak about every day. There is not even any impact on the lives of the bottom 50%. So, it means that for the 24 years of the so-called democracy, we have neglected a critical component of our population. It is only now when you are introducing minimum wages - and still you are going to exclude a significant number of our people.

The commander in chief is correct that you did not come out with clear ideas in terms of what is to be done. Maybe we must take this opportunity to give you a few pieces of advice. We do that. We specialise in that ... as a government in waiting.

In terms of the issues that you must focus on: number one, you must establish a sovereign wealth fund. You would know that in the founding manifesto of the EFF, in the pillar that speaks about the development of the African economy, we call for the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund. I know the majority of ANC members will not know and will not understand what a sovereign wealth fund is, and we understand why they don’t understand.

Now, we are going to quickly take you through that. A sovereign wealth fund must be like an investment holding company like Temasek in Singapore. Temasek has a net value $275 billion - that is trillions of rand - in a country which has a population of about 5 million. There are no mineral resources in Singapore. There are no strategic assets that South Africa has in Singapore. But the wisdom of the people of Singapore has created a holding company, a sovereign wealth fund, that is earning them money, a lot of resources and nontax contributions from all over the world through dividends.

In South Africa it is long overdue that we should establish a sovereign wealth fund. It can be modelled in the form of the China Investment Corporation - it is called CIC - in the context of what it is. The Chinese government copied what Temasek did and established the China Investment Corporation in 2007. It is worth more than R8 trillion currently. It contributes currently to the country’s national revenue fund - meaningful contribution.

Why is it that South Africa cannot establish a sovereign wealth fund that is going to earn money for the people of South Africa all over the world through strategic investments? There is enough expertise found in the PIC and in the emerging black asset managers that can be redirected to the sovereign wealth fund in terms of how we move.

The second component that you must deal with is establish a state-owned assets supervision and administration commission, similar to the “Sassac”(?) organisation that exists for the oversight of China’s state-owned companies. The important component of China’s state companies is that of the top 500 companies in the world, China has more 100 state-owned companies there – in the global 500 – that go all over the world to earn the Chinese government a lot of resources, invest in their development and take it forward.

But, also, when you reform state-owned companies, we should discontinue the phenomenon that single Ministries are in charge of the whole state-owned company. You cannot have the Department of Public Enterprises as a single shareholder of Eskom. There should be other role-players – DBSA, IDC, PIC – so that accountability mechanisms are handled better at that level.

The third proposal that we want you to look into ... because you never told us what is to be done ... is to deal now clearly with tax avoidance. We have been crying about this for the longest time. Sars has the necessary technical capability to deal with tax avoidance. Legislate clearly on what we do with the billions of rand that are being lost to creative accounting practices of almost all the multinational companies that exist in South Africa.

You must pass legislation on tax avoidance, illicit financial flows, base erosion and profit shifting, so that we are able to deal with that. This is because in the current framework of revenue collection, you have got a permanent short blanket of air(?) ... [Inaudible.] ... revenue. You cannot cover everything.

I would tell you now for free that if you were to deal decisively with all South Africa’s developmental challenges, you would need, possibly, need ten times the budget South Africa has currently. In order to eradicate informal settlements, provide fee-free education for all, provide proper quality roads for all and absorb the millions of unemployed, you need 10 times the size of the budget.

What do we do to deal with nontax and tax revenue collection streams so that we are able to balance that? One of the most important things that you have to deal with in the immediate future is to expand the quantitative and qualitative post-secondary and training space, because there are one million children in university and Tvet colleges, but there are two million learners that are eligible to access the system who are outside.

The space cannot absorb everyone. You do not need to focus narrowly on the building of new universities. You have demonstrated that you do not have the capacity to do that. Expand the existing universities. Give an instruction to UCT, to Wits University to the University of KwaZulu-Natal that from now one there must be annual intake increases of not less than 20% of students. That is the only way that you will be able to quantitatively expand the space and give meaning to all of these issues.

The last issue that we are going to deal with is that we are not happy with your close relationship, President, with white monopoly capital. [Interjections.] They seem to be very comfortable with you. If white monopoly capital is comfortable with you that means something is wrong. You cannot be friends with white monopoly capital. So there must not be celebrations of the Ruperts, or of the Brian Joffe, or Stephen Koseff, of all those capitalists that your election into office of President means that they are going to continue to loot.

Lastly, we want to only send you to one place. Please go to Marikana. You do not need a court order to pay compensation at Marikana. [Applause.] [Interjections.] Why should you be ordered by a court as government to compensate the widows of families that were killed callously, in an embarrassing and in an unjustifiable way by the ANC government in 2012? Let us intervene in Marikana as soon as possible. Let’s give the people of Marikana houses. Let’s give the people of Marikana proper quality water. Let us give the widows’ lives hope that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. Thank you very much. [Time expired.] [Applause.]

Source: Unrevised Transcript, Hansard.