Zuma rules out 'nationalisation of business' in SA as he bids for second presidential term

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012 09:20 hrs

South African President Jacob Zuma has dismissed a push for nationalisation of the crucial mining industry to resolve the country's gaping inequalities.

He also ruled out a Zimbabwe-style takeover of swathes of the white-owned economy.

After months of violent protests on the mines and within major industries, Zuma, 70, said his government would step up the pace of economic reform but would not "break" existing businesses to do so.

"Nationalisation is not the African National Congress (ANC) policy. There are fundamental issues that need to be dealt with. It would be useful to do it quickly but we've got to balance things because we don't want to break things in order to move forward," Zuma told The Telegraph.

According to the paper, a vigorous nationalisation debate within the ANC, which gathered pace after 35 miners were shot dead at a platinum mine at Marikana, north of Johannesburg in August, has unsettled the country's business community.

The Rand has fallen in value to a three-and-a-half year low and the South African treasury has admitted difficulties with short-term funding. In the wider economy, less than half of the working age population are in the workforce, one of the lowest in the world, the paper said.

But Zuma, despite these pressures, said he would not open the door to a radical state takeover of the economy.

"What has happened is that the ANC Youth League brought up [nationalisation] and it was discussed at national conference but we rejected it. That won't happen, not necessarily under my watch but not under the ANC watch," he said.

Zuma also confirmed he was ready for a second term as president of the ANC. The party meets on December 16 to choose a new president. (ANI)

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