South Africa: Another Political Eviction in Sisonke Village

By Abahlali BaseMjondolo, Pambazuka News

Armed ANC members acting with police support now openly attack people struggling against corruption and for land in Cato Crest. They are even hiring assassins

On Sunday 28 September 2014 the ANC Ward 74 councillor Nolubabalo Mthembu called an ANC meeting to discuss ways of replacing the Land Invasion Unit with an ANC demolition team. This meeting took place at the Lamontville Community hall in the afternoon at around 1pm. The Task Team Committee was launched to carry out the illegal eviction of the nearby Sisonke settlement. Sisonke Village, formerly known as Madlala Village, made headlines early this year when they approached the Constitutional Court after they had been subjected to more than 24 illegal evictions.

The Constitutional court found that the Eviction Order obtained by the Member of the Executive Council, Ravi Pillay, was invalid as it was made in breach of the Constitution. The court also found that the eThekwini Municipality [one of the 11 districts of KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, covering the City of Durban and surrounding towns] had lied to the Court and referred the matter back to Durban High Court. We are still waiting for the High Court to make a ruling on the matter. It is clear that replacing the Land Invasions Unit with ANC members is a tactic to avoid legal accountability for evictions. We saw a similar strategy at the Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Crest on Friday 26 September when ANC members began demolishing shacks. They also attacked one of our members with a spade.

In 2009 repression by the police was replaced with repression by armed ANC members acting with police support. Last year Willies Mchunu openly called for ANC members to act directly against people struggling against corruption and for land in Cato Crest. Since last year izinkabi (assassins) have also been used to repress us. Continue reading

India: Revolutionary Students Challenge the Heroism of Nelson Mandela

Democratic Student Union, Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityDecember 14, 2013

Nelson Mandela: A Hero for the oppressors, A BETRAYER FOR THE OPPRESSED!

The mournings & praises from the imperialists and their agents, are Mandela’s “legacy” of brokering one of the biggest sell outs of the 20th century!

Ever since the death of Nelson Mandela on the 6th of December, the most flowery tributes have been showered on him by a wide spectrum of the ruling classes all over the world. While the face of US imperialism Barak Obama “led the world” in paying tribute to “his personal hero”, the speeches his lieutenants in Britian, much of Europe, and across the world reverberated the same. The mass murderer president of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakshe who oversaw the genocide of the people of Tamil Ealam also had tears to shed for Mandela. The Indian state also gargled the same and declared a four day long state mourning. The same waves also reached our campus. From ABVP to the parliamentary pseudo-left AISA or SFI and their likes, several organizations vied with each other in presenting their laurels to their “hero”. This spectrum is certainly striking, and may even confuse a few as to the real “legacy” of Mandela. However in reality, it is precisely this unanimity of imperialists and their agents that is most revealing. Mandela’s so called legacy is built upon on an illusion, the seeds of which were laid by Mandela himself. It is extremely important that we break this collective iconization and the illusion of Mandela’s legacy. Continue reading

How the Marikana Movement Stunned Neoliberal South Africa

The day after the Marikana massacre, wives and mothers of the victims gathered in rage

[By all accounts and assessments, the Marikana mine massacre has marked a major turning point in the ANC-led “post-apartheid” South Africa.  But what sort of turn is being made?  A radical commentator and analyst, Patrick Bond, delves into this in some depth, and comments:  “this is potentially the breakthrough event that independent progressives have sought, so as to unveil the intrinsic anti-social tendencies associated with the ANC-Alliance’s elite transition from revolutionaries to willing partners of some of the world’s most wicked corporations……..What is definitive, though, is the waning of any remaining illusions that the forces of ‘liberation’ led by the ANC will take South Africa to genuine freedom and a new society.”  The following article, though long, is well worth exploring. — Frontlines ed.]


by PATRICK BOND, in Counterpunch

How long can the amazing upsurge of class struggle in South Africa go on? Living here 22 years, I’ve never witnessed such a period of vibrant, explosive, but uncoordinated worker militancy. The latest news from the labour front is that 12 000 workers were fired on October 12 by Angloplats for a wildcat strike (it is likely most will be rehired in coming days if an above-inflation wage settlement is reached), and thousands of others are threatened by the mining houses. Jacob Zuma’s government is panicking about lost elite legitimacy, calling on October 17 for a pay freeze for top private sector, parastatal and state management to make a token gesture at addressing unemployment.

