Radical Economic Transformation: Another Bourgeois Swindle-

Vol 23 No 1

Category: ,

Following his State of the Nation Address, President Zuma declared 2017 the year of radical economic transformation. Mr. Zuma, speaking with a forked tongue, proclaimed that a key aim is to change the structure and patterns of ownership of the economy in favour of all South Africans, particularly the poor (State of the Nation Address (SONA 2017)). In a class divided society, if transformation is for all South Africans and the poor, then whose class interests will radical economic transformation ultimately serve? One of its key pillars, in order to fast track land reform, is the expropriation of land without compensation. This caused quite a buzz amongst mainstream bourgeois media talking heads. Charlatans like the Black Land First, proponents of a hollow black nationalism, peddled this as a radical move by President Zuma.

On closer examination it becomes abundantly clear that radical economic transformation is nothing but a bourgeois swindle advanced by the petty bourgeois leadership of the ANC tied to the apron strings of the capitalists, shackling the entire oppressed masses to capitalism and imperialism. Politically it is just another sedative in the arsenal of the petty bourgeois to dull the revolutionary ferment of the landless peasantry and working class.

Land expropriation without compensation has been a central demand of the landless and working class during post apartheid South Africa. With only 8 million of 82 million hectares transferred to black people since 1994 and, amidst the unremitting agrarian crisis experienced by rural labour and the landless peasantry in the countryside, expropriation of land without compensation should be a welcoming reprieve to these toiling masses. In this SONA Mr. Zuma nailed his colours to the mast emphatically stating, amongst other things, that the government will implement the commercialisation of black smallholder farmers. This is nothing else but the de-racialising of the agrarian economy by fast tracking the establishment of a black capitalist farming class that will continue the super exploitation of agricultural workers. This encapsulates the mirage of radical economic transformation: a state laid bridge for the black petty bourgeois to loot and accumulate.

Tied to a clear political programme land expropriation without compensation is an important demand, as the APDUSA programme elucidates, whose logical conclusion is: A resolution of the land question in accordance with the needs of those who work (workers) and live off the land (peasants). This means the destruction of all existing tribal and feudal relations in the rural areas and the nationalisation of the land, without compensation. A new division of the land and its management, which excludes forced collectivisation, the payment of rent and the expropriation of small peasant farmers, must be undertaken by committees that are democratically elected by and answerable to the people.

The conquest of power by the working class allied by the landless peasantry to build socialist democracy, engulfing the entire Southern Africa, is the only real step towards radical economic transformation.