NEWS

ANC And DA? Same (Ideological) WhatsApp Group, Says Malema

EFF leader Julius Malema told parliamentarians he expected the DA to oppose the idea because the DA defended white privilege.

07/11/2017 21:50 SAST | Updated 07/11/2017 21:50 SAST
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema reacts as South Africa's President Jacob Zuma answers questions in parliament in Cape Town August 6, 2015.

The ANC and DA are "ideologically in the same WhatsApp group," EFF leader Julius Malema said after both parties shot down the EFF's motion to nationalise banks without compensation.

Most opposition parties didn't agree with the EFF's plan to nationalise banks, citing the current state of state-owned enterprises, such as SAA and Eskom, as examples of why it would be a bad idea.

Concluding Tuesday's debate, Malema said the EFF agreed that, at the moment, their policy would be disastrous. However, he added that they bring such issues to the National Assembly to expose the ANC's hypocrisy.

He said they expected the DA to oppose the idea because the DA defended white privilege.

"You have joined them!" he said to the ANC.

Speaking just before him, ANC MP Joan Fubbs said it might seem odd that the ANC and DA agreed. She said the EFF's policy was misguided, but that the "DA's input reflects its neoliberal roots".

Fubbs said the nationalisation of banks would negatively impact the poor, a theme in many of the speeches opposing the proposal.

Fubbs criticised the banking sector for its secrecy, not only in South Africa but also globally, and said the sector should be strictly regulated.

'It is not just a bad idea'

Introducing the debate, Malema said the EFF was fully aware that financial services was the biggest sector in the South African economy, employing 250 000 people and contributing 17.2% of the country's GDP.

"Banks control and run the lives of so many people," Malema said.

He said no bank in South Africa has meaningful ownership by black people.

According to the EFF's proposal, the state should have 51% of every bank, while the remaining 49% should be divided among other investors, with no single investor owning more than 10%.

He said this would ensure that banks were democratised to serve the interests of people and prevent it from being captured.

"We want to make sure we share the resources of our country," he said.

He used post-World War II Britain as an example where the model worked.

DA MP David Maynier said the idea of nationalising banks was hardly original and that it seemed the EFF attended had the "Hugo Chavez school of economics".

"It is not just a bad idea, it is a mad idea that will crush the hopes of the 9.4 million jobless people," said Maynier.

According to Maynier, the banking sector was one where employment was growing.

When his DA colleague Alf Lees repeated "it is not just a bad idea, but a mad idea", EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi objected to being called mad by a white man.

Lees then said, in Xhosa, that he would use polish to blacken his face. The comment enraged the EFF and Lees withdrew his remark.