As the African National Congress (ANC), Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and SA Communist Party (SACP) continuously fail to put a lid on the boiling labour pot, no one can offer sure predictions. To try, nevertheless, to assess the durability of this surge of working class revulsion, now two months after the August 16 Marikana Massacre of 34 wildcat-striking platinum mineworkers (plus 78 wounded), requires sifting through the various ideological biases that have surfaced in the commentariat, as well as first considering precedents. How much can the balance of forces be shifted if the ruling elite overplay their hand – and what organizational forms are needed to prevent divide-and-conquer of the forces gathering from below?

Metaphors for Marikana from the bad old days

We must be wary of drawing a comparison to the South African state’s last mineworker massacre, in 1922 when Johannesburg’s white goldminers rebelled against the increasing use of competing black labour (to the sound of the Communist Party of South Africa’s notorious slogan, ‘Workers of the World Unite for a White South Africa!’). They were resoundingly defeated and then coopted, a fate that Marikana workers and 100 000 others who went wildcat in recent weeks have so far avoided. Those workers are now moving by the tens of thousands from Cosatu affiliates to upstart – albeit economistic, wages-oriented and openly apolitical – unions like the Association of Mining and Construction Union (AMCU), predictably labeled by tired ANC Alliance hacks as the new ‘counter-revolutionaries’.

The aftermaths of more recent political massacres may have more to teach us. After March 21, 1960 at Sharpeville, where 69 were shot dead for burning the apartheid regime’s racist passbooks an hour’s drive south of Johannesburg, there was an immediate downswing in mass-resistance politics, followed by a hapless turn to armed struggle and the shift of resources and personnel to ineffectual exile-based liberation movements. It was not until 1973 that mass-based organizing resumed, starting in the Durban dockyards with resurgent trade unionism.

The next big apartheid massacre was in June 1976 when in Soweto as many as 1000 school children were murdered by the police and army for resisting the teaching of Afrikaans and taking to the streets. In the 1980s and early 1990s, there were periodic massacres by men who apparently fused ethnic interests of migrant workers (mainly from KwaZulu) to the Inkatha Freedom Party and the regime’s ‘Third Force’ provocateurs. But that era’s most comparable event to Marikana was the Bisho Massacre in which 28 were shot dead by a Bantustan army at the conclusion of a march in the Eastern Cape’s Ciskei homeland.

In 1960, the effect of the killings was first desperation and then more than a decade of quiescence. In 1976, the Soweto uprising put South Africa on the world solidarity map and along with liberation movement victories in Mozambique, Angola and then Zimbabwe, kickstarted other communities, workers, women and youth into the action-packed 1980s. In 1992, the revulsion from what happened at Bisho followed by Chris Hani’s assassination in April 1993 were the catalysts to finally set the April 1994 date for the first one-person one-vote election. Is there a historical analogy to pursue

In other words, if today’s struggle is against what might be termed class apartheid, then is the disparate resistance signified by Marikana similar to the early 1960s and hence will there be much more repression before a coherent opposition emerges? Or will the contagion of protest from this and thousands of other micro-protests across the country start to coagulate, as in the 1976-94 period, into a network similar to the United Democratic Front (implying an inevitable split in the ANC-Cosatu-SACP Alliance, led by genuine communists and progressive post-nationalist workers), and then the formation of Worker’s Party to challenge ANC electoral dominance?

