Is South Africa Becoming a One-Party Police State (again!)?

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About selcoolie

see: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/pdp/profile/A3SF2PCBUWC4UO?ie=UTF8&ref_=sv_w_h__4 briefly: Born in Cape Town, South Africa; moved to Sweden in1969 and completed studies in 1983, then moved to Norway and then to S.A. in 1993 - back to Norway in 2005, and been there ever since! E-mail: selimgool@yahoo.com Web Page: zcommunications/zspace/selcool In My Own Words: ¨ South African born ex-academic now retired, exiled and beyond redemption? Interests South African political economy and history; International Socialism and Marxist/Anarchist thought; anti-militarism and ecological questions My draft autobiography (ALL the "closet secrets" in the open! @ http://southafrica.indymedia.org/uploads/2006/02/an_odyssey___from_cape_town2.pdf Aslo view: http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2ZHOZT2GTDHU1

51 responses to “Is South Africa Becoming a One-Party Police State (again!)?”

  1. Dr Selim Gool says :

    Oh, one more Comrades!

    http://www.voltairenet.org/The-Marikana-massacre-South-Africa

    Please also go to the fb group: Justice Now for Marikana @

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/275097599265710/, for an upated of events and views.

    Selim-da-coolie

  2. Dr Selim Gool says :

    2 Poems by Dennis Brutus

    Sharpville

    What is important
    About Sharpville
    is not that seventy died:
    not even that they were shot in the back
    retreating, unarmed, defenceless

    and certainly not
    the heavy caliber slug
    that tore through a mother´s back
    and ripped through the child in her arms
    killing it

    Remember Sharpville
    bullet-in-the-back day
    Because it epitomised oppression
    and the nature of society
    more clearly than anything else;
    it was the classic event

    Nowhere is racial dominance
    more clearly defined
    nowhere the will to oppress
    more clearly demonstrated

    what the world whispers
    apartheid declares with snarling guns
    the blood the rich lust after
    South Africa spills in the dust

    Remember Sharpville
    Remember bullet-in-the-back day

    And remember the unquenchable will for freedom
    Remember the dead
    and be glad

    (1973)

    Remembering June 16, 1976
    Student Uprising in Soweto

    They are coming back:
    through woodsmoke weaving from fires
    and swirls of dust from erratic breezes
    you will see
    ghosts are returning
    ghosts of young men, young women,
    young men, young girls,
    students:
    and if you look closely
    you will see many of them have torn flesh blood:
    and there is blood in the sands of Soweto
    the ghosts are coming back
    past barking police dogs
    through shifting veils of smoke
    those who oppose oppression are coming back
    demanding dignity
    challenging injustice
    they return to join new generation
    they chant:
    resume the fight, resume the fight,
    resume the fight ….

    (October 2002)

    And where are our poems for the ANCs Sharpville folks?????

  3. Dr Selim Gool says :

    Solidarity Action With the Marikana Workers and Communities!

    Call for National and International Solidarity

    3 Minutes of Silence, 1pm, August 29th

    In the aftermath of the barbaric Marikana massacre of 16th August in which 34 (41) Lonmin mine workers were shot in cold blood by the South African Police Services, South Africa has started burying the murdered workers. Workers are being taken back to their home areas to be buried. In some places a few burials have taken place.

    In this moment, the Democratic Left Front working with other social justice organisations call on all South Africans and international friends to say farewell to these workers with the observance of 3 minutes of silence on August 29th, at 1pm (in symbolic reference to the 3 minutes it took the callous South African Police Services to mow down the 34 workers on 16 August 2012).

    Also on 29th of August, in Johannesburg, we will be hosting a lunch time (1-2pm) inter-faith memorial service at the Central Methodist Church and will commence with 3 Minutes of Silence. This memorial service will be addressed by the representatives of the Marikana workers and communities. All are welcome to attend.

    The Central Methodist Church is an important location for this event given that it has been a place of refuge for Zimbabwean migrants who are constantly facing violence and harassment from South Africa’s police services….

    @ http://www.democraticleft.za.net

  4. Dr Selim Gool says :

    FOCUS ON THE SAPS – SOME IMPORTANT LINKS

    1) http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-08-27-marikana-selebi-and-the-murder-of-sas-specialist-policing-skills

    2) from: http://links.org.au/node/2999

    Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement

    August 23, 2012 — Abahlali baseMjondolo [Shackdwellers' Movement] has held a number of serious discussions about the Marikana massacre within our movement and with our comrades.

    It has also been very important for Abahlali to send a delegate straight to Marikana in the North West province to meet directly with striking workers and struggling residents of the Wonderkop shack settlement.

    We, together with the Unemployed People’s Movement, were also able to send two delegates to the meeting held to discuss the massacre at the University of Johannesburg last night [see report above].

    We wish to set the record straight and to say clearly that the account of what has happened that has been given in the media has mostly come from the state. The views and experiences of the striking workers and struggling residents of Marikana has been silenced.

    It is essential that the media must talk to the striking workers and struggling residents of Marikana and not just about them.

    What has also concerned us about some media reports as well as what the state has been saying is that it seems now as if communities are violent and that what we must all pray for is an end to community violence.

    They say that we are violent nation.

    They say that this is a tragedy. But they do not say that for a long time the police and various anti-land invasion units and private security companies have been waging a war against the poor.

    They have been driving us out of the cities and into transit camps and they have especially attacked, beaten, tortured and killed those of us who are still struggling for real freedom, equality and justice.

    This has been the reality for struggling communities for years. But most middle-class people only started to understand when they saw Andries Tatane being killed by the police on television.

    Now the truth of our democracy is here for all with eyes to see.

    The police do not act as peace keepers when there is disagreement between employers and employees or citizens and government officials.

    They take sides. They are there for the employers and the government officials. They are not there for the people.

    And we all know that we are living in a country where every police action is intelligence driven.

    The police have their spies everywhere and are listening to all the activists’ phones.

    Their intelligence is not used to keep the peace.

    It is used to repress us.
    The reality of police violence against poor people and especially against poor people that are resisting their life sentence of poverty raises difficult questions.

    Why does the government, that so many poor people vote for, repress the poor?

    Why are our votes wanted but not our presence in the cities or in the discussions?

    Why is the government trying responding to the protests that are happening everywhere with violence rather than support?

    It is clear that they want to respond to all this anger and protest by beating us back into the dark spaces where we are supposed to be kept. They want us in the bantustans and transit camps. They want us silent.

    They want a solution to the reality that this society does not provide for everyone and include everyone that takes the form of violence and intimidation.

    The only real solution is to work with the poor to build a society in which everyone can participate in decision making and the land and wealth of the country is shared fairly. That is the only way to build a just peace.

    A peace built on state violence will never be just or democratic.

    Abahlali basemjondolo will be holding a memorial service in Durban on August 24, 2012.

    We need to mourn the dead and strengthen ourselves for the struggles to come. We are inviting all churches, shackdwellers, progressive movements and individuals to attend this service.

    We are happy that Bishop Rubin Phillip has confirmed his attendance.

  5. Dr Selim Gool says :

    List of the dead mineworkers at Marikana

    1. Thobile Mpumza
    2. Thabiso Thelejane
    3. Anele Mdizeni
    4. Makhosandile Mkhonjwa
    5. Julius Mancotywa
    6. Janeveke Liau
    7. Thabiso Mosebetsane
    8. Mafolisi Mabiya
    9. Ntandazo Nokamba
    10. Fezile Saphendu
    11. “Ngxande” (not properly identified)
    12. Sitilega Gadlela
    13. Henry Pato
    14. Michael Ngweyi
    15. Patrick Akhona Jijase
    16. Bonginkosi Yona
    17. Andries Msenyeno
    18. Mzukisi Sompeta
    19. Jackson Lehura
    20. Mphumzeni Ngxande
    21. Mpangeli Lukusa
    22. Mongezeleli Ntenetya
    23. Cebisile Yana
    24. Mguneni Noki
    25. Khawamare Elias Monesa
    26. Bongani Ndongophele
    27. John Ledingoane
    28. Babalo Mtshazi
    29. Thembinkosi Gwelani
    30. Nkosiyabo Xalabile
    31. Bongani Mdze
    32. Teleng Mohai
    33. Modisaotsile Sagalala
    34. Molefi Ntsoele
    35. Thapelo Eric Mabebe
    36. Tembelakhe Mati
    37. Sandi Teyise
    38. Mlanduli Hendry Saba
    39. Pumzile Sokanyile
    40. Still unidentified
    41- ? several still missing…

    (as of Sunday 9:31pm Aug 25)

    from: fb-group – Justice Now for Marikana Strikers @

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/275097599265710/

    See also: CAUSES – PETITION: Tell Lonmin to meet workers demands for higher wages and better living conditions!

    @ http://www.causes.com/causes/786395-share-worldwide/actions/1676661?recruiter_id=38104390&utm_campaign=invite&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb

    video: The Classic: Banks of Marble – by Pete Seeger

    Pete Seeger singing the classic “workers’ rights” tune from the 1950’s. Lyrics below: BANKS ARE MADE OF MARBLE I’ve traveled http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-o3CJytIPE

  6. Dr Selim Gool says :

    New post: @ http://links.org.au/node/3002

    South Africa: Marikana massacre – a turning point?

    Marikana mineworkers on strike for higher pay.

    By Martin Legassick

    August 27, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The massacre of 34, and almost certainly more, striking mineworkers at Marikana (together with more than 80 injured) on August 16 has sent waves of shock and anger across South Africa, rippling around the world. It could prove a decisive turning point in our country’s post-apartheid history.
    Marikana is a town situated in barren veld, dry brown grass in the winter, with occasional rocky outcrops (kopjes, hillocks). The Lonmin-owned mines – there are three, Karee, West and East Platinum – are situated on the outskirts of the town. Alongside two of them is a settlement of zinc-walled shacks festooned with lines of washing called Enkanini, where most of the mineworkers live.

    Towering over the shack settlement are the surface buildings of the mine, together with a huge electricity substation, with giant power pylons marching across the veld. This is the mineral-energy complex that has dominated the South African economy since the 1890s, basing itself on the exploitation of cheap black migrant labour. But now platinum has replaced gold as the core of it.
    South Africa produces three-quarters of the world’s platinum (used for catalytic converters in cars and for jewellery) and has dropped from first to fifth in production of gold. The underground workers at Marikana are still predominantly from the Eastern Cape, the area most ravaged by the apartheid migrant labour system. One third are contract workers, employed by labour brokers for the mines, with lower wages and no medical, pensions or benefits.
    Platinum rock drillers work underground in temperatures of 40-45 degrees Celsius, in cramped, damp, poorly ventilated areas where rocks fall daily. They risk death every time they go down the shafts. At Marikana, 3000 mineworkers were and are striking for a wage increase from R4000 to R12,500 a month.

    The juxtaposition of the mineral-energy complex with Enkanini, where outside toilets are shared among 50 people, where there are a few taps that will only trickle water, where raw sewage spreading disease leaks from burst pipes, and children scavenge on rubbish dumps, is symptomatic of the huge inequalities in South African society today. (More details on living conditions can be found in “Communities in the Platinum Minefields: Policy Gap 6” at http://www.bench-mark.org.za).
    Inequality has increased since 1994 under the post-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) government. CEOs earn millions of rands in salaries and bonuses while nearly one-third of our people live on R432 rand a month or less. The top three managers at Lonmin earned R44.6 million in 2011 (Sunday Independent, August 26, 2012). Since 1994 some black people have been brought on board by white capital in a deal with the government – and they engage in conspicuous consumption.
    Cyril Ramaphosa, former general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), who is now a director of Lonmin, recently bought a rare buffalo for R18 million, a fact contemptuously highlighted by Marikana workers when he donated R2 million for their funeral expenses. Unemployment in South Africa, realistically, is 35-40% and higher among women and youth; the highest in the world.

    Shot while trying to escape

    The media have highlighted police shooting automatic weapons at striking mineworkers running towards them from the rocky kopje where they were camped, and bodies falling to the ground dead.

    The police had erected a line of razor wire, with a five-metre gap in it, through which some mineworkers were attempting to return to Enkanini to escape tear gas and water cannon directed at them from behind.
    Researchers from the University of Johannesburg (not journalists, to their shame) have revealed that the most killing did not take place there. Most strikers had dispersed in the opposite direction from Enkanini, trying to escape the police. At a koppie situated behind the hill camp there are remnants of pools of blood. Police markers in yellow paint on this “killing kopje” show where corpses were removed: there are labels with letters at least up to “J”. Shots were fired from helicopters to kill other escaping workers, and some strikers, mineworkers report, were crushed by police Nyalas (armoured vehicles). Within days police swept the whole area clean of rubber bullets, bullet casings and tear-gas canisters. Only patches of burned grass are visible, the remains of police fires used to obscure evidence of deaths.

    There are still workers missing, unaccounted for in official body counts. The death toll is almost certainly higher than 34.
    The cumulative evidence is that this was not panicky police firing at workers they believed were about to attack them with machetes and sticks. Why otherwise leave a narrow gap in the razor wire? Why kill workers running away from the police lines? It was premeditated murder by a militarised police force to crush the strike, which must have been ordered from higher up the chain of command. It has recently been reported that autopsies reveal that most of the workers were shot in the back, confirmation that they were mowed down by the police while escaping.

    Because of the global capitalist crisis, with a slump in demand for new cars, the price of platinum has been falling, squeezing Lonmin’s high profits. Lonmin refused to negotiate with the striking mineworkers, and instead threatened mass dismissals, a favourite weapon of mining bosses. They were losing 2500 ounces of platinum output a day, amounting to more than $3.5 million. It was in Lonmin’s interest to smash the strike. A platinum CEO is quoted as saying that if the R12,500 demand was won, “the entire platinum mining sector will be forced to shut down” (New Age, August 20, 2012).
    But the massacre has rebounded in their face. It has reinforced the anger and determination of the Marikana mineworkers to continue striking. “We will die rather than give up our demand”, said one at a protest meeting in Johannesburg on August 22. Moreover, since the massacre, workers at Royal BaFokeng Platinum and Anglo American Platinum have joined the strike. A general strike in the platinum industry is not ruled out.

    The police chief, Riah Phiyega, visited police in Marikana in the days before the massacre. On the day of the massacre a police spokesperson declared, “Today is unfortunately D-day” (Business Report, August 17, 2012). After the killings Phiyega said, “It was the right thing to do” (The Star, August 20, 2012). The ANC government is implicated in these murders – in defence of white mining capital.

