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JOBURG - The crowd swelled to around 30 000 as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members joined what the party dubbed a “Long walk to economic freedom march” in the Johannesburg city centre and all the way to Sandton to seek the creation of nationalisation of reserve bank and development of the poor communities on 27 October.
The march, which started at Mary Fitzgerald Square at 10am on 27 September, was led by the commander-in-chief Julius Malema; his deputy, Floyd Shivambu; chairperson Dali Mpofu and secretary general Godrich Gardee. It was directed at South African Reserve Bank, Chamber of Mines and Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton. Their first stop was at Reserve Bank where they handed a memorandum of demands to the deputy governor, Kuben Naidoo.
Among their demands were that Reserve Bank was recipient of the Economic Freedom Mass Action because its monetary policies and strategies continue to stand in the way of massive industrialisation and job creation. Malema said, “The continued inflation targeting and high interest rates incentivise and push money into speculative financial sectors, as a result companies and corporations are not investing in productive sectors which have the potential to create millions of jobs.”
Reading the memorandum, Gardee said, “Reserve Bank therefore carries an uncontested obligation and is in a unique position to fast track the process of industrialisation and job creation through coherent and sound monetary policy to undo the injustice of the past that it continues to perpetuate even to this day. We present the demands to the South African Reserve Bank, which receives it on behalf of all the banks and financial institutions that falls under the regulations of the Reserve Bank.”
The secretary general stated that they demand a greater state intervention, ownership and control of the Reserve Bank given its strategic role in the economy. “Private shareholders of the reserve bank should all concede their shares to the state without compensation,” Gardee said.
He also said the reserve bank must facilitate the establishment of a state bank, which will have direct relationship with the reserve bank and be used to finance rural development and industrialisation, mortgage and vehicle finance and financing of small and medium enterprises and businesses. He also said the bank must instruct private banks to offer free banking services to all workers who earn less than R4 500 per month.
When they arrived at the chamber of mines, they demanded that South Africans, young and old, poor and economically marginalised to have access to decent housing, quality free healthcare services and education, quality drinking water, access to participate in the economy, food on the table, decent wage and sustainable employment.
The party also demanded urgent and fast tracked active participation of the Chamber of Mines to start a process of transfer of wealth to the rightful owners, people as a whole to achieve the objectives of the Freedom Charter. They also demanded the nationalisation of South Africa’s Mines.
“The State should own and control a minimum of 60 percent of mines without compensation, minimum wage of R12 500, better salaries and wages for all mineworkers, and provision of full employment for workers currently employed as contract workers. The party also wanted an immediate end and moratorium of retrenchments of workers in all mining companies,” the party demanded.
The march entered Sandton at around 4pm as the party made its way to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Updates to follow.
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