Or, might something happen quite suddenly to rearrange power relations, as in 1992, and as we saw in Egypt in the wake of independent labour organizing against state-corporate-trade union arrangements in the years prior to the massive Tahrir Square mobilizations in early 2011? ‘Tunisia Day’ for South Africa could come in 2020, according to high-profile commentator Moeletsi Mbeki (younger brother of the former president). But if the strike wave continues to build and if capital insists the state put its foot down on the workers, aided by sweetheart unions, as the Cosatu-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is now known, things may come to a head sooner. On October 17, Zuma’s remarks about the need to ‘get back to work’ had an ominous sound, and the next day the Marikana workers went on another wildcat strike because the police moved in to the platinum mine once again, arresting a few central leaders. Continue reading

South Africa: Class Struggle, State Repression, and the tarnished myth of “the people’s” ANC

The Marikana Massacre and The South African State’s Low Intensity War Against The People
by Vishwas Satgar, Defending Popular Democracy

On Thursday, August 16, police officers fired into the crowd with automatic weapons. When it was over, 34 miners lay dead. Here, police check the bodies of dead mineworkers.

The massacre of the Marikana/Lonmin workers has inserted itself within South Africa’s national consciousness, not so much through the analysis, commentary and reporting in its wake.  Instead, it has been the power of the visual images of police armed with awesome fire power gunning down these workers, together with images of bodies lying defeated and lifeless, that has aroused a national outcry and wave of condemnation. These images  have also engendered international protest actions outside South African embassies. In themselves these images communicate a politics about ‘official state power’. It is bereft of moral concern, de-humanised, brutal and at odds with international human rights standards; in these ways it is no different from  apartheid era  state sponsored violence and technologies of oppressive rule.  Moreover, the images of police officers walking through the Marikana/Lonmin killing field, with a sense of professional accomplishment in its aftermath, starkly portrays a scary reality: the triumph of  South Africa’s state in its brutal conquest of its enemies, its citizens.

At the same time, the pain and suffering of the gunned down workers has became the pain of a nation and the world; this has happened even without the ANC government declaring we must not apportion blame but mourn the dead. In a world steeped in possessive individualism and greed, the brutal Marikana/Lonmin massacre reminds us of a universal connection; our common humanity.  However, while this modern human connection and sense of empathy is important, it is also superficial.  This is brought home by a simple truth: the pain of the Marikana/Lonmin workers is only our pain in their martyrdom. They had to perish for all of us to realise how deep social injustice has become inscribed in the everyday lives of post-apartheid South Africa’s workers and the poor. The low wage, super exploitation model of South African mining, socially engineered during apartheid, is alive and well, and thriving. It is condoned by the post-apartheid state. This is the tragic irony of what we have become as the much vaunted ‘Rainbow nation’. Continue reading

The Marikana Mine Worker’s Massacre – a Massive Escalation in the War on the Poor

by Ayanda Kota, in the Thinking Africa: Frantz Fanon blog

8 August 2012

It’s now two days after the brutal, heartless and merciless cold blood bath of 45 Marikana mine workers by the South African Police Services. This was a massacre!  South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. The amount of poverty is excessive. In every township there are shacks with no sanitation and electricity. Unemployment is hovering around 40%. Economic inequality is matched with political inequality. Everywhere activists are facing serious repression from the police and from local party structures.

Mining has been central to the history of repression in South Africa. Mining made Sandton to be Sandton and the Bantustans of the Eastern Cape to be the desolate places that they still are. Mining in South Africa also made the elites in England rich by exploiting workers in South Africa. You cannot understand why the rural Eastern Cape is poor without understanding why Sandton and the City of London are rich.

