Call for state ownership of mines 'a front'

CALLS to nationalise South Africa's mines by factions in the ruling ANC are a front to bail out struggling black-owned companies, Communist Party boss Blade Nzimande has said.

The radical Youth League of the ruling African National Congress is pushing for mine nationalisation, but president Jacob Zuma's government insists it is not government policy.

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"The call for nationalisation is to save the black economic empowerment elements in crisis, and not to address the interests of the workers and the poor," Mr Nzimande said yesterday at a meeting of leaders affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

"Ten years from now, they will be calling for privatisation, after the state has inherited the debt," he added.

Cosatu and the Communist Party were instrumental in Mr Zuma's rise to power but have been largely unimpressed by his indecisiveness and by corruption within his administration.