New South African Socialist Party to Push for Nationalization

A new South African political party, whose backers include workers who waged a series of strikes on mines last year, will push for the nationalization of mines, factories and banks, a party official said.

The Workers and Socialist Party, founded yesterday in the capital, Pretoria, hopes to hold a conference to elect a national leadership by the end of this year, spokesman Mamatlwe Sebei said.

“We are going to be contesting elections,” he said by phone from Johannesburg today. “We are going to be putting forward a socialist program to say that the working class is entirely capable of taking the economy under public ownership,” Sebei said.

South Africa is due to hold elections next year. The African National Congress has led the country since taking power in all-race elections in 1994, and currently controls almost two-thirds of the seats in Parliament.

The new party’s backers include the Democratic Socialist Movement and the National Workers Committee, which were involved in organizing platinum workers to strike in the Rustenburg area, northwest of Johannesburg last year. About 50 people died in strike-related violence, according to the Chamber of Mines, an industry body.

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