Mining has been in the news in South Africa recently. Malema, a corrupt and authoritarian demagogue who represents a faction of the BEE elite, has been demanding nationalisation. Progressive forces inside and outside of the alliance oppose Malema because he represents the most predatory faction of the elite and is looking for a massive bail out for his friends who own unprofitable mines. What we stand for is the socialisation, under workers’ control, of the mines. We also stand for reparations for the hundred years of exploitation.
Things are starting to change but not for the better. Khulubuse Zuma, the president’s nephew and Zondwa Mandela, the former president’s grandchild, and many others with close family ties to politicians have become mining tycoons overnight. China has joined the bandwagon as well, plundering our resources.
Frans Baleni, the General of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) earns R105 000 a month. NUM has become a route into high office in government and even to places on the boards of the mining companies. The union is rapidly losing all credibility on the mines. It is clear that it is now co-opted into the system and is part of the structures of control. It is the police that take NUM to address the workers. Baleni’s betrayal of the workers has made him a very rich man – a rich man who condemns and tries to suppress the struggles of the poor. It is no surprise that workers are rejecting NUM, trying to build an alternative union or acting on their own without any union representing them. The workers are right to chase the NUM leaders away from their strikes.
The Marikana Mine is the richest platinum mine in the world and yet its workers live in shacks. Most of the slain workers are rock drillers, the most difficult and dangerous work in the mine. They do the most dangerous work in the mine and yet they earn only R4 000 a month. Through the blood and sweat in the mines they do not only produce wealth that is alienated from them, they also produce the fat cats, which wine and dine on naked bodies and call that sushi.
South Africa’s Lonmin Marikana mine clashes killed 34 and at least 78 people were injured!

Published on Aug 17, 2012 by antonis20032002
Uploaded by Antonis Ashiotis: Continue reading

Local community and class struggles in South Africa pose challenges to revolutionaries

Protest and Repression in South Africa

from Counterpunch by PATRICK BOND, July 17, 2012

Durban, South Africa.

The recent surge of unconnected community protests across South Africa confirms the country’s profound social, economic and environmental contradictions. But if activists fall before a new hail of police bullets, or if they lack an overarching political strategy, won’t their demonstrations simply pop up and quickly fall back down again – deserving the curse-words ‘popcorn protests’ – as they run out of steam, or worse, get channelled by opportunists into a new round of xenophobic attacks?

It’s been a hot winter, and we’re just halfway through July (the Centre for Civil Society’s Social Protest Observatory keeps tabs: Consider evidence from just the past two weeks, for example, in Johannesburg’s distant Orange Farm township south of Soweto, where residents rose up against city councillors and national electricity officials because of the unaffordable $250 installation charged for hated prepayment (i.e. self-disconnection) meters, not to mention a 130% increase in electricity prices since 2008.

Nearby, in Boksburg’s Holomisa shack settlement, 50 activists were arrested after blocking roads with burning tyres. Likewise, in the port city of East London’s Egoli township, house allocation controversies led to a brief uprising, and down the coast, high-profile Port Elizabeth road barricade protests again broke out over failing services in Walmer township.

Near the Botswana border close to Northwest Province’s Morokweng village, a dozen residents angry about inadequate state services were arrested for arson, public violence and malicious damage to school property, following months of frustrated non-violent protest; while in the provincial capital of Mahikeng, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate began an investigation into a death on July 4: “The deceased was allegedly shot and run over by a police vehicle during a service delivery protest in the area.” Continue reading

“A Place in the City” — Documentary on South Africa’s Shack Dwellers Movement

on Jun 14, 2010

More than a decade after apartheid ended millions of South Africans still live in basic home-made shacks. We hear from the inhabitants as they eloquently argue their case for real citizenship rights.

The shack dwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, began in 2005. Their slogan is ‘Talk to us, not about us.’ ‘It’s not that people like to live in shacks. No one will ever want to live in these conditions but they need to be close to their work’ explains S’bu Zikode, Abahlali’s elected leader. However, the group has not been welcomed by the ANC. They’ve been met with aggression rather than with negotiations. Police shot Mariet Kikine with six rubber bullets at a peaceful demonstration. ‘I’m not stopping to fight the government for my rights. Now they’ve made me brave.’ In the build-up to the 2010 soccer World Cup, Durban shack dwellers fear they will be bulldozed out of the city, or arrested. ‘This new legislation makes it a crime to build shacks or resist demolition and eviction.’ But the shack dwellers are determined not to give up.