    ANC-police orchestrated violence

    The massacre is part of a pattern of ANC-police orchestrated violence against social protest, for example against Abahlali baseMjondolo in Kennedy Road in Durban in 2008-9 and in Umlazi recently, and which has resulted in the killing of Tebego Mkhoza in Harrismith, of Monica Ngcobo in Umlazi, of Andries Tatane in Ficksburg and South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) leader Petros Msiza last year, to name but a few.
    Certainly the Marikana massacre has severely damaged the moral authority that the ANC inherited from the liberation struggle. Since August 16, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has gone out of his way to distance himself from the killings. He has deplored the tragedy, visited the site six days later – to a cool reception from the mineworkers – declared a week of mourning and established a commission of enquiry.

    He is hoping to restore the image of the ANC and of himself before he has to face re-election at an ANC conference in Mangaung in December. The commission has five months to report – which he hopes will cover up discussion of the events until after Mangaung. “Wait for the report before making a judgement” will be the watchword of the ANC and its allies in the next months.

    Suspicious of the official commission, the mineworkers have called for an independent commission of enquiry, and the dropping of charges against 259 workers who have been arrested. “The same person who gave the order to shoot is the one who appointed the commission”, said a worker (Business Day, August 23, 2012).
    Expelled former ANC Youth League president, the populist Julius Malema, has taken advantage of the massacre to visit Marikana, denounce Zuma and give assistance to the dead mineworkers’ families. Also all leaders of the parliamentary opposition went as a delegation to a meeting in Marikana on August 20 to offer condolences – like flies hovering around a dead body. At the same meeting a procession of 20 or more priests each sought to claim the loud hailer.

    Union rivalry?

    The mass media have claimed that the violence was precipitated by rivalry between the NUM and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU). This is nonsense. When the Marikana rock drillers went on strike they wanted to negotiate directly with management, not to have any union represent them. This was made absolutely clear at post-massacre meetings in Marikana, and at the protest meeting on August 22.
    The strike was violent. In the week before the massacre 10 people died, six mineworkers, two mine security guards and two policemen.
    Historically, the National Union of Mineworkers, born in the struggle against apartheid, has represented mineworkers. It has a proud history of struggle, including the 1987 mineworkers’ strike, led by Cyril Ramaphosa. But since 1994 it has increasingly colluded with the bosses. At Lonmin it had a two-year wage agreement for 8-10% annual increases.
    When the rock drillers struck for more than doubled wages, NUM tried to prevent them. The strikers assert that the NUM was responsible for the death of two of mineworkers early in the strike. Two days before the massacre NUM general secretary Frans Baleni stated of the strikers, “This is a criminal element” (Business Report, August 15, 2012). Since the massacre Baleni has claimed it was “regrettable” but he has not condemned the police, only “dark forces misleading the workers” (see the video on the NUM website). Baleni earns R77,000 a month, more than 10 times what the rock drillers earn. NUM members in Marikana have torn up and thrown away their union T-shirts. At the Johannesburg protest meeting on August 22 an NUM speaker was shouted down by Marikana mineworkers.
    The beneficiary is the AMCU, which before the strike had only 7000 members at Karee, a part of the Marikana mine where workers did not strike. (Its membership there was drawn in by a disaffected NUM branch leader after a strike last year.) Now workers from West and East Platinum are joining the AMCU.
    The AMCU was formed after 1999 when its present president, Joseph Mathunjwa, was dismissed by a coal mine in Mpumalanga and reinstated because of workers’ protest, but then faced a disciplinary hearing from NUM for ‘bringing the union into disrepute”. He was expelled by the NUM (whose general secretary, ironically, was then Gwede Mantashe, now general secretary of the ANC) and formed the AMCU.
    Today the AMCU claims a membership of some 30,000. It represents workers at coal, chrome and platinum mines in Mpumalanga, and coal mines in KwaZulu-Natal. It has members at chrome and platinum mines in Limpopo, and is recruiting at the iron ore and manganese mines around Kathu and Hotazel in the Northern Cape. It has focused on vulnerable contract workers. In February-March this year it gained membership in a six-week strike of 4300 workers (in which four people died) at the huge Impala Platinum in Rustenburg, a 14-shaft mining complex with 30,000 workers. At this stage it is unclear whether it can build a solid organisation for platinum workers, or merely indulge in populist rhetoric.

    The AMCU is affiliated to the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), rival union federation to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), both also born in the struggle against apartheid. COSATU, however, is allied with the ANC and is partly compromised by its relationship to government.

    COSATU divisions

    The platinum strikes and the Marikana massacre take place on the eve of COSATU’s 11th congress, to be held on September 17-19. COSATU has long differed with the ANC on economic policy, and in the recent period has been racked by internal differences over this and over whether or not Zuma should have a second term as ANC president and hence, after the 2014 election, remain president of the country. COSATU’s president Sdumo Dlamini, supported by the NUM and the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU), supports Zuma. COSATU general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, together with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), is less keen on Zuma’s re-election. Other unions are divided.
    Vavi’s political report to the congress writes of “total state dysfunction” (concerning the failure of the ANC government to provide textbooks to Limpopo schools) and states there is “growing social distance between the leadership and the rank and file” of the ANC (Mail and Guardian, August 10-16, 2012).
    At its June congress NUMSA passed resolutions on nationalisation of industry and declared “that nationalisation of the Reserve Bank, mines, land, strategic and monopoly industries without compensation must take place with speed, if we are to avoid sliding into anarchy and violence as a result of the cruel impact of … poverty, unemployment and extreme inequalities in South Africa today”. Under workers’ control and management, this policy could rapidly end inequality and poverty in South Africa. (Julius Malema and the ANCYL also favour nationalisation of the mines, but this is interpreted as a desire to enrich predatory black businesspeople who could sell their assets to the state.)
    The National Union of Mineworkers is less keen on nationalisation. “We are for nationalisation, but not a nationalisation that creates chaos”, said an NUM spokesperson recently. In a June document NUM criticised “populist demagoguery … calling for nationalisation as the solution to … challenges” such as socioeconomic conditions and failures by the mining industry to adhere to transformation or mining charter requirements (miningmx, August 19, 2012).

    Vavi in his political report also drew attention to “a growing distance between leaders and members” within COSATU unions (Mail and Guardian, August 10-16, 2012) – which also applies to the NUM. Recently, the NUM general secretary in a private meeting with Vavi warned him to cease his “one-man crusade” or face being unseated at the COSATU congress.
    Now the shock waves of the massacre will reverberate through the congress. The differences could be magnified, and some observers even predict that COSATU could split, either at or after the congress. Both factions of the COSATU leadership, however, are threatened by the erosion of the NUM and the growth of the AMCU and other unions attracting disgruntled COSATU members.
    A COSATU statement (August 23, 2012) speaks of “a co-ordinated political strategy to use intimidation and violence, manipulated by disgruntled former union leaders, in a drive to create breakaway ‘unions’ and divide and weaken the trade union movement”. It says the COSATU congress will “have to discuss how we can defeat this attempt to divide and weaken the workers, how we can … cut the ground from under the feet of these bogus breakaway ‘unions’ and their political and financial backers”. The threat to workers’ unity is a powerful stick with which to temporarily re-unite the factions in COSATU. This strategy will be backed by the South African Communist Party (SACP), which is influential within COSATU. In reality, of course, it is the NUM leadership that is dividing the working class, through its failure to represent workers adequately, causing them to leave the union.
    Were COSATU to split, were the AMCU and other dissident unions to link up with this split, favourable conditions would be created for the launching of a mass workers’ party on a left-wing program that could challenge the ANC for power. It would represent a combination of splits in traditional workers’ organisations and the emergence of new organisations. But this is not the most likely immediate scenario.
    The consequences for Zuma at Mangaung are as yet unpredictable. They depend on how reaction to the massacre unfolds in the next months. Already it is reported that members of the ANC national executive are incensed at Zuma (Sunday Times, August 26, 2012). Unless the ANC can manage the situation successfully, the waves of shock and anger could catalyse the beginning of the end of ANC rule. Certainly, nothing will ever be the same again.

    [Martin Legassick is active in housing issues in the Western Cape and a member of the Democratic Left Front, an anti-capitalist united front. He visited Marikana in the aftermath of the massacre.]
    Africa ANC COSATU Democratic Left Front (South Africa) SACP South Africa trade unions workers’ rights
    Comments
    Tue, 08/28/2012 – 15:05 — Otto Silver (not verified)
    Being Pedantic

    Just a pedantic note. “Kopje” is Dutch, not Afrikaans. People in SA don’t actually speak Dutch. My non-South African dictionary on my phone actually contains the word “Koppie” and not the word “Kopje”.
    Other than that…WOW, the white man is at it again. No, wait…
    Yea, people are people. It does not matter what colour is in control, those in power will at some point do what they do …

  7. Dr Selim Gool says :

    In Memory of Neville Alexander: http://www.sahistory.org.za/archive/100-years-african-national-congress-neville-alexander

    100 years of the african national congress by Neville Alexander

    Show/hide meta information
    The lavish celebrations in Mangaung this past weekend, among other things, reminded me of the late Van Zyl Slabbert. Renowned for his ready wit and as a master of repartee, he once quipped in response to a question about the likelihood of a one-party state in the new SA, given the dominance of the ANC, that we were already living in such a state because “it`s just one big party”!

    But, jokes aside, on the occasion of the centenary celebration of the founding of the ANC, I, together with many others, I am sure, expected some attempt at a serious stocktaking and historical analysis of both the achievements and the current, indeed continuing, dilemmas faced by the ruling party. This was, it seems to me, the best possible moment for an excursion into the philosophy of history, for the leadership of the party to use the platform to explain in the simplest possible terms to its followers and to all the people of South Africa why some of the roadblocks in the way of attaining the long awaited transformation of the country appear to be irremovable. Although such an attempt may still be forthcoming, I doubt very much whether the policy conference to be held in June will get beyond the sound and fury that has come to characterise recent gatherings of that kind.

    Not quite by coincidence, I have in recent days been re-reading certain chapters in the massive volume published by Donald Sassoon in 1996, which he called One Hundred Years of Socialism. The West European Left in the Twentieth Century. It quite explicitly does not deal with the history of ideas of socialism or with the many selfless leaders and activists who tried to sustain or renew the values and the ethos on which the socialist ideal is founded. Instead, “[…] (it) is a comparative history of socialistparties in the context of the constraints they faced: capitalist development, the nation- state, the international system, dominant ideologies, the past. […]”. Although Sassoon`s work is a descriptive, even empiricist, account of the history of West European socialist, mainly social democratic and communist, parties especially since 1945, I am quite sure that the ideologues and the theoreticians of the ANC and of other left-leaning groups could do worse than to (re-)read the first 100 pages or so of Sassoon`s account of the twists and turns of socialist orientated parties which were thrust into office unprepared. There, they will find that the script they are acting out was written long ago and that they are faced with well-nigh insoluble dilemmas and contradictions, given their point of departure.

    Because of spatial constraints, I shall focus on only three of many relevant issues. The first of these is the fact that the history of the ANC reflects much, if not most, of the nationalist response of the oppressed people to colonial conquest in the British dominion territory that became South Africa. All I want to assert in this connection is that the notion of the “South African nation” that eventually became consolidated in the ranks of the ANC itself and of the Congress Alliance, more broadly, was that of a “four-nations” constellation based on the hegemonic paradigm of four races: black, coloured, white and indian. This was most clearly formulated in the ANC Youth League programme adopted in 1944. The relevance in this context is that in the centenary January 8 statement, there is no attempt to analyse or to update this notion in the light of the constitutional rhetoric about a “non-racial” or non-racist South Africa. This is unfinished business, software matters that are integrally related to the economic hardware I shall refer to presently. It is business which, if left unresolved for whatever reason, will see this country engulfed in the ethnic and racial conflicts that continue to devastate much of Africa north of the Limpopo. If the ANC leadership is serious about the national dialogue that President Zuma seemed to want to initiate, this is one of the priority questions on the agenda. The answers we arrive at will radically transform our school and university curricula and the media, among many other things.

    The second point to insist on is that the struggle, as conceived by the ANC virtually from the day it was formally established had to eventuate in the kind of negotiated compromise we arrived at in 1993-94, unless the world situation had tilted the balance of forces in South Africa in favour of social revolution. Again, space does not permit the detailed analysis that is essential for a nuanced understanding of the situation. However, Sassoon reminds us of the manner in which Leon Blum, one of the most influential French Socialist leaders in the inter-war years tried to explain the position of the social democratic party governments in Western Europe under conditions that bear comparison with post-1986 South Africa. He distinguished between the conquest and the exercise of power. In my view, this captures exactly the situation into which the ruling party allowed itself to be manoeuvred during the early 1990s. The notion of “the exercise of power” functioned “[…] as a theoretical justification should the SFIO (French Socialist Party NA) be `forced` into government before the conditions for the conquest of power were ripe. Until capitalism collapsed, all socialists could hope for was to `exercise` power, which meant pursuing limited reformist goals. During the exercise of power, there would be no major change in property relations.”

    Indeed, if one follows this logic, and we have every reason to consider it seriously, we are on the verge of a much more serious situation, one which Blum labelled the `occupation of power`, a defensive – anti-fascist – strategy. To put it differently: in order to ward off the populist demagogues, it may become necessary to abandon even the fig leaf of the `National Democratic Revolution`. In Blum`s terms: “[…] (The occupation of power) was, clearly, not the `conquest` of power but it was not an exercise of power either, because it was not meant to prepare the way for a social revolution. The occupation of power – in practice an occupation of office – was a strategy aimed at denying the forces of fascism access to power”.

    The third, indeed, the decisive, issue is that of the economic system. The German Social Democratic Party leader, Rudolf Hilferding, faced, like all other socialists at the time, with the obvious fact that a “parliamentary road to socialism” was mere pie in the sky, had come to the conclusion that the emergence of cartels and monopolies that dominated and shaped the world capitalist market was in fact the beginning of the socialisation of the means of production. In this process the state could, and should, play the decisive role in managing the capitalist economy for the benefit of the workers and of poor people, more generally. This is, clearly, a prefigurement of the much-vaunted “developmental state” that is supposed to free us out of the vice grip of neo-liberalism. However, as Sassoon stresses: “The road to a planned organization of society was now open. The sole remaining problem was that control was still in the hands of capitalist private interests. […]. Though in government, the SPD could do little to gain control over the economy.” He goes on to narrate the process that led to the eventual “state of deadlock” in the Weimar Republic. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

    Historical analogies are always dangerous. However, beyond all the songs of praise and the justified criticism of the philistine ostentation of the Mangaung event that have filled the media for a few days, it is essential that we draw back the attention of the citizens of this country to some of the fundamentals that remain to be addressed, if we are to find a way forward. There are alternatives and all of us should use all available forums to explore and discuss these. We certainly do not need the ANC, or any other political formation for that matter, to preside over such a national dialogue. The ANC was without doubt the dominant current in the struggle for national liberation, a struggle that continues with increasing vigour as an aspect of the general struggle for social justice against the disastrous class inequality and dehumanising poverty that continue to characterise post-apartheid capitalism. The continued attempts on the part of some ideologues of the Alliance to capitalise on the status of “sole authentic representative of the people” of South Africa, which was –disastrously – conferred on the ANC by some states and international agencies in the 1980s are not only an insult to all who have sacrificed and struggled for the ideal of a democratic Azania, free of oppression and exploitation but feed the anti-democratic tendencies within the ruling party that have surfaced in recent months.

