More research needed in 'white monopoly capital' debate: Masondo

OR Tambo School of Leadership partners with University of Joburg

04 February 2020 - 08:00 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
David Masondo has called for greater empirical research to back up ANC policy decisions and educate its members.
David Masondo has called for greater empirical research to back up ANC policy decisions and educate its members.

At the height of the ANC policy conference in 2017, the political term "white monopoly capital" almost split the party down the middle.

Warring factions battled it out at the Nasrec Expo Centre on whether or not monopoly capital in the South African context had colour.

Although nine out of 11 commissions that discussed the elephant in the room at the ANC policy conference rejected colouring monopoly capital, some ANC leaders - those in the so-called "radical economic transformation" (RET) faction - continue to refer to the phenomenon as "white monopoly capital".

On Monday, the principal of the ANC OR Tambo School of Leadership, David Masondo - who is also the current deputy finance minister - said this debate was "not empirically based". 

It was on this basis that the school he leads has partnered with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to take advantage of its research capacity so that ANC members and leaders can be properly informed.

Masondo said the school had formed a "collaborative relationship" with UJ over sharing common education areas, such as the university's library, and common research projects.

"The ANC was debating white monopoly capital and some of us feel that a lot of debate [on the matter] was not empirically based. No empirical work was done to really understand the nature of the post-apartheid business in South Africa," he said.

"Can we still characterise it as 'white monopoly capital'? And what does 'monopoly' mean? We can only scientifically answer those questions by doing concrete and empirical research." 

Masondo outlined the OR Tambo School's priorities for the year. These include having all ANC national executive committee (NEC) members and the party's public representatives complete three intensive modules.

Everyone who undergoes this training, said Masondo, must score a minimum of 60% to pass.

According to the NEC resolution, only members who have completed the course at school can qualify to be elected to the NEC, the provincial executive committee (PEC) or the regional executive committee (REC) of the ANC in the future, starting at the national conference in 2022, he said.

Masondo said it is important that all ANC members and leaders understand that the party is not an employment agency.

"Some of the challenges we have in the ANC reflect what is out there in the society. Our task is that once we have these members, how do we politically educate them?" he said.

"Some people may join because they think that the ANC will give them a job. Our task therefore is to educate them that there is a bigger reason why the ANC exists. It is not for individuals to get this or that."