ANC accused of airbrushing allies and rivals out of anti-apartheid struggle

South Africa’s ruling party said to be rewriting the past to give itself the starring role as it celebrates its centenary

in Johannesburg, Saturday 31 December 2011

History may be written by the victors, but who gets top billing? South Africa‘s ruling African National Congress, one of the most famous political movements in history, has been accused of “airbrushing people out” of the liberation past as it prepares to celebrate its centenary.

The ANC, the oldest liberation movement in Africa, turns 100 years old next Sunday, the cue for year-long commemorations costing 100m rand (£7.8m).

While no one questions the central role of Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders in winning freedom from racial apartheid in 1994, rival political organisations and various commentators say the anniversary will be manipulated to sideline the contributions of others.

“The ANC are rewriting history,” said Allister Sparks, a veteran journalist and analyst and the co-author of Tutu: The Authorised Portrait. “They’re airbrushing people out. I don’t know of a street named after Desmond Tutu, and he was effectively the leader [of the anti-apartheid movement] for 15 years. I’m not trying to belittle the ANC, but they didn’t do it all.” Continue reading

South Africa: “Where is the Freedom Charter?”

Frontlines ed.:  This heartfelt question from the streets of South Africa, on the disappearance of the Freedom Charter–a central organizing and motivating set of concepts of the historic anti-apartheid struggle–brings to mind this poem by Langston Hughes, written six decades ago in 1951: 


By Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.
      Or does it explode?

The Shackdwellers Movement in the Western Cape continues the struggle

Where is the Freedom Charter?
Lindela S. Figlan

Before the government can use its muscle to pass the Protection of Information
Bill, let me ask a question. It is a very good question and all those who are
unhappy have got this question in their mind. Where is the Freedom Charter?

I remember that when I was still young, the comrades used to make me understand
it line by line. We were expecting our government to implement what is in the
Freedom Charter. But is this society the free society that we were fighting
for? If the answer is yes then why are the people that we are referring to as
our leaders deciding to ignore the Freedom Charter? Continue reading

South Africa: Lack of housing, electricity and water fuels protests in Khayelitsha, Capetown

West Cape News, November 21, 2010

Lack of services remain the  core of ongoing Khayelitsha protests


Violent protests in Khayelitsha spread to Lansdowne Road yesterday forcing authorities to close a major thoroughfare, declaring it a no-go zone.

Four Golden Arrow buses, a government car carrying matric exam answers, private cars and trucks are among vehicles set ablaze over the last two weeks.  Last weekend a bus transporting children to a camp was also stoned, slightly injuring two children, and a pre-school was badly vandalized because the owner would not let residents hold a community meeting there. The streets in and around the TR Section Bongani informal are strewn with rubbish, rocks and burnt debris.

While the protests may have been sparked by shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo’s call for a month of service delivery protests over October, TR Section continues to burn.

As to who’s responsible, fingers seem to be pointed in all directions but it appears that while there are indications of political opportunism, the 2 500 residents of the informal settlement are genuinely frustrated over years of what they perceive as broken promises, and they have had enough.

Following the burning of three vehicles in TR Section on Tuesday November 11, ABM Western Cape chairperson Mzonke Poni released a statement blaming the ANC Youth League.  Poni said the ANCYL represented the “interests of the predatory elite within the ANC” and were aattempting to “hi-jack the legitimate struggles of the poor in Cape Town in an attempt to win back power from the DA”. Continue reading

South African Shackdwellers Movement won’t back ANC in election

Cape Times, November 08, 2010

THE ANC’s chances of retaking the City of Cape Town at next year’s local government elections have taken a knock after Abahlali baseMjondolo rebuffed ANC Youth League overtures.

The shack people’s movement has been behind service protests in Khayelitsha, but insists its members have not acted violently but disruptively.  The movement’s Western Cape leader, Mzonki Poni, said that after the eruption of protests in September he was approached by the league’s Loyiso Nkohla, who called for the City of Cape Town to be made “ungovernable” in the wake of the Makhaza open toilet scandal.