    100 years of history is a more than adequate basis for learning the lessons of those who have preceded the ANC in their attempts to build a better life for all within the confines of the “free” market system. Otherwise, we will, as we are already doing, simply repeat the same errors.

    Neville Alexander

  8. Dr Selim Gool says :

    Update! http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-08-30-the-murder-fields-of-marikana-the-cold-murder-fields-of-marikana

    The murder fields of Marikana. The cold murder fields of Marikana.

    by GREG MARINOVICH, in SOUTH AFRICA

    30 AUGUST 2012 00:46 (SOUTH AFRICA)

    Some of the miners killed in the 16 August massacre at Marikana appear to have been shot at close range or crushed by police vehicles. They were not caught in a fusillade of gunfire from police defending themselves, as the official account would have it.

    GREG MARINOVICH spent two weeks trying to understand what really happened. What he found was profoundly disturbing.

    Of the 34 miners killed at Marikana, no more than a dozen of the dead were captured in news footage shot at the scene. The majority of those who died, according to surviving strikers and researchers, were killed beyond the view of cameras at a nondescript collection of boulders some 300 metres behind Wonderkop.

    On one of these rocks, encompassed closely on all sides by solid granite boulders, is the letter ‘N’, the 14th letter of the alphabet. Here, N represents the 14th body of a striking miner to be found by a police forensics team in this isolated place. These letters are used by forensics to detail were the corpses lay.

    There is a thick spread of blood deep into the dry soil, showing that N was shot and killed on the spot. There is no trail of blood leading to where N died – the blood saturates one spot only, indicating no further movement. (

    It would have been outside of the scope of the human body to crawl here bleeding so profusely.)

    Approaching N from all possible angles, observing the local geography, it is clear that to shoot N, the shooter would have to be close. Very close, in fact, almost within touching distance.

    (After having spent days here at the bloody massacre site, it does not take too much imagination for me to believe that N might have begged for his life on that winter afternoon.) ….

    (go to full article @ above link!)

  9. Dr Selim Gool says :

    http://www.dagsavisen.no/verden/tiltale%20sjokkerer/

    Tiltale sjokkerer

    SØR-AFRIKA: – Sjokkerende, lyder reaksjonene etter at gruvearbeidere i Sør-Afrika er tiltalt for drapene på sine egne kolleger, selv om det var politiet som skjøt.

    Åsne Gullikstad

    To uker etter det dødeligste sammenstøtet siden apartheidtida i Sør-Afrika, har påtalemyndigheten kastet bensin på bålet i en allerede svært anspent situasjon. Reaksjonene både i og utenfor Sør-Afrika er sterke etter at 270 gruvearbeidere som var til stede under sammenstøtet med politiet ved Marikana-gruven 16. august, er tiltalt for drap på de 34 som ble skutt av politiet.

    – Dette er urovekkende og totalt overraskende, sier seniorforsker Elling Tjønneland til Dagsavisen.

    – Snudd alt på hodet
    Justisminister Jeff Radebe fra ANC ba i går påtalemyndigheten om en nærmere forklaring, og sier sørafrikanere er rystet og forvirret. Påtalemyndigheten har brukt en paragraf i opprørsloven fra 1956 som er blitt brukt mot personer i en gruppe som ter seg på en slik måte at det kan framprovosere voldelig respons.

    – Dette er bisart og sjokkerende, og representerer en åpenbar misbruk av det juridiske systemet i forsøket på å beskytte politiet og/eller politikerne, uttaler jusprofessor Pierre de Vos ved Universitetet i Cape Town i en blogg.

    – Apartheidregimet brukte ofte denne paragrafen for å sikre seg en dom mot en eller flere ledere i en opprørsmarsj, eller mot ledere av motstandsbevegelser som ANC, skriver de Vos, som tror påtalemakten prøver å stigmatisere eller skremme gruvearbeiderne.

    De 34 gruvearbeiderne ble skutt i et sammenstøt med politiet. Politifolkene oppfattet dem som truende fordi de kom mot dem med macheter. I dagene forut var det oppstått flere voldssituasjoner der ti mennesker var blitt drept, blant annet ble to politifolk hakket til døde.

    President Jacob Zuma har igangsatt en kommisjon som skal utrede hendelsen, og inntil granskingen er over i januar vil det ikke bli avgjort hva som gjøres mot politifolkene som skjøt.

    Tiltale sjokkerer
    SØR-AFRIKA: – Sjokkerende, lyder reaksjonene etter at gruvearbeidere i Sør-Afrika er tiltalt for drapene på sine egne kolleger, selv om det var politiet som skjøt.

    av Åsne Gullikstad

    To uker etter det dødeligste sammenstøtet siden apartheidtida i Sør-Afrika, har påtalemyndigheten kastet bensin på bålet i en allerede svært anspent situasjon. Reaksjonene både i og utenfor Sør-Afrika er sterke etter at 270 gruvearbeidere som var til stede under sammenstøtet med politiet ved Marikana-gruven 16. august, er tiltalt for drap på de 34 som ble skutt av politiet.

    – Dette er urovekkende og totalt overraskende, sier seniorforsker Elling Tjønneland til Dagsavisen.

    – Snudd alt på hodet

    Justisminister Jeff Radebe fra ANC ba i går påtalemyndigheten om en nærmere forklaring, og sier sørafrikanere er rystet og forvirret.

    Påtalemyndigheten har brukt en paragraf i opprørsloven fra 1956 som er blitt brukt mot personer i en gruppe som ter seg på en slik måte at det kan framprovosere voldelig respons.

    – Dette er bisart og sjokkerende, og representerer en åpenbar misbruk av det juridiske systemet i forsøket på å beskytte politiet og/eller politikerne, uttaler jusprofessor Pierre de Vos ved Universitetet i Cape Town i en blogg.

    – Apartheidregimet brukte ofte denne paragrafen for å sikre seg en dom mot en eller flere ledere i en opprørsmarsj, eller mot ledere av motstandsbevegelser som ANC, skriver de Vos, som tror påtalemakten prøver å stigmatisere eller skremme gruvearbeiderne.

    De 34 gruvearbeiderne ble skutt i et sammenstøt med politiet. Politifolkene oppfattet dem som truende fordi de kom mot dem med macheter.

    I dagene forut var det oppstått flere voldssituasjoner der ti mennesker var blitt drept, blant annet ble to politifolk hakket til døde.

    President Jacob Zuma har igangsatt en kommisjon som skal utrede hendelsen, og inntil granskingen er over i januar vil det ikke bli avgjort hva som gjøres mot politifolkene som skjøt.

    Skriv en kommentar

    Selim Gool, Kl. 7:58 01.09.2012:

    Hei Dagbladets lesere!

    Jeg er fra Sør-Afrika og har bott i Norden i over 40 år, jobbat som forsker og lektor i en Norsk v.g. skole i mange år og er bestefar till två små søte barnebarn som bor med foreldrene sine i Oslo. Selv bor je i Rauland, Vest Telemark.

    Først, er det nødvendig og korrigerer noen “småfeil” som stå i artikklen till Åsne Gullikstad. Det er IKKE 34 mennesker som ble skudd den 16de august! Antall er betydelig høyere en 34- for belegg se:

    Martin Legassick en Professor og aktivist – (

    1) http://links.org.au/node/3002

    Han skriver: “Researchers from the University of Johannesburg (not journalists, to their shame) have revealed that the most killing did not take place there.

    Most strikers had dispersed in the opposite direction from Enkanini, trying to escape the police. At a koppie situated behind the hill camp there are remnants of pools of blood.

    Police markers in yellow paint on this “killing koppie” show where corpses were removed: there are labels with letters at least up to “J”. Shots were fired from helicopters to kill other escaping workers, and some strikers, mineworkers report, were crushed by police Nyalas (armoured vehicles). Within days police swept the whole area clean of rubber bullets, bullet casings and tear-gas canisters.

    Only patches of burned grass are visible, the remains of police fires used to obscure evidence of deaths. There are still workers missing, unaccounted for in official body counts.

    The death toll is almost certainly higher than 34.”

    (2) se også: http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-08-30-the-murder-fields-of-marikana-the-cold-murder-fields-of-marikana

    (3) eller: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/aug2012/safr-a29.shtml

    (4) og sist: http://links.org.au/node/3001

    For mer informasjon el. og delta i debatten omkring Sør-Afrika og Fremtiden, kontakta meg Dr Gool:

    http://selim1404.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/is-south-africa-becoming-a-one-party-police-state-again/

    Mange Takk!

  10. Dr Selim Gool says :

    Morning All!

    Marikana’s Small Koppie: 14 dead, 300 metres away from Wonderkop. Why?

    @ http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-09-02-marikanas-small-koppie-14-dead-300-metres-away-from-wonderkop-why

    by GREG MARINOVICH, in SOUTH AFRICA

    2 SEPTEMBER 2012 01:52 (SOUTH AFRICA)

    Since the publication of the article positing that police had murdered some of the miners at the Small Koppie, individuals close to various arms of the investigation have approached us, verifying the main thrust of the argument. We can now confirm the frightening details: 14 dead at the Small Koppie, 300 metres away from the better known massacre, minutes after the much-televised stampede. Yes, we were disturbed, too. By GREG MARINOVICH.

    The unseasonal heat baked Nkaneng settlement on Friday, 31 August. Litter was strewn across the empty veld like peculiarly ugly wild flowers. In the distance, thousands of denizens waited patiently outside Lonmin’s Marikana plant for their turn to board a minibus taxi or a bus for a grim trip to the Eastern Cape or Lesotho. The majority of the slain miners were Pondo speakers, to be laid to rest in remote villages there, most of them over the weekend.

    Next to the squat cone of Wonderkop, a sparkling white hearse made its way along the rutted dirt road that circles the hill. Eventually the hearse halted; it could drive no further. The rear door was opened, as if to give the corpse a breath of fresh air, and the handful of men who had followed the vehicle continued on foot.

    The group approached Small Koppie, and passed by a large patch of blood that someone had fenced with branches. An open container of snuff lay in the centre. It was an offering to the ancestors by relatives and colleagues who had earlier come to take the slain miner’s spirit to accompany the corporeal remains home. It was here that crime scene investigators had named two bodies A and B.

    Passing the bloodstains of A and B without breaking stride, the group of mourners swiftly climbed over the largest of the granite extrusions, leaving behind several spray-painted yellow dots, the meaning of which I could not discern.

    They eventually stopped at a nondescript patch of earth. This was where Lonmin rock drill handler Andries Motlalepule Ntsenyeho died, aged 42. The earth showed no yellow paint markings, nor letters to demarcate key evidence or bodies. I myself had unknowingly walked over this spot several times. A man gathered soil and gave it to Ntsenyeho’s younger brother, Tebogo, to put in a crumpled white plastic bag. Then they lowered their heads and prayed quietly.

    (There are two logical layman’s possibilities to this apparent oddity of no spray paint showing where Andries Ntsenyeho had died: that this is not where he died, or that the spray paint on the sand has been walked over and weathered in the two weeks since the scene was investigated. The third possibility is that the esoteric requirements of the crime scene investigators do not need to put paint next to bodies lying in the open, where they are easily detected in an aerial photograph, and matched to GPS co-ordinates.)

    I was at Small Koppie with CityPress’s Charl Du Plessis. We wanted to try to find the missing letters and fill some of the gaps in our understanding of the tragedy. While clambering some four meters up on a boulder, Du Plessis found a stick and a pipe. Nearby were bloodstains. Then, precariously close to the edge, he spotted a bullet. A bent and scraped bullet that looked very much like an R5 bullet. It had obviously ricocheted once or even twice off the granite.

    We called the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, IPID, who sent investigators within a couple of hours, as well as a specialist crime scene investigator.

    It was instructive, and morbidly fascinating to watch: the site of the bullet was logged and contextualised with regard to the other forensic markings. The blood was swabbed and samples taken, to see if they matched any of the bodies.

    The police trio would not be drawn out on any of the evidence (so ungrateful of them, really, after we had found them the bullet). They did not need to.

    Since the publication of the article positing that police had murdered some of the miners at the Small Koppie, individuals close to various arms of the investigation have approached Daily Maverick, verifying the main thrust of the argument.

    Our reliable sources tell us that only one firearm was found at the scene – a pistol – at F. We have subsequently found that the demarcations go up to the letter X and that some of them show where bodies lay. G and H were indeed two miners who died next to each other, as were E and D, and J and K. X, too shows where a body lay.

    The critical letter N was, however, incorrectly marked: it should have been the letter M. The file might reflect M for the position marked N on the rock. This is something that could have led to a lot of confusion, clouding events, making justice elusive. Whatever the crime scene error, the rock marked N above the pool of blood indeed does mark a body. And thus miner N (or M) did die there, trapped. The rocks and trees round him bear no sign of bullet marks. He was not killed in a wild spray of bullets.

    And now, for the main point: There were indeed 14 corpses found at Small Koppie, including that of Andries Ntsenyeho. We have been told that many of the corpses were shot in the back. Some of these corpses apparently had three bullet wounds in a close grouping. These point to the miners being shot at close range by automatic gunfire. There are precious few rocks that display bullet marks. I counted less than ten, rendering a theory of spraying of the area with long-range bullets a lie. Ntsenyeho had three wounds, one in the neck and two in the groin area.

    So did the police, as they were attacking Small Koppie, think they were in danger from the trapped miners? Only the one handgun was found at the scene, at F. Despite this, the police could have believed they were in danger, if they went in on foot. Yet large tyre tread marks and small trees pushed over at one of two possible entries into the central clearing, where several bodies were found, indicate that armoured Nyalas could and did indeed enter. It is not clear when they did, but they could have ferried the police into the clearing on that fateful afternoon, and been able to afford the police protection.