“We’ve been approached by the youth league, but we refused to work with them. They’re pushing a different agenda to ours,” Poni said. For the ANC to retake Cape Town from the DA it would need majority support in Khayelitsha, the city’s largest township with close to 750 000 residents.

But the movement has vowed it would boycott and disrupt next year’s local government elections, saying political parties, particularly the ANC, viewed shack dwellers as voting cattle.

ANC’s South Africa is like Obama’s USA in some ways

Black Agenda Report, October 19, 2010

One should not overstretch the similarities between Black South Africa and Black America. But both communities have been in denial about their nominal leaders. “After all these years of believing that labor – Black labor – was on the inside of power in South Africa, the unionists of COSATU are forced to a different realization.” The same realization looms for African Americans.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“All we have done is to change the skin color of the driver.”

In the words of Zwelinzima Vavi, the president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU, “All we have done is to change the skin color of the driver, but in terms of economic policy the direction remains the same as the one the apartheid regime was traveling, which was inspired by Margaret Thatcher.”

Thatcher was, of course, the right-wing British Prime Minister who had a political love affair with U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Their policies, with minor alternations, remain in place in the United States and Britain, today.  And, according to union leader Zwelinzima Vavi, the same is true in South Africa, despite 16 years of nominal Black rule.

On the face of it, COSATU is in a much better position to influence South African government policy than unions in the United States. The struggle to overthrow apartheid was led by a triumvirate of the ANC – the African National Congress – COSATU and the South African Communist Party. With the Left comprising two legs of the stool, and the ruling ANC Party enjoying overwhelming majorities, one would think that the Left would be in an unchallenged position to transform South African society. Yet, again quoting trade union leader Vavi, “This road we have travelled has not only reproduced but deepened inequalities and unemployment…. Various measures indicate that income inequality has widened.”

In the United States, income inequalities have been widening for the past 30 years. Republicans have held national power for 20 of those 30 years, but unions exercised virtually no strategic influence in the eight years of Democrat Bill Clinton’s reign, when corporate free trade became law and Wall Street was liberated from the rule of law through deregulation. President Obama did not lift a finger for labor’s number one priority: a bill that would have made it easier to replenish depleted union ranks. Instead, he bailed out Wall Street to the tune of $12 to 14 trillion. Continue reading

South Africa: The Historic Compromise that brought the ANC to power 20 years ago

Botha and Mandela, 1991. As we approach the 20th anniversary of the peace deal which ended apartheid, the initial exuberance has given way to deep, critical review of the political and financial power arrangements made--and the results

[This article, from the Nepali Maoist press, examines the historic compromise which brought the ANC to power in the post-apartheid period—looking for lessons which may have relevance to the present situation in Nepal.  It traces how the African National Congress built a post-apartheid system which is still dominated by imperialism and is characterized by extremes of wealth and poverty.-ed.]

This article is from Maoist Information Bulletin from Nepal.  Published by UCPN(Maoist), International Bureau, Vol. 04, No. 13.

Two Decades After Mandela’s Release: 20 Years of Freedom in South Africa?

The world watched elatedly 20 years ago as Nelson Mandela was finally freed from 27 years in South African jails in February 1990, so hated was the apartheid regime and all the injustice it stood for.  Mandela, as one of the world’s longest-held political prisoners has become a sort of living legend.

Apartheid’s jails regorged with thousands of political prisoners from the decades of struggle against apartheid representing different organizations and different perspectives.  Many fighters, leaders and soldiers died in detainment or were hanged in police stations, thrown out of upper-story windows and never saw a wigged white apartheid judge go through the motions of a trial.  Treason was a common charge.  And the masses of South African people had made enormous and heroic sacrifices during the struggle and periods of upsurge over the previous decades.  Although Mandela’s enemies secretly began negotiations with him in 1988, it was never a secret that their releasing political leaders and unbanning opposition groups in 1990 was a calculated step in the dismantling of apartheid and reorganisation of political rule in South Africa.

At the end of the 1980′s the apartheid system of enforced racial segregation and oppression in which the black majority (including people of Indian and mixed race origin) was legally forbidden the most elementary rights was rotting at the seams under the combined weight of major social, political and economic crisis.

It was a revolutionary situation, which the white settler regime fully realized as it could no longer contain the political upsurge that had been shaking the country in waves since 1976 and reached a peak in the mid-1980′s.  Despite police invasion of the townships where most blacks lived, these became bases to stage different forms of struggle.  Youth, students and workers, including foreign migrant workers, organized mass boycotts, stay-aways (from school, businesses and work}, strikes, fighting with the police and then funeral marches after people were gunned down.  In the rural areas too, where most Africans were forced to live in phony ethnic-based reserves, people rioted against the despised bantustan authorities and their vigilante squads, fought for better land and resisted forced removals as part of apartheid’s territorial consolidation. Continue reading

Confederation of South African Trade Unions criticizes ANC economic program

[Since the ending of South African apartheid and the election of President Nelson Mandela in 1994,  the leading “Tripartite Alliance” (ANC, African National Congress/COSATU, Confederation of South African Trade Unions, and SACP, the South African Communist Party) has been formally united but actually far from united.  It has become known to represent the interests of the bourgeois (both nationalist and comprador), revisionist quasi-Marxists, and radical trade-unionists.  The deals which were made in the early 90’s with international capital, at the expense of the apartheid movement’s promises for economic democratisation and nationalisation, have created an ever-widening gap between the very rich and the very poor.  Rampant privatisation of national resources has become commonplace, and unemployment is now in the millions.  The working class, in both private and public sectors, has been squeezed to the breaking point, as the recent national strike has demonstrated.

Rumors are rampant that the Tripartite Alliance is now at the breaking point.  The following  proposal by COSATU may indicate the terms they are demanding today–protectionist trade and monetary policy, and hints of nationalization.  The article says that such measures will not be accepted by the ANC.  If so, when will the other shoe drop–and what form will it take?  How will the working class, and the landless and jobless, respond?  And how will those who carry the revolutionary spirit of the people of Azania meet the challenge?–ed.]

Business Day (Johannesburg), 15 September 2010

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) yesterday proposed a radical overhaul of SA’s monetary and financial policy, calling for controls over commercial bank loans and capping gold exports to increase national reserves.

Cosatu says in an economic strategy paper that it also wants a state bank to have “control and ownership” over the balance sheets of the Reserve Bank, so that it can direct economic policies.

Cosatu will present a range of interventions it says will boost job creation and economic growth, as well as redistribute both income and power, at the African National Congress (ANC) national general council next week. Continue reading

South African Public Workers Strike: Class Struggle Challenges Ruling Alliance

State blindly follows a recipe for disaster

The strike by public service workers, supported by Cosatu, the largest workers’ federation in the country, brings up many lessons, especially for working people and the rural and urban poor.

Aug 31, 2010 |

by Tiyani Lybon Mabasa, Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA)

Let me state right at the beginning that the Socialist Party of Azania (Sopa) unequivocally places its support where it rightfully belongs – with the workers.

Their demands enjoy our full support. The government, which is the employer, cannot remain intransigent while it is guilty of spending about R900billion on the Fifa World Cup, which was nothing more than a public relations effort for South Africa and the continent as a whole.

They must now show the same mettle and resolution in dealing with the workers who are citizens of this country.

In the first instance, the target for this strike is the government, which under normal circumstances should be more positive and sensitive when it deals with their employees who belong to the most essential services such as health, education and those directly involved in service delivery.

We want to state that workers who have gone on strike are not insensitive or irresponsible but are forced by the economic realities that this government knows quite well. What is good for government officials should in the same vein be good for the workers. Continue reading