    We have eye-witnesses who saw Nyalas encircle Small Koppie in the events that followed the televised shooting at Wonderkop, some 300 meters to the southeast. Complete physical protection was available to police involved.

    The police were either not in extreme danger, or could have chosen not to be in danger. This may have been personal choice or an order from their commander.

    And this begs the question: What where police doing using deadly force and moving into the Small Koppie anyway? What was their aim? The police state that their aim on the day was to disperse the miners. This had already been achieved by the time Small Koppie was attacked. If they wanted to arrest those who might possibly have been involved in the killing of three miners, two security guards and two police officers in the previous days, they would not have ended shooting 14 people; the miners were trapped already. If the bringing to book of potential killers, alive, were on their mind, no assault rifles need have been used.

    So what was on their mind, if I may collectivise this, following the recently much-used logic of common purpose?

    In the days following the hacking to death of the two police officers, gruesome cellphone pictures were circulated throughout police circles. Policemen around the world view the killing of their own with extreme anger. We are informed by the comments that range from Bheki Cele and Susan Shabangu’s shoot to kill statements, to current police commissioner Riah Phiyega’s following the massacre, that the policemen at Marikana had done no wrong.

    In the afternoon heat of 31 August, the handful of family and fellow miners of Andries Ntsenyeho swiftly made their way back to his coffin. I asked if they had seen the autopsy report. His brother Tebogo answered that they had the death certificate: “It only says that he died of unnatural causes. Nothing more. We have many questions.”

    As do we all. But the true story of what happened on the Small Koppie on 16 August 2012 is out there and, every day, we’re getting closer to it. DM
    _________________

    Also @ http://www.dagsavisen.no/verden/tiltale-sjokkerer/

    Ny tiltalende bevis om Masakern i Marikana in Sør-Afrika:

    http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-09-02-marikanas-small-koppie-14-dead-300-metres-away-from-wonderkop-why

    “Marikana’s Small Koppie: 14 dead, 300 metres away from Wonderkop….

    Why?

    av GREG MARINOVICH IN SOUTH AFRICA

    2 SEPTEMBER 2012

    Since the publication of the article positing that police had murdered some of the miners at the Small Koppie, individuals close to various arms of the investigation have approached us, verifying the main thrust of the argument. We can now confirm the frightening details: 14 dead at the Small Koppie, 300 metres away from the better known massacre, minutes after the much-televised stampede.

    Yes, we were disturbed, too….”

    overs. av google trans:

    Marikana Small koppie: 14 døde, 300 meter fra Wonderkop. Hvorfor?
    av GREG Marinovich fra SØR-AFRIKA

    2 september 2012 01:52 (Sør-Afrika)

    Siden publiseringen av artikkelen posisjonering at politiet hadde drept noen av gruvearbeiderne i den lille koppie, har personer i nærheten av forskjellige armer av etterforskningen nærmet oss, bekrefter at hoveddelen av argumentet.

    Vi kan nå bekrefte skremmende detaljer: 14 døde på Small koppie, 300 meter fra bedre kjent massakren, minutter etter den mye TV-panikk. Ja, vi ble forstyrret, også. Greg Marinovich.

    Den unseasonal varme bakt Nkaneng oppgjør fredag ​​31. august. Kull ble strødd over den tomme veld som merkelig stygge ville blomster. I det fjerne, ventet tusenvis av innbyggerne tålmodig utenfor Lonmin er Marikana anlegg for deres tur til å gå ombord en minibuss taxi eller buss for en uhyggelig tur til Eastern Cape eller Lesotho.

    Flertallet av de drepte gruvearbeidere var Pondo migrantarbeidere, for å bli stedt til hvile i avsidesliggende landsbyer der, de fleste av dem over helgen.

    Ved siden av knebøy kjegle Wonderkop, gjorde en glitrende hvit likvogn seg langs rutted skitt veien som sirkler bakken. Omsider likvogn stanset, det kan drive lenger. Bakdekselet ble åpnet, som for å gi liket et pust av frisk luft, og en håndfull menn som hadde fulgt bilen fortsatte til fots.

    Konsernet nærmet Small koppie, og vedtatt av en stor flekk av blod som noen hadde inngjerdet med grener. En åpen beholder av snus lå i sentrum. Det var et tilbud til forfedrene av slektninger og kolleger som tidligere hadde kommet til å ta den drepte miner ånd til å følge det kroppslige restene hjem.

    Det var her at åstedet etterforskere hadde kalt to kropper A og B.

    Passerer bloodstains av A og B uten å bryte skride, gruppen av sørgende raskt klatret over den største av granitt profiler, etterlater flere spray-malt gule prikker, betydningen av som jeg ikke kunne skjelne.

    De til slutt stoppet på en ubestemmelig oppdatering av jorden. Dette var der Lonmin fjellboret handler Andries Motlalepule Ntsenyeho døde, i alderen 42. Jorden viste ingen gule maling merking, og heller ikke bokstaver å markere nøkkelen bevis eller organer. Jeg selv hadde uten å vite gikk over dette stedet flere ganger.

    En mann samlet jord og ga det til Ntsenyeho yngre bror, Tebogo, å sette i en sammenkrøllet hvit plastpose. Så senket hodet og ba stille.

    Det er to logiske lekmann muligheter til denne tilsynelatende særhet ingen spraymaling viser hvor Andries Ntsenyeho hadde dødd: at dette ikke er hvor han døde, eller at spraymaling på sanden har blitt gikk over og forvitret i de to ukene siden scene ble undersøkt.

    Den tredje muligheten er at de esoteriske krav åstedet etterforskere ikke trenger å sette maling ved siden av organer som ligger i de åpne, hvor de lett oppdages i et flyfoto, og matchet til GPS koordinater.)

    Jeg var på Small koppie med CityPress er Charl Du Plessis. Vi ønsket å prøve å finne de manglende bokstaver og fylle noen av hullene i vår forståelse av tragedien. Mens clambering noen fire meter opp på en stein, fant Du Plessis en pinne og en pipe. I nærheten var blodflekker.

    Deretter precariously nær kanten, oppdaget han en kule. En bøyd og skrapt kule som så veldig mye som en R5 kule. Det hadde tydeligvis gått som en farsott gang eller to ganger av granitten.

    Vi kalte den uavhengige Politiet Investigative direktoratet, IPID, som sendte etterforskere innen et par timer, samt en spesialist åsted etterforsker.

    Det var lærerikt, og sykelig fascinerende å se: stedet av kulen ble logget og kontekstualiseres med hensyn til de andre rettsmedisinske tegninger. Blodet ble penslet og prøver tatt, for å se om de matchet noen av de organer.

    Politiet trio ville ikke bli trukket ut på noen av bevisene (så utakknemlig av dem, virkelig, etter at vi hadde funnet dem kulen). De ikke må.

    Siden publiseringen av artikkelen posisjonering at politiet hadde drept noen av gruvearbeiderne på Small koppie, har personer i nærheten av forskjellige armer av etterforskningen nærmet Daily Maverick, verifisere at hoveddelen av argumentet.

    Våre pålitelige kilder forteller oss at bare ett skytevåpen ble funnet på åstedet – en pistol – i F.

    Vi har senere funnet at avgrensninger gå opp til bokstaven X og at noen av dem viser hvor likene lå.

    G og H var faktisk to gruvearbeidere som døde ved siden av hverandre, som var E og D, og ​​J og K. X, også viser hvor en kropp lå.

    Den kritiske bokstaven N ble imidlertid feilaktig merket: det burde vært bokstaven M. Filen kan gjenspeile M for stillingen merket N på rock. Dette er noe som kunne ha ført til mye forvirring, uklarhet hendelser, noe som gjør rettferdighet unnvikende. Uansett åstedet feil, markerte Rock n over blodpøl faktisk ikke merke en kropp.

    Og dermed gruvearbeider N (eller M) døde der, fanget. De steiner og trær rundt ham bærer ingen tegn til bullet merkene. Han ble ikke drept i en vill spray av kuler.

    Og nå, for det viktigste punktet: Det var faktisk 14 lik funnet på Small koppie, inkludert at av Andries Ntsenyeho. Vi har blitt fortalt at mange av likene ble skutt i ryggen. Noen av disse likene tilsynelatende hadde tre skuddskader i et nært gruppering.

    Disse peker på at gruvearbeiderne ble skutt på kloss hold av automatisk skudd. Det er edle få steiner som viser bullet merkene. Jeg regnet mindre enn ti, rendering en teori om sprøyting av området med langtrekkende kuler en løgn. Ntsenyeho hadde tre sår, ett i nakken og to i lysken.

    Så gjorde politiet, som de skulle angripe Small koppie, tror de var i fare fra de innesperrede gruvearbeiderne? Bare den ene pistol ble funnet på åstedet, i F. Til tross for dette, kunne politiet ha trodd de var i fare, hvis de gikk inn til fots. Likevel store slitebanen merker og små trær skjøvet over på ett av to mulige oppføringer i den sentrale clearing, der flere lik ble funnet, tyder på at pansrede nyalas kunne og faktisk gå inn.

    Det er ikke klart når de gjorde, men de kunne ha fraktet politiet til rydningen på den skjebnesvangre ettermiddagen, og vært i stand til å ha råd til politibeskyttelse.

    Vi har øyenvitner som så nyalas omringe Small koppie i hendelsene som fulgte TV-skyting på Wonderkop, rundt 300 meter mot sørøst. Fullstendig fysisk beskyttelse var tilgjengelig for politiet involvert.

    Politiet var enten ikke i ekstrem fare, eller kunne ha valgt å ikke være i fare. Dette kan ha vært personlig valg eller en ordre fra kommandanten sin.

    Og dette ber spørsmålet: Hva der politiet gjør bruk av dødelig makt og flytte inn i den lille koppie likevel?

    Hva var deres mål?

    Politiet sier at deres mål på dagen var å spre gruvearbeiderne.

    Dette hadde allerede oppnådd etter den tid small koppie ble angrepet. Hvis de ønsket å arrestere de som muligens har vært involvert i drapene på tre gruvearbeidere, to sikkerhetsvakter og to politimenn i de foregående dagene, ville de ikke ha endt skyting 14 personer, de gruvearbeiderne ble fanget allerede.

    Hvis bringe til bok potensielle mordere, i live, var på deres sinn, trenger ingen rifler har blitt brukt.

    Så hva som var på tankene sine, hvis jeg kan collectivise dette, etter den nylig mye brukt logikk felles formål?

    I dagene etter hacking til døden av de to politimennene ble grusomme mobil bilder sirkulert gjennom politiets sirkler. Politimenn rundt om i verden kan vise drap på sine egne med ekstrem sinne.

    Vi er informert av kommentarer som spenner fra Bheki Cele og Susan Shabangu oss skyte for å drepe uttalelser, til dagens politimester Riah Phiyega følger etter massakren, at politimennene på Marikana hadde gjort noe galt.

    I ettermiddag varmen av 31. august håndfull av familie og stipendiat gruvearbeidere av Andries Ntsenyeho raskt gjort sin vei tilbake til kisten. Jeg spurte om de hadde sett obduksjonsrapporten. Hans bror Tebogo svarte at de hadde dødsattesten: “Det bare sier at han døde av unaturlige årsaker. Ingenting mer.

    Vi har mange spørsmål. Så gjør vi alle. Men den sanne historien om hva som skjedde på den lille koppie 16. august 2012 er ute, og hver dag, vi får nærmere den.” DM

    se også: “Slaughter at South Africa’s Marikana mine: the bloody politics of platinum”:

    Striking South African mineworkers were gunned down by police on Thursday.

    Charlie Kimber looks at events leading up to the massacre—and the business interests behind it.

    Police in South Africa have opened fire at striking workers at the Marikana platinum mine near Rustenburg, leaving at least 18 people dead. Ten people have died over the last few days in other clashes…. @ http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=29359

    “The truth behind the Marikana massacre”. 34 South African miners shot down by police in cold blood. The world was shocked by TV images last week of striking South African miners being mowed down by police gunfire. But the truth behind the massacre is even more shocking….” @ http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/printart.php?id=29404

    “How police planned and carried out the massacre at Marikana” – Thapelo Lekgowa, Botsang Mmope and Peter Alexander investigate the scene of the killing.

    Strikers were surrounded by heavily armed police and soldiers, and killed while fleeing from gunfire. The state forces were not “protecting themselves”. They participated in well-organised, premeditated slaughter…. @ http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/printart.php?id=29403

    Debatt og nyheter: facebook side: Justice for Marikaka @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/275097599265710/

    og debatt @ http://selim1404.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/is-south-africa-becoming-a-one-party-police-state-again/

    Mange Takk.

  11. Dr Selim Gool says :

    WELL FOLKS, how is your day progressing eh?

    Even the “Newspaper of the LEFT” Klassekampen (Class Struggle) in Oslo, Norway REFUSES TO PUBLISH the truth of what happened @ the platinum Marikana Mines in Rustenburg in the North of Transvaal Province, South Africa!

    Why not?

    They have – I have sent to the editor, Mr B.B. and to the Foreign Affairs section ALL the relevant links appearing above in this blogg, and still they make mistakes and spread dis-information!!!!

    “Kjære Joakim,

    Takk for en interesant artikkel om Sør-Afrika i dagens KK (Ignorerer beviser) fre. 31 august, MEN ……

    Du skriver: “Trass i at TV-bilder viser politi som skyter ned og dreper streikende arbeidere …..”

    FEIL!!!!

    KALLE FAKTE er: 4 more bodies @ Marikana!

    Marikana’s Small Koppie: 14 dead, 300 metres away from Wonderkop.

    Why?

    dailymaverick.co.za

    Since the publication of the article positing that police had murdered some of the miners at the Small Koppie, individuals close to various arms of the investigation have approached us, verifying the main thrust of the argument. We can now confirm the frightening details: 14 dead at the Small Koppie…

    Dr Selim Gool – commented on Is South Africa Becoming a One-Party Police State (again!)?

    New post: @ http://links.org.au/node/3002

    South Africa: Marikana massacre – a turning point?

    ” … Shot while trying to escape

    The media have highlighted police shooting automatic weapons at striking mineworkers running towards them from the rocky kopje where they were camped, and bodies falling to the ground dead.

    The police had erected a line of razor wire, with a five-metre gap in it, through which some mineworkers were attempting to return to Enkanini to escape tear gas and water cannon directed at them from behind.

    Researchers from the University of Johannesburg (not journalists, to their shame) have revealed that the most killing did not take place there.

    Most strikers had dispersed in the opposite direction from Enkanini, trying to escape the police.

    At a koppie situated behind the hill camp there are remnants of pools of blood.

    Police markers in yellow paint on this “killing koppie” show where corpses were removed: there are labels with letters at least up to “J”.

    Shots were fired from helicopters to kill other escaping workers, and some strikers, mineworkers report, were crushed by police Nyalas (armoured vehicles).

    Within days police swept the whole area clean of rubber bullets, bullet casings and tear-gas canisters.

    Only patches of burned grass are visible, the remains of police fires used to obscure evidence of deaths.

    There are still workers missing, unaccounted for in official body counts. The death toll is almost certainly higher than 34.

    The cumulative evidence is that this was not panicky police firing at workers they believed were about to attack them with machetes and sticks.

    Why otherwise leave a narrow gap in the razor wire?

    Why kill workers running away from the police lines? It was premeditated murder by a militarised police force to crush the strike, which must have been ordered from higher up the chain of command.

    It has recently been reported that autopsies reveal that most of the workers were shot in the back, confirmation that they were mowed down by the police while escaping…
    ———–

    THE COVER-UP IS IN FULL SWING! (by the pseudo-left also!)- who/whom are they trying to protect? Their “causasian-northern-born” highly-paid academics and researchers who for 30-40 years have been spreading LIES and DIS-INFORMATION about the REAL situation in the so-called LIBERATION MOVEMENTS in Southern Africa? (No names mentioned!)

    Dr Selim Y Gool
    Setalidvn. 22
    N – 3864 Rauland
    epost: selimgool@yahoo.com
    mobil: mobil: 41070220

  12. Dr Selim Gool says :

    Sunday: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Charges-droped-against-Marikana-miners-20120902

    Charges dropped against Marikana miners
    2012-09-02 14:56

    “The murder charge against the current 270 suspects… will be formally withdrawn provisionally in court on their next court appearance,” said Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, the national deputy director of public prosecutions.

    “Other provisional charges will remain.”

    The workers were arrested for public violence on 16 August after 34 of their colleagues were gunned down by police at the Lonmin mine in Marikana. Another 78 were injured.

    Last week, prosecutors announced that the arrested men would also face murder and attempted murder charges.

    Unions, civil society, law experts and political parties roundly condemned the decision.

    Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said he would seek clarity on the reasons for the move.

    “The protesters are to be released conditionally on a warning and their case postponed pending the finalisation of investigations, including the investigations by the commission,” said Jiba.

    Jiba said the release of workers would be carried out in phases.

    Those whose residential addresses were verified by police will be requisitioned to appear in court on Monday, and an application will be made for their release from custody.

    Those whose residential details have not been verified will remain in custody until their next court appearance on 6 September, she added.

    – SAPA
    ________

    also: Murder charges against Marikana miners withdrawn

    http://mg.co.za/print/2012-09-02-murder-charges-against-marikana-miners-withdrawn

    02 SEP 2012 15:00 – NICKOLAUS BAUER, DESHNEE SUBRAMANY

    The National Prosecuting Authority has provisionally withdrawn murder charges laid against 270 Marikana miners, pending further investigations.

    “We have decided to withdraw charges against the incarcerated miners and will release them from prison until the further investigations are undertaken,” Acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba told reporters in Pretoria on Sunday.

    Jiba explained the decision was made after “intense deliberations” and was not final.

    “The NPA wants to wait for judicial inquiry, but won’t necessarily do so if a prima facie case in front of it,” she said.

    Jiba said some miners would be released at their next court case, which was due on Monday, while the rest would be released on September 12 once their addresses were confirmed.

    Murder was added to the charge sheet against the miners last week after originally being charged with public violence, illegal gathering and attempted murder.

    A deadly shootout with police occured on August 16 at Lonmin’s Marikana mine in the North West during a protest over wage agreements. Thirty-four people were killed and 78 were wounded.

    Another 10 people were killed in what was thought to be union violence a week before the incident. Two security guards were also killed during the protests.

    ‘Common purpose’

    The miners were charged under the “common purpose” doctrine, which was frequently used by the apartheid state to implicate an entire group of people in crimes by a few individuals – in spite of those being charged on the periphery often being innocent.

    The director of Public Prosecutions in the North West, Johan Smit, explained on Sunday the case of the other 10 miners who were killed a week before the shootout would be handled separately, as it occured at a different time and at a different place. He added the NPA had seven suspects for those killings.

    He also said one suspect was being questioned for the killing of the two security guards.

    The move comes as lawyers representing the miners were preparing an urgent court application to be brought against President Jacob Zuma, demanding their immediate release in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday.

    Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said via a statement the president could not “accede to the demand” and that he would wait for the Farlam commission of inquiry’s recommendations before undertaking any action.

  13. Dr Selim Gool says :

    Social Movements in South Africa

    @ http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/3677

    — by Zachary Levenson

    A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN continued stuffing an old tire with bits of straw, refusing to stop as two younger men pleaded with her not to ignite it.

    She didn’t seem to take them seriously, presumably because one of them was wearing a Democratic Alliance (DA) shirt, the reigning party in the Western Cape and largely despised by black voters.

    It was hard to hear the substance of the debate over the chanting of struggle songs and vigorous toyi-toyiing, not to mention the crowd shouting down officers in an SUV marked “Anti-Land Invasion Unit.”(1)

    It was only after a well-known leader of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign told her that a fire would provoke arrests that she relinquished the kindling.

    With the burnt asphalt of Symphony Way easily visible from the previous few days’ protests, it seemed obvious where this was going, but this time no tires were torched; the critics of the tactic won out….

    (read complete article @ above link)

    See also: The Left and South Africa’s Crisis

    — an interview with Brian Ashley

    BRIAN ASHLEY IS the editor of the South African journal AMANDLA! He was interviewed for Against the Current by David Finkel and Dianne Feeley.

    Against the Current: Please tell us about the magazine Amandla! — what’s your orientation and perspective, and what’s your audience in the overall framework of the South African left?

    Brian Ashley: Amandla! was initiated in 2006 as the crisis in the country was deepening, as neoliberal policies exacerbated the divisions of apartheid and as the crisis in the African National Congress (ANC, the governing party — ed.) and its alliance partners (South African Communist Party and trade union federation COSATU) deepened.

    It initially drew the active involvement of leftists inside and outside the ANC Alliance, although those of us outside the Alliance led the initiative….

    (more @ link below)

    http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/3675

    and: (on the heavy side but an important debate art.):

    A “Tunisia Moment” Coming?

    — Niall Reddy

    A PROMINENT COMMENTATOR and a brother of the former president, Moeletsi Mbeki caused a major stir last year when he announced that South Africa is headed for a “Tunisia Moment.”

    The vociferous denial that the comment elicited from local elites was itself evidence of a growing consensus, now encompassing much more than the odd Marxist analyst, that South Africa is headed towards total social crisis.

    As the eurozone crisis and signs of fatigue in Asian economies seem likely to arrest the already anemic global recovery, that conclusion seems ever more unavoidable.

    This situation is the outcome of the African National Congress’s Faustian pact with big business, which left the uneven structures of apartheid capitalism intact and sacrificed substantive distribution for the accumulation of a small elite, embedded with financial capital….

    @ http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/3678?fb_action_ids=10151207530910070&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=timeline_og&action_object_map=%7B%2210151207530910070%22%3A480253471994466%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210151207530910070%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

  14. Dr Selim Gool says :

    Desmond Tutu expresses outrage at failing politicians in South Africa

    Archbishop emeritus speaks out against greed, failing schools and ‘nightmare’ of Marikana mine massacre

    by David Smith

    Tuesday 4 September 2012 15.52 BST

    It was a cry, raw and anguished, that pierced the convivial party atmosphere and laid bare the sense of anomie gnawing away at South Africa.

    The archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu had an emotional outburst on Monday night as he castigated politicians for greed, failing schools and the “nightmare” of the Marikana mine massacre.

    His impromptu speech shocked guests at a book launch in Cape Town, according to local media reports, which said a “chatty audience” including senior government officials was immediately silenced.

    Reports vary on his exact opening words, but a spokesman for Tutu indicated that he shouted:

    “What the heck are you doing?”

    Beeld newspaper then quoted a highly emotional Tutu as saying: “I am 80 years old. Can’t you allow us elders to go to our graves with a smile, knowing that this is a good country? Because truly – it is a good country.”

    Tutu, a Nobel peace laureate described as the moral conscience of South Africa, has not been afraid to criticise the governing African National Congress (ANC), for example over the refusal to grant the Dalai Lama an entrance visa.

    On Monday he was at the District Six museum for the launch of the struggle veteran Michael Lapsley’s book Redeeming the Past, along with guests including Marius Fransman, the deputy foreign minister, and other high-ranking figures.

    Lapsley was an ANC chaplain who lost an eye and both hands to a parcel bomb sent by the apartheid regime. Later, speaking from the podium, Tutu expressed frustration at the betrayal of such sacrifices after the dawn of multiracial democracy in 1994.

    “Is this the kind of freedom people were tortured and people were maimed for?” he was quoted as saying. “I ask myself, why were we in the struggle? The highest price was paid for freedom, but are we treating it as something precious?

    “How can we have children 18 years later who go to school under trees and whose education is being crushed without textbooks and no one is held accountable? Have we so quickly forgotten the price of freedom?

    “People are going to sleep hungry in this freedom for which people were tortured and harmed … It is difficult to believe people are getting such money and benefits, and are driving such flashy cars while the masses suffer in cramped shacks.”

    He criticised those who enrich themselves where ministerial rules allow them. “It’s legal, but is it moral?” he reportedly asked. “Please, please, please, come to your senses.”

    Tutu said the shooting at Marikana reminded him of events under apartheid.

    “In 2012? In a democracy? In a new South Africa? Have we forgotten so soon? Marikana felt like a nightmare, but that is what our democracy is in 2012.”

    The Marikana tragedy, in which police gunned down 34 striking mineworkers, has been described as probably the lowest point in South Africa’s short post-apartheid history and prompted much soul-searching in the economically divided nation.

    Earlier this week, Tutu caused controversy when he accused Tony Blair and George Bush of lying over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and called for them to answer charges of war crimes.

    © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

    @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/04/desmond-tutu-expresses-outrage-failing-politicians/print
    ___________________________________

    http://www.utrop.no/Nyheter/Utenriks/23336

    – Blair og Bush bør stilles for retten

    Tony Blair og George W. Bush bør stilles for retten ved den internasjonale straffedomstolen i Haag (ICC) for sin rolle i Irak-krigen, mener den sør-afrikanske erkebiskopen Desmond Tutu (bildet).

    Publisert: 03.09.2012 13:00 Av Claudio Castello
    I et innlegg i The Observer angriper nobelprisvinneren og helten fra kampen mot apartheid Blair og Bush og beskylder dem for dobbeltmoral.

    Tutu beskylder de to tidligere lederne for å lyve om Iraks masseødeleggelsesvåpen. Han mener krigen har ført til en mer destabilisert og splittet verden enn noen annen konflikt i historien.

    – USAs og Storbritannias tidligere ledere fabrikkerte grunnen til å kunne oppføre seg som bøllene i skolegården og splitte oss. De har drevet oss til kanten av en avgrunn, der vi nå står med Iran og Syria foran oss, skriver Tutu i innlegget.

    Andre regler for afrikanske ledere

    Tutu mener det tilsynelatende gjelder forskjellige regler for vestlige og afrikanske ledere når det kommer til rettsforfølgelser i Haag-domstolen.

    – Antallet drepte under og etter Irak-krigen er alene nok for en folkemordsrettsak, skriver den sør-afrikanske geistlige videre i kronikken

    Tilbakeviser kritikk

    Blair tilbakeviser på det sterkeste Tutus kritikk og sier situasjonen i Irak nå er mye bedre enn under Saddam Hussein.

    – Jeg har stor respekt for erkebiskop Tutus kamp mot apartheid. Men å gjenta at vi løy om etterretningen er simpelthen galt, noe alle uavhengig analyser har vist, sier Blair til The Observer.

    Fra http://www.utrop.no/Nyheter/Utenriks/23336

    Alt innhold er opprettshavelig beskyttet. Eminol.com og Utrop.no © utrop@utrop.no

  15. Dr Selim Gool says :

    A real danger of fascism in SA by Terry Bell

    @ http://terrybellwrites.com/2012/09/06/a-real-danger-of-fascism-in-sa/

    Posted on September 6, 2012 0

    Last year Rhodes University academic Jane Duncan warned of “proto fascism” emerging in South Africa. At the same time, in an article for a local publication, I wrote that “the first loud, trumpet calls to fascism in modern South Africa have been sounded”.

    Both of us were referring to the actions and statements by, and the apparent financial backing for, the then president of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema.

    Last week at the twenty-fourth Socialist International (SI) congress in Cape Town, a similar warning about the threat of fascism was issued. However, this referred to a global danger.

    And this week, as the local mining industry faced turmoil, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) spokesperson, Lesiba Seshoka, also raised the spectre of fascism.

    If such warnings are considered melodramatic, it can only be because fascism is a little understood, ill-defined term that tends to send shivers of apprehension through most minds.

    It does so because of its association with, particularly, Nazi Germany and gas chambers. But Hitler’s Germany was a particularly horrendous outgrowth of fascism; an extreme version of the ideology in practice.

    Authoritarian and intolerant of democratic norms, fascism does not need to indulge in genocide to exist: the destruction of democratic structures, with mass obedience and acquiescence ensured by prison terms, intimidation and enforced exile is enough.

    Invariably, at the apex of what is a political pyramid, is the Leader.

    This ideology exists as a form of political virus in every society marked by inequality and exploitation. In times of economic growth, stability and general feelings of hope for the future, it is relatively dormant, often to the extent that it is barely noticed, a minor pimple on the backside of the body politic.

    At the core of fascist thinking are concepts of nationalism and ethnicity, of the notion of a single, defined, “national” group needing to be led to be led out of suffering caused by external or corrupt forces. It is an idea that ignores the realities of rich and poor, of oppressor and oppressed, exploiter and exploited existing within the same, nationally or ethnically defined groups.

    As such fascists are hostile to organisations such as trade unions that, for all their faults, usually uphold collective and egalitarian principles.

    But authoritarian thinking and its political extension of fascism, can come into their own at times of crisis and when the existing political order — especially of the liberal, parliamentary variety — is seen widely to be failing and the traditional Left seems ideologically bankrupt and compromised.

    It is at such times that the wage and welfare gap and growing unemployment become more highly politicised.

    The labour movement, internationally, has recognised for several years that such times are very much with us; times when demagogues emerge to prey on the insecurities, anger and fears of vulnerable workers in a way that often catapults would-be leaders to prominence.

    This theme of a world in ongoing and politically dangerous crisis dominated the SI congress that came and went in Cape Town last week with scarcely a whimper, let alone a bang. And with no South African trade unionists in sight.
    However, the more than 100 political parties and groups from around the world confirmed everything the labour movement has been saying for years about the global economy.

    Ironically, the voice of labour has also often been in opposition to many parties that are members of this extraordinarily diverse body that professes the democratic principles and “socialism” espoused by most trade unions.

    If the ANC, the host member of the SI, is a broad church, the SI qualifies as a veritable Tower of ideological Babel. But, in most cases, the representative parties and groups owe — or at least once owed — their origins or support to organised workers.

    This means that even parties in opposition to one another on a national level can be members. In Mauritius, for example, the governing Labour Party is a member alongside the opposition Mauritian Militant Movement. And in Mali, an umbrella movement — Adema-PASJ — that brings together four political parties, has a seat at the SI table.

    Former East European communist parties that have altered their outlooks, although not necessarily many of their leaders, also now march under the SI banner. Yet there seems to be unanimous — in some cases, perhaps belated — agreement among all SI members that the global economic crisis has far from run its course; that much turbulence still lies ahead.
    With this conclusion comes the analysis that trickle-down, neo-liberal, Washington consensus policies have failed. To which the labour movement can chorus: we told you so. Except that it and the political Left have done little to fill the vaccuum created, leaving the way open to the demagogic Right that, in South Africa, has a distinctly local flavour.

    According to striking miners at Gold Fields, for example, they have been assured at meetings that “the Chinese are just waiting to come in” should their strikes cause mine closures. The assumption is that Chinese investors will happily meet all the demands of labour.

    However, if those workers who have been told to look east for economic salvation could consult their comrades in Zambia, they might have a different view: there has been a less than happy relationship there on many Chinese-owned mines.

    Or they could attend the screening of China Blue, a much-hailed 2005 documentary that is one of the “best of the decade” films to be screened at the Tri Continental human rights Film Festival that opens in Johannesburg today (subs: Friday) and in Cape Town next week.

    China Blue is perhaps unique in that it was shot over a year. It follows the progress of a young rural teenager working in what was regarded as one of the better garment factories in that country.

    Like the SI and the unions, it provides no answers, but reveals clearly why South African workers cannot compete with their Chinese counterparts — and why they should not wish to do so.

    selcoolie (aka Dr Cool)

    September 6, 2012

    Dear Terry,

    Thanks again for a timely article.

    Yes, I agree – there is much fuzzy thinking and rather inappropriate comparisons made with “classical” European fascism (the corporate State of Benito Mussolini, and the Nazi Party of Adolf Hitler) and any Third World variant of the Strong Corporatist State et al.

    I was re-watching an educational dvd from the International Institute for Research & Education (www.iire.org) on: “Ernest Mandel: A Life for the revolution” a documentary by Chris Den Hond, 90 mins. and in an interview Mandel, an world -renound political economist and political activist, has this to say:

    “The REAL function of fascism was to revive the rate of profit after the depression of 1929-32, to smash the workers´organisations (Social-Democratic and Communist) physically in the streets and neighbourhods, and to re-militarize the economy” (that the Keynesian public sector spending and public consumption alternatives – the New Deal etc – were not combatting unemployment which remained high until the re-armament of 1939 i.e. Mandel says that the “share of wages (in the National Income) between the period of 1922 and 1939 was almost constant, while the share of profits increased by 300% ” (NOT 30%).

    THAT WAS THE REAL FUNCTION OF THE FASCIST COUNTER-REVOLUTION!

    O.K. Fast forwards to 2012 – after 2008 and the crisis of the banking-subprime/housing-loan-scam that started in Wall Street and soon enveloped the global economy, the Western/Eastern capitalist economies have stagnated and “crisis” is written large at their door-steps!

    And what is the “solution”?

    Take a look at any business paper and you will see the “Bosses Solution”!
    But on the “International Left”?

    “We are monitoring the situation … ” say the comrades …..

    • Dr Selim Gool says :

      from: http://terrybellwrites.com/2012/09/06/a-real-danger-of-fascism-in-sa/#comment-549

      “I have been thinking of your theme the whole night and remembered that R.W Johnston also had made a similar comment in:

      R. W. JOHNSON in “FALSE START IN SOUTH AFRICA” @ http://newleftreview.org/II/58/r-w-johnson-false-start-in-south-africa

      He also writes in his book, South Africa’s Brave New World: The Beloved Country Since the End of Apartheid:

      ” … Chapter 2 “Godfathers and Assasins” breaks new ground and presents a ‘Liberation Movement’ that as soon as it came into power prostrated itself at the feet of Johannesburg’s white corporate capital, not only its more respectable face in Gavin Relly of the mining and finance giant Anglo-American, or the insurance magnate Donny Gordan of Liberty Life Foundation, but the likes of hotel, retail bottlestore, casino magnate and sleaze merchant Sol Kerzner and late Afrikaner rebel mining hustler Brett Kebble.

      Soon ANC notables were involved in the gambling, casino, crime and prostitution penumbra, with Kerzner as a major ‘Godfather of the Nation’.

      A new African kleptocracy was being born while “Die Stem” was still hanging in the air!

      The rest is history, as they say.

      Sleaze, undercover operations and character assinations (and ‘real’ ones) became part of the ANC’s modus operandi in power.

      “Ideology” and the once professed goals of poverty amelioration and a “Better Life for All” (ANCs election slogan of 1994), was soon pushed aside as monetary “self-interest”, or plain “greed”, took its place as “an (African) nationalist bourgeoisie was simply replacing an old (Afrikaner) nationalist bourgeoisie at the helm of the state” (p. 17).

      Central to this new orientation was ‘bra’ (Brother) Joe Modisie, gangster, boxer, truck-driver, football player, Mandela’s chaffeur and co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, later being its Commander-in-Chief and later Minister of Defense in the new South Africa.

      He was thus a central figure in the ‘arms deal’ scandal, allegedly getting a R 10 million bribe for his facilitating role. He died a very rich man with a contested Estate.

      But he was also a police spy and double-agent. “The big question about Modise was whether, like so many in the ANC, he was actually a spy for the other side. Or other sides, for once an ANC activist had decided to pass intelligence to ‘the Boers’, it usually followed that he was ready to make sinmilar deals with the CIA, MI5 etc.The evidence against Modise is overwhelming … [p. 31].

      Everything about their life in exile and Modise’s post-1994 career also suggests that Modise and [T] Nkobi were both informants for the apartheid security police. Certainly, when I (R W Johnston) interviewed operatives of the old apartheid security police (some by then in Mbeki’s employ), I found they universally agreed that Modise had been a police informer.”

      His career in many ways throws light on the unwritten history and trajectory of the African National Congress in exile and Jonhston ironically names him as “The Father of the New South Africa” (pp.46-48).

      Fellow gangsters like Thomas Nkobi and Alfred Nzo were also to have highly placed positions in the movement, while KwaZulu Natal Stalinist “hardliner” Harry Gwala and his protege Jacob Zuma were to put their own militaristic stamp on the armed strugles of the youth in the late 1980s.

      Now with Zuma as President, will the pendulum swing in the direction of dictatorship and a ‘hard line’?

      There had always “co-existed” many political ideologies and class trajectories in the ANC.

      However, there was only one force that held “real” power and dictated “policy” in the years of exile since the early 1960s: the South African Communist Party (SACP).

      This became clear when the “exiles” returned home and put their indelible “stamp” on the proceedings.

      The UDF was soon disbanded… ”

      It is this same SACP that opposes the independent struggle of the workers in Marikana and elsewhere on the platinum reef, as this is the new source of income / accumulation and revenue of the likes of Cyril Ramaphosa and many of new African National Congress elite. The “merging” of the interests of NUM/COSATU, the ANC elite and Big Capital are too clear for everyone to see!

      Will we thus be facing a Military-Authorititarian regime soon: to retore “Order” and “the rate of profit”?

  16. selcoolie says :

    http://links.org.au/node/3022

    THE ROLE OF THE SACP TODAY!

    Revolutionary Vanguard of the Masses (or)

    Counter-Revolutionary Force within the ANC_Alliance?

    For the RECORD JACOB:  “WE THINK YOU ARE LYING!!!”

    . “There was a time when Jacob Zuma got by with dodging serious issues and refusing to stand accountable. But the country is now lurching from one crisis to another, and South Africa needs a president who can show real leadership. Zuma had the chance to do in Parliament on Thursday; possibly the only thing of significance he said in two hours was a hint that the state could soon act against Julius Malema. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY….”
    .



    . AS TOWARDS FASCISM WE MARCH ….  ANC DOGS PREPARE FOR THE WORSE!
    .
    . Marikana: Govt will no longer tolerate violence and intimidation
    . Government
    . 14 September 2012
    .
    . Illegal gatherings, carrying of dangerous weapons and incitement will be dealt with accordingly
    .
    . Statement by Government on the situation in the mining sector
    .
    . 14 Sep 2012
    .
    . Government has noted and is concerned with the amount of violence, threats and intimidation that is currently taking place in our country, particularly in the mining sector. 
The Ministers responsible for the security of the country have met and reflected on the situation that is prevailing in the country currently. 
These acts of violence and intimidation clearly undermine government efforts of ensuring economic and security stability.
    . 

    . Government recognises that if the current situation continues unabated it will make it even harder to overcome our challenges of slow economic growth, high unemployment, poverty and inequality.
    .
    . Government will not tolerate these acts any further. 
Government has put measures in place to ensure that the current situation is brought under control. 
These measures include the following;
    . 

    . * Illegal gatherings, carrying of dangers weapons, incitement, as well as threats of violence against anyone in the affected areas will be dealt with accordingly.
    .
    . * Law enforcement agencies will not hesitate to arrest those who are found to have contravened legislations governing these acts.
    .
    . * Commission of all these offences is in clear violation of the Regulations of Gatherings Act 205 of 1993 and the Dangerous Weapons Act 71 of 1968.
    .
    . Government is making a clarion call to all South Africans to desist from these illegal acts and work with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that the situation is brought to normality.
    .
    . Statement issued by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), September 14 2012,
    . 
 @ http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71654?oid=326554&sn=Detail&pid=71616

 – Marikana: Govt will no longer tolerate violence and intimidation
    . 
www.politicsweb.co.za



 Radebe: Mines will settle down – or else

    14 SEP by FARANAAZ PARKER

    In an unprecedented show of force, state ministers, police and the military have vowed to crack down on “illegal” and violent gatherings…

    @ http://mg.co.za/article/2012-09-14-radebe-mines-will-settle-down-or-elsehttp://bit.ly/USermi
mg.co.za

Reporter’s Marikana Notebook: The government’s clenched fist

    by SIPHO HLONGWANE @http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-09-14-reporters-marikana-notebook-the-governments-clenched-fist
    
Reporter’s Marikana Notebook: The government’s clenched fist
dailymaverick.co.zaAfter some weeks of silence, we’ve finally heard back from the government. First Jacob Zuma spoke in Parliament, and then the ministers in the security cluster met and released a statement. And yes, a fist was extended to the striking miners. No olive branch in sight. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
    . 

    . 
WATCH MY LIPS: “This is not a state of emergency….. (yet!)
    .
    . A racist and intolerant country cannot call itself civilised
    . 14 SEP 2012 
    .
    . by JONATHAN POLLAK
    . …See More
http://dlvr.it/28ds6S
    . —————————————-
    .
    ON THE ROLE OF THE SACP – THE VANGUARD OF THE COUNTER-REVOLUION?
    .
    . http://links.org.au/node/3022
    . 
South Africa: ‘The SACP has become a vanguard of ANC power factionalism’
    . 
By Dale T. McKinley
    . September 10, 2012 — South African Civil Society Information Service — If ever we needed to be reminded of Milan Kundera’s famous axiom that, “the struggle … against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”, then it is in respect of the post-apartheid history of the South African Communist Party (SACP).
    .
    . Why?
    .
    . Because it is a history that shows us, in so many different ways, how and why the SACP has gradually but systematically become a vanguard of African National Congress (ANC) factionalist politics as opposed to its self-proclaimed role as an independent, progressive force representing and leading the “national democratic, anti-capitalist struggle” of the working class.
    .
    . Have we forgotten how after Chris Hani’s assassination in 1993, much of the SACP leadership rushed to embrace the very politics and perks of new governmental power that Hani had so clearly warned against and then vigorously helped implement the anti-working class policies that the SACP purported to oppose?
    .
    . Or the SACP’s 1998 congress, when the newly elected leadership (which included the still incumbent Blade Nzimande as general secretary and Jeremy Cronin as deputy general secretary) cut insider deals with ANC leaders that killed off any stated desire that the majority of the SACP membership had for a clear political and organisational independence from the ANC?
    .
    . Have we forgotten how over the last decade or so, the SACP has gotten rid of and/or marginalised all of its critically minded intellectuals and leader-activists who dared stand up for a working-class politics independent of the ANC’s deracialised capitalism and speak out against the increasing centralisation of power by the party’s national leadership as well as the budding cult of personality around its general secretary?
    .
    . And, how this “radical and progressive” party whose constitutional “guiding principles” include combating “tribalism, sex discrimination, regionalism, chauvinism and all forms of narrow nationalism” gave its full political and organisational backing to and then joyously celebrated (as a “victory for the working class and all progressive forces”) the rise to power of an ANC leader – Jacob Zuma – who has consistently embraced homophobic, misogynist, chauvinistic national-regional, ethnically oriented and anti-worker ideas and practices?
    .
    . Have we forgotten how a few years back, in direct violation of the party’s own constitution, which stated that the general secretary must be a full-time employee of the SACP, Nzimande accepted his appointment as am inister in Zuma’s cabinet and then, over time, managed to out-manoeuvre any opposition such that the SACP’s constitution was changed accordingly at the recently held 13th national congress?
    .
    .
    . And how, no sooner had Nzimande settled into his ministerial position with a salary package in excess of R2 million per annum (now also enjoyed by the six other SACP leaders who occupy ministerial positions) than he authorised the use of over R1 million of public money to purchase a luxury vehicle for himself while simultaneously berating others in the ANC, in the corporate sector and South African society as a whole for being “out of touch with the workers and poor” and engaging in “excessive, conspicuous consumption”?
    .
    . Have we forgotten the increasingly close organisational, ideological and “business” ties that the SACP has developed over the last several years with the Communist Party of China, a party which provides “world class” examples of political authoritarianism, corrupt bureaucratism and commandist capitalism masquerading as socialism, while the SACP simultaneously preaches about anti-capitalism, workers’ rights, freedom of expression and the contemporary building of socialism in South Africa?
    .
    . Or, how the SACP always has a lot to say about “tenderpreneurs” [those who get rich through links with government] and the need for accountability and transparency of public representatives/institutions as well as non-governmental organisations but consistently refuses to entertain any discussion of the extent to which its own members — who are ANC politicians and government officials — are caught up in corruption and mismanagement or to divulge the party’s own sources of funding and support, domestic and foreign?
    .
    . Have we forgotten how earlier this year the SACP launched a scathing public attack on the ‘independence, impartiality and dignity” of the Public Protector for (horror of all horrors) attending a Women’s Day event organised by an opposition political party while it has remained completely silent in the face of countless examples of institutions and officials unabashedtoenadering with and political support of, the ANC and more specifically with the Zuma faction?
    .
    . And, what about the SACP’s labelling of all those opposing the Zuma-securocrat backed Protection of State Information Bill (aka the “Secrecy Bill”) as “anti-majoritarian liberals’ controlled by “foreigners” in a domestic and global context in which the anti-whistleblower and securitised cover-up measures contained in the Secrecy Bill flow from the very (foreign-based) elitist, neoliberal and imperialist sources that the SACP purports to oppose in the name of the working class?
    . Have we forgotten that in its 2012 May Day message, the SACP (as it has for years on end now) called for a “focus on the organisation of vulnerable workers” as part of “strengthening” trade unions “in the workplace” and yet when it finally came out with more than a cursory public response to the August 16, 2012, Marikana massacre, it was predominately aimed at delegitimising those union and community “actors” (not associated with the ANC-led Alliance and/or government) who had actually organised and assisted vulnerable workers?
    .
    . And, if that wasn’t hypocritical enough in the context of the factional, blame-pointing, post-massacre environment, then how about the SACP’s parallel call for “a united and effective trade union movement linked to local progressive civic structures”?
    .
    Have we forgotten that even though the SACP bases its entire political program on “leading a defence of the national democratic revolution” through “being at the centre of state power” and thus providing the best possible means for “advancing the interests of the poor and working class”, the practical results of its more recent co-governance of the state with Zuma’s ANC faction has seen worsening inequality, intensified social conflict, seriously compromised public educational and health systems, a militarised police service and a crisis-ridden local government?
    .
    Or what of the oceanic gap between the SACP’s professed embrace and pursuit of “unity” among the “forces of liberation” (read: the ANC-SACP-COSATU Tri-partite Alliance) and the ever-widening reality of utter disunity and open factional conflict, increasingly waged with the weapons of state power, patronage and positionality, all of which the SACP “possesses” more of than ever before?
    .
    While Blade Nzimande, Jeremy Cronin and the rest of the SACP will no doubt be apoplectic at this exercise in memory “recovery” they would do well not to forget one thing in particular: that those with/in power in our contemporary capitalist-dominated world, no matter how long their history of struggle or how politically and organisationally mature they think they are, can never hope to speak for and represent the poor and working class, let alone lead an anti-capitalist revolution, as long as that power continues to reside predominately with a self-proclaimed vanguard and not with the majority to whom it belongs.
    .
    . [Dale McKinley is an South African writer, researcher, lecturer and political activist.]
    .
    . Africa ANC Dale McKinley Marikana massacre SACP
    . Comments
    .
    . Fri, 09/14/2012 – 12:36 — Weekly Worker (not verified)
    . Morning Star’s uncritical support for ANC on Marikana killings
    . From Weekly Worker September 13 2012
    . http://www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/929/police-slaughter-apologeti
    . Police slaughter and apologetics: The Morning Star has come unstuck with its uncritical support for the ANC, writes Peter Manson
    . The police massacre of 34 striking miners in South Africa on August 16 has left the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain highly embarrassed at having to defend the appalling apologetics of its South African Communist Party ally.
    . Let us be clear: what happened in Marikana was cold-blooded murder. Police penned in, tear-gassed and then gunned down workers who had gathered for ongoing protests – as they were attempting to flee. It seems indisputable that many were shot in the back. Sporadic shooting continued for half an hour, as police on horseback or in helicopters hunted down individuals desperately trying to get away. At least a dozen were picked off in this way, some as they were trying to surrender.
    . Survivors tell of being hunted down by officers yelling, “Ja, you cop killers, you cop killers. You are in the shit. We are going to kill you here.”1 The police were seeking vengeance for the deaths of two of their colleagues, who were among the 10 people killed in violent incidents over the previous few weeks. The South African Broadcasting Company (SABC) televised an interview with a police spokesperson the day before the massacre, who stated categorically that the “illegal protests” would be ended the next day. She did not elaborate on how that would happen, but made it very clear that ruthless measures were to be undertaken.
    . The strikers were, of course, members or supporters of a newly formed breakaway from one of the country’s most important trade unions, the National Union of Mineworkers. Those who flocked to join the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) were evidently dissatisfied by the apparent inability of the NUM to win a substantial rise in their poverty wages and improvements in their working conditions. The NUM, led by SACP members, is a key affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which, along with the SACP itself, forms the tripartite alliance in support of the ruling African National Congress.
    . There is footage readily available – not least the news coverage provided by Al Jazeera – showing the moment the police opened fire. Contrary to official reports, the strikers were not attacking the police, but attempting to escape. The footage shows the workers moving from right to left, in a direction that is at right angles to police lines. However, the version shown by the SABC – and, incidentally, both the BBC and ITV too – omitted the first few seconds of the footage that includes the workers in the background, showing only the police opening fire and being ordered to stop shooting.
    . The reaction of the SACP and Cosatu was abhorrent, confirming yet again that they are totally subservient to the bourgeois ANC. President Jacob Zuma expressed profound regret at the loss of life and announced the setting up of an enquiry – the standard means of ruling classes everywhere of deflecting criticism and riding out a crisis. Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini said: “We will refuse to play the blame game and we will patiently await the outcomes of the judicial commission of enquiry.” The idea that we should refuse to “blame” those who murdered members of our class engaged in struggle is truly nauseating.
    . For its part, the SACP leadership could not bring itself to make any statement at all for three whole days. But the SACP North West region did issue a statement the day after the massacre, headlined: “Arrest Mathunjwa and Steve Kholekile” – the two leaders of the Amcu breakaway. It began: “The SACP NW joins all South Africans in mourning and passing our deep condolences to all mineworkers killed in the platinum mines in Rustenburg as the result of anarchic, violent intimidation, murder of workers and NUM shop stewards.” It referred to “this barbaric act coordinated and deliberately organised by Amcu leader Mr Mathunjwa and Steve Kholekile, who both are former NUM members expelled because of anarchy.”
    . No, you have not misread the statement. These ‘comrades’ are stating that only Amcu is culpable for the deaths (not that they want to “play the blame game”, of course) – as though Mathunjwa and Kholekile had shot dead their own members.
    . After the first meeting of its new central committee on August 19, the SACP leadership eventually got round to issuing a statement “expressing condolences to all those who have lost family members and colleagues” and “our well wishes to those who have been injured, workers and police”. It too welcomed the announcement of a commission of inquiry and urged it to “consider the pattern of violence associated with the pseudo-trade union, Amcu”.
    . Clearly for the SACP and Cosatu the shooting dead of 34 workers and wounding of scores of others pales into insignificance when compared to the crime of splitting from the NUM and leading workers away from SACP influence. Of course, it is very rarely correct to walk away from one union – however, rightwing, corrupt and incompetent its leaders – in order to set up a rival. The fight must be fought within existing bodies. But, at the end of the day, Amcu is a working class body, not a tool of the class enemy, as the SACP and Cosatu pretend.
    . Then there is this disgraceful sentence from the central committee: “SACP members from the area confirm newspaper reports today that the armed workers who gathered on the hill were misled into believing they would be invulnerable to police bullets because they had used [the ‘herbal medicine’] intelezi …”
    . These could be the words of an apartheid-era racist – it is disturbing enough that such stories can still be spread by the press, let alone by so-called workers’ leaders. No doubt some of the strikers believe in ‘tribal remedies’, but does the SACP seriously believe that they considered themselves “invulnerable to police bullets”? Why then were they trying to escape those bullets? But the SACP wants us to believe that these workers, who were indeed carrying traditional spears and sticks, left the police with no choice but to open fire in self-defence.
    . One notorious SACP hack, Dominic Tweedie, went much further – no doubt to the extreme displeasure of the party leadership. He is quoted by rightwing journalist RW Johnson as saying: “This was no massacre: this was a battle. The police used their weapons in exactly the way they were supposed to. That’s what they have them for. The people they shot didn’t look like workers to me. We should be happy. The police were admirable.”2
    . Tweedie has since said that he was “misquoted”, but refuses to explain how these words came to appear in a web article. My experience of him as the moderator of several SACP-influenced internet discussion lists tells me that he is more than capable of coming out with such shocking language – and the quoted words are certainly reminiscent of Tweedie’s style of written expression.
Uncritical
    . True to form, the reaction of the Morning Star was to uncritically adopt the line of its ‘official communist’ allies. The day after the massacre, its report was headlined: “NUM: rival union ‘may have planned’ mine violence”. It read: “National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) secretary general Frans Baleni … blamed the unrest on the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union making promises which could never be delivered and, in the process, organising an illegal action which led to the loss of lives.”3
    . However, by the time it came to write an editorial on the subject three days later, the Star seemed to realise that perhaps it was stretching things a bit to place the entire blame on Amcu. In a piece titled ‘Hard questions for SA police’, editor Richard Bagley stated: “There can never be justification for a massacre of striking workers and it is essential that the committee of enquiry set up by Jacob Zuma to examine the tragic events at Marikana makes this a central conclusion.” It went on: “The South African Police Service must explain why its officers were armed with automatic weapons when an order was issued last year banning the use even of rubber bullets during public protests.”
    . But then the editorial goes on to slate Amcu in terms the SACP would be proud of. It noted that the NUM “accuses one company, BHP Billiton, of initially funding the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union … whose recruitment efforts across the platinum industry have common features. These include systematic violence, extravagant demands – such as a near trebling of pay at Marikana – and collaboration from the mining companies.”
    . It concludes: “None of this excuses police commanders of their responsibility for arming their officers to the hilt and ordering them to open fire with automatic rifles. But it should give some people pause for thought before they repeat erroneous allegations that NUM is a sell-out union or that president Zuma ordered the slaughter.”4
    . So at one and the same time Amcu demands the “trebling of pay” and enjoys “collaboration from the mining companies”. Don’t you think you’ve got your lines crossed there, comrades? But why does the Star consider such pay demands “extravagant”?
    . For a taste of the lifestyle of the Lonmin workers (monthly pay: 4,200 rands, or just over £300), I can do no better than to quote the South African online newspaper, the Daily Maverick: “The workers gathered at Marikana live in shacks they have built for themselves, or rent from shacklords. Their tin rooms lack insulation, water, toilets or electricity. Others live in the hostel compounds the mine provides. Callers to a radio show told a Lonmin spokesperson that the hostels are squalid and not even waterproof. Indeed, from the outside one can see the roofs are rusted through.
    . “The miners in the shacks choose not to invest in their Marikana dwellings. They want to use the majority of their earnings to support their families back home, whether in the Eastern Cape, Lesotho or Mozambique. They know their time at the mines will not be long – they age quickly, mostly from silicosis and other dust-related diseases that enfeeble these once strong men. They live and work under conditions of grave institutional violence.”5
    . But we cannot contemplate their pay being increased to £900 a month, can we? If that happened some of them might even be able to move out of their shacks and perhaps take their families just above the poverty line.
    . As for the NUM being a “sell-out union”, its leadership, like those of all unions in all countries, naturally tends towards compromise. Its bureaucracy has its own separate interests which do not coincide with those of the membership. In South Africa this contradiction is complicated by the domination of the SACP, which tries to balance the rival interests of workers and bureaucrats with those of the capitalist state.
    . What about the allegation that “president Zuma ordered the slaughter”? We cannot know the exact details of communications between police and government, and it is highly improbable that Zuma would have wanted such a bloody outcome. But it also seems unlikely that he would have been completely ignorant of police tactics and decisions – including the decision to arm its elite force so lethally. We can also say that he is hardly rushing to bring the killers in uniform and their commanders to book.
Blame the victims
    . All this was evident even to some loyal Star readers, a couple of whom voiced their discontent at the paper’s coverage of the story. One letter-writer said he was “dismayed and disappointed at the lack of outrage shown”.6 But “lack of outrage” continued to be a feature – for example, when the authorities arrested hundreds of miners (those who were still alive, of course), and threatened to charge them with the deaths of their own comrades!
    . If ever there was a cause for “outrage”, here it was. But the Star slipped this piece of vital information halfway down a report headlined: “Miners stay away, as crisis talks continue”. It told readers: “But the prospects for peace were not enhanced when it emerged that, under the South African legal system’s doctrine of ‘common purpose’, all 270 workers detained after the police massacred 34 miners would be tried for murder.”7
    . The following day, however, the Star was forced to change its tune in view of the “outraged” reaction by the general secretary of the NUM in Britain, Chris Kitchen, who asked: “How can you be charged with murder when running for your life? It’s deplorable.”8 The paper also reported the reaction of South African justice minister Jeff Radebe to the decision of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to charge the miners. Under the constitution the justice minister – ie, himself – “must exercise final responsibility over the prosecuting authority” and so he had asked the NPA for an “explanation of the rationale behind such a decision”.9
    . Both the SACP and Cosatu quickly came out against the proposed murder charges and so the Star was able to criticise the decision too. But note the mealy-mouthed terms of that criticism from justice minister Radebe – his main concern seemed to be that correct procedures had not been adhered to, although he also opposed the actual decision to press charges (it goes without saying that the Star did not inform its readers that Radebe is a member of the SACP central committee). Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven also opposed the decision on technical grounds: the NPA “should have waited for the findings of the judicial commission of enquiry … before jumping the gun and laying such charges”.
    . In the face of such powerful opposition from within the alliance, the decision to charge the miners was quickly reversed. But not before many of them were subject to brutal mistreatment amounting to torture at the hands of the police. Neither the SACP, Cosatu nor the Morning Star have called for charges to be pressed against the actual perpetrators of the killings – both individual police officers and those who ordered them to shoot.
    . The Star’s line reminds me of its fawning attitude to those who ruled the roost in the former Soviet Union and eastern Europe. When the Polish ‘communist’ authorities gunned down more than 40 workers in Gdynia in 1970, British ‘official communists’, while regretting the ‘tragedy’ and criticising the ‘mistakes’ of the Polish United Workers Party, remained loyal to its comrades in high office.
    . And that is the way it is today when it comes to the SACP – some ‘solidarity’. Instead of following every twist and turn of the class-collaborationist SACP leadership, the Star and its CPB should demand an immediate ending of the cross-class alliance and the adoption by the SACP and Cosatu of independent working class policies. Unless this happens, Cosatu unions will continue to lose ground to rival breakaways and more workers will look for solutions in the politics of black nationalism.
    . peter.manson@weeklyworker.org.uk
Notes
    . 1. http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-09-10-marikana-murders-the-world….
    . 2 . http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page72308?oid=3201….
    . 3. Morning Star August 17.
    . 4. Morning Star August 20.
    . 5. http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-09-10-marikana-murders-the-world….
    . 6. Morning Star August 24.
    . 7. Morning Star August 31.
    . 8. Morning Star September 1-2.
    . 9. Ibid.
    . 




  17. selcoolie says :

    A “Tunisia Moment” Coming?

    — by Niall Reddy

    A PROMINENT COMMENTATOR and a brother of the former president, Moeletsi Mbeki caused a major stir last year when he announced that South Africa is headed for a “Tunisia Moment.” The vociferous denial that the comment elicited from local elites was itself evidence of a growing consensus, now encompassing much more than the odd Marxist analyst, that South Africa is headed towards total social crisis.

    As the eurozone crisis and signs of fatigue in Asian economies seem likely to arrest the already anemic global recovery, that conclusion seems ever more unavoidable.

    This situation is the outcome of the African National Congress’s Faustian pact with big business, which left the uneven structures of apartheid capitalism intact and sacrificed substantive distribution for the accumulation of a small elite, embedded with financial capital.

    Accumulation and the MEC

    Zavareh Rustomjee and Marxist economist Ben Fine coined the term Minerals Energy Complex (MEC) to refer to the “evolving system of accumulation” in South Africa.(1)

    They identified the emergence, through the early 20th century, of several mining mega-conglomerates that grew on the back of lucrative mineral rents from South Africa’s bountiful reserves of coal and precious metals, gradually merging and absorbing competitors until only a handful of firms remained.

    By the middle of the century these firms had expanded to gain a controlling stake in numerous key sectors of the South African economy including beneficiation [processing of ores], engineering and, crucially, finance.

    At the same time they developed a close synthesis with the South African state, which devoted massive resources to bolstering accumulation in MEC sectors, including the establishment of large public enterprises in electricity and steel. The system of legislated apartheid which emerged in the 1960s can be linked to the demand from the MEC for cheap migrant labor.

    The authors intended the concept to denote not only the significant weight of mining and related industries in the domestic economy, but a structural economic complex that imparted a particular dynamic to the overall trajectory of accumulation in South Africa.

    Through the 1980s, MEC capital found its interests inhibited by the pariah status of the apartheid state and a labor system incapable of providing an adequately skilled workforce. This and a confluence of other factors made a continuation of apartheid unviable by the early 1990s.

    The ANC assumed its part in the transition process with widespread legitimacy but internal discordance amongst its various sections. A party of mixed class and ideological composition, the ANC lacked the organizational traditions and working-class representation needed to deliver major change.

    Radical elements that did exist were subsumed by those co-opted in an energetic campaign by local and international capital. The victors quickly consolidated a longstanding process of collaboration with big business through policies of elite formation euphemistically titled “Black Economic Empowerment” (BEE) — implanting the new managers of the state in big business and the MEC, in particular its financial divisions.

    Neoliberalism After Apartheid

    The neoliberal macroeconomic framework that emerged from the “elite transition” seemed centrally geared to managing the steady flow of capital abroad, legally and illegally, and ensuring a secure environment for financial profit.

    Liberalization precipitated an orgy of mergers, acquisitions and unbundlings (peaking at 630 M&As in 1998) among corporates eager to capture BEE deals and ameliorate political risk by diversifying abroad.(2)

    The traditional MEC, centered on six core conglomerates, dispersed in this process, leaving a much more diffuse and internationalized complex, but seemingly still based on the nexus between minerals activity and finance with the same determining influence.

    Capital controls were steadily dismantled in an offering to business that culminated in the decision to allow major firms to relist themselves overseas.

    During the 2000s illegal capital flight averaged at 12% of GDP, peaking at 20% in 2007.(3)

    Finance has been the fastest growing sector of the post-apartheid period, appropriating around 20% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2010. The South African sector resembles the parasitic U.S. model — overwhelmingly disposed to service mortgages and consumer borrowing while contributing little to productive investment, which is funded instead through retained earnings or securities markets.

    Acquisition of financial assets exploded in the 2000s with commercial banks and other monetary institutions doubling their holdings to almost R430 billion (roughly $52 billion — ed.) by 2007. Households held almost R200 billion in the same year – a twofold increase from 2005.(4) There was also a marked increase in the financial portfolios of non-financial corporations.

    This process has infected the very central nervous system of the South African economy, leading to a prioritization of shareholder value and short-term speculative gain over real investment, and entrenching a thoroughgoing fiscal conservatism and marketized approach to policy formation along with the interests that sustain them.(5) A constrained state has been unable to lead even meager efforts to diversify out of capital-intensive MEC sectors. The little industrial policy that has been implemented has gone largely to white-elephant megaprojects associated with mining, energy and steel.

    Outside of finance, communication and a few MEC sectors, the only real growth has been in services, mostly reflecting a consumer-debt fuelled boom in retail along with waves of outsourcing and externalization from other sectors. The MEC has remained at around 23% of GDP and, crucially, just under 60% of exports (2010), while the GDP share of non-MEC manufacturing has shrunk by 7% to around 15% over the last two decades.(6)

    Devastating Impact on Workers

    The impacts of MEC-based neoliberalism on the South African working class have been devastating. A failure to attract investment in anything but finance and MEC sectors has left structural unemployment untouched and almost 36% of the labour force without work.

    Precarious employment, primarily in security, cleaning and retail, forms the lion’s share of new jobs that have been created — a deliberate shift on behalf of capital to maintain apartheid levels of exploitation in the face of new trade union rights.

    The data are murky, but unionists and bargaining councils estimate that between one and two million workers are now covered by some form of third party employment contract, designed to confound collective bargaining and impede legal challenges to unfair dismissal and maltreatment. This includes everything from a few professionals managed by highly regulated firms to the notorious “bakkie brigades” — the most superexploited workers trawled from desperately poor communities on the back of open-air vans (“bakkies”) for piecemeal work on farms and in factories, leading the union federation COSATU to coin the phrase of a “modern form of slavery.”

    Real wages for all except the top decile have stagnated or shrunk, and labor’s share of GDP is now at a 40-year low of around 45%. The Gini coefficient of inequality, both within and between races (whites are relatively better off since apartheid) has stretched — making South African the most consistently unequal nation on the planet.(7)

    Workers have had to accept mountainous debt loads in order to sustain living standards, leading to a large profusion of potentially toxic debt. Domestic demand is, of course, languid, entrenching an export orientation that has so far only exacerbated the contradictions of the South African economy.

    In the face of this, policymakers have seemed caught in a kind of cognitive dissonance, tweaking details but unwilling to confront root causes even as the crisis gathers.

    Export dependency and exposure to international financial markets left South Africa prostrate when the global crisis stuck. GDP growth turned negative from the third quarter of 2008, only returning to positive territory at the end of 2009, with an overall contraction of 3%. Employment fared even worse. Around a million jobs, 6% of the total, were lost during the recession period.

    The poorest and most marginalized workers in agriculture, informal and domestic work were the worst affected. Low-wage workers within the formal sector and those in the mining and commodity industries were also disproportionately hard hit.(8) Mining output dropped by 33% in the last quarter of 2008, export value fell by 24% in the first quarter of 2009, and by 2010 manufacturing levels were below 2005 levels.(9)

    Infrastructure roll-outs totalling R300 billion in 2010, much of it to support MEC sectors through new power plants and transport networks, were the only other palliatives applied by the central government. Support to individuals and smaller companies was almost entirely lacking.(10) Absolute fidelity to neoliberal policies has ensured that South Africa was one of the worst affected “emerging nations.”

    Amidst a flagging recovery, South Africa’s elites sought to quell growing opposition through a vigorous public campaign to market the 2010 Soccer World Cup as a panacea to the nation’s mounting economic woes.

    Unions were convinced to moderate wage demands and sign on to a social pact promising an equitable distribution of the profits from the tournament.

    The outcome is well known and quite in keeping with the history of high-spectacle world events — vicious repression and social exclusion undergirded grotesque profiteering by soccer’s governing body FIFA, international corporations and local “parastatals.” The total bill for the tournament soared past R70 billion (over $8.4 billion), mostly sunk into white elephant stadia and needlessly revamped airports. Temporary construction jobs quickly dried up as former supporters struggled to identify any long term economic gains.

    The hypocrisy and failed promises quickly dispelled worker passivity. A million-strong public sector strike, the biggest since democracy, ensued in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup and secured wage increases 3% above inflation. Incidents of “crowd control” recorded by the police, a proxy term for protests often centered around service delivery, soared to record highs of over 12,000 for 2010/11.(11)

    A (not so) New Growth Path

    In early 2011, amidst growing social resistance to neoliberalism, the government adopted its New Growth Path (NGP), which is to inform the macroeconomic future of the country. The document is characterized by rhetorical genuflections designed to paper over fundamental continuity with the past. It represents an eclectic admixture of Scandinavian corporatism and East Asian developmental statism, both elements ultimately limited by a renewed commitment to inflation targeting and an independent reserve bank.

    Acknowledgment of the need for industrial diversification, fostering domestic demand and commitment to decent jobs, are welcome. But a contractionary fiscal policy, reaffirmation of monetarism and misguided faith in the agency of “class-compromise,” ultimately scuttle the transformative perspective of the document.

    While employment creation symbolically replaces growth in key areas of policy focus, with five million new jobs ambitiously slated for 2020, the reality is that the NGP lacks any serious vision of a solution to the unemployment crisis.

    Notwithstanding limited commitments to direct job creation through public works programs, once the rhetoric is uncovered it is clear that the responsibility to roll back stratospheric levels of unemployment is surreptitiously vested in the private sector — never mind the irredeemable failure of similar policies in the past.

    Indeed, the NGP’s record in practice, a year and a half after its inception, is laughable. GDP growth peaked at the end of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 at 4.8%, but declined quickly through the succeeding periods to an annual figure of 2.8%.(12) That is far below other “emerging” economies and less than half what would be required to meet the NGP’s ambitious employment targets at current rates of capital intensity.(13) In fact, with growth concentrated in the familiar finance, communications and MEC-linked manufacturing and mining sectors, narrow unemployment in the first quarter of 2012 was 0.2% higher than the previous year.(14)

    Growth continued to slow in 2012, with every major economic indicator reeling in the face of the crisis in the eurozone, which receives almost a third of South African exports. A collapse of the euro and persisting fatigue in Asian markets is almost certain to trigger a renewed downturn.

    These uncertainties have compounded ongoing capital strike: Far from investing, corporate deposits exceeded R530 billion in June and the small level of remaining fixed capital formation is now almost entirely accounted for by government spending.(15)

    Despite this, and symptomatic of the intransigence of financial capital, Finance Minister Gordhan has refused to implement any measures to arrest persisting capital flight.(16) The only mild analgesic offered to South African workers by Treasury officials has been proposals to ramp up infrastructure programs, which formed the centerpiece of Gordhan’s budget speech in early 2012. Case studies of existing programs indicate that they could be an invaluable resource in tackling unemployment, but would need to be drastically expanded and redirected from MEC spheres of influence to provide desperately needed services.

    That same budget speech drew shrill protests from conservative commentators who execrated modest increases in capital gains and dividends taxes, intended to finance public works, as an attack on the rich. In reality any loss to South Africa’s 1%ers, the top 100 of whom increased their wealth by 62% between 2010-11 to a combined value of R153 billion, was almost entirely offset by regressive decreases on personal income tax and the abolition of an alternative company level tax on dividends.(17)

    Ultimately, any redistributive measures are completely undermined by the government’s continuing tacit commitment to a little-remarked stipulation limiting tax revenue to 25% of GDP, which appears to have its provenance in the 1994 negotiated settlement.(18) That rule means that even as the revenue service makes mild gains in clamping down on South Africa’s profligate tax evaders (the richest fraction of whom managed to keep R48 billion out of government hands last year), further breaks will inevitably be offered to the narrow base of corporate and individual taxpayers.

    With government debt climbing to nearly 40% of GDP, $100 billion of which is owed to foreign lenders, notorious credit agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poors downgraded SA’s rating to negative. This, along with government’s unwillingness to wrest greater tax revenues from rich citizens and corporations, or contemplate a change in the mandate of the reserve bank, forecloses on any state-led program of the scale needed to resolve the unemployment crisis.

    In fact, with the risk of another recession, the regime’s policy even jeopardizes existing social spending that has been vital to reproducing ANC hegemony.

    Gordhan’s budget enshrined real decreases in SA’s network of social grants that provides the primary income to one-third of the population and is widely regarded as the thin bulwark against wide-scale social rebellion.(19) This was justified in terms of the need to absolutely prioritize employment in the allocation of state resources. But given the government’s unremitting failure to create jobs it could serve simply to fast-track the impending crisis.(20)

    Despite the supposed commitment to “decent work,” the state took no action against labor brokers (contractors —ed.), who continued to expand voraciously through the crisis.

    COSATU Under Pressure

    COSATU, trapped in old modes of organizing under an ossified bureaucracy, has been largely unsuccessful in unionizing South Africa’s growing precariat. Eventually waking to the scale of the threat, the union called a general strike in early March to demand an unconditional ban on broking. The strike was generally viewed as a massive show of force for the unions with upwards of 1.5 million workers estimated to have downed tools.

    The ANC, which appears increasingly dependent on COSATU for mass support given the erosion of its own political cadre and popular legitimacy under years of cronyism and poor delivery, was visibly threatened. A modest compromise was quickly proposed, involving legislation stipulating that workers be given the same rights as permanent employees after six months at a particular workplace. But labor activists argue this will only increase the turnover of brokered workers. Despite this, COSATU seems ready to acquiesce.

    “Labor flexibility” has been a centerpiece of the ANC’s market-friendly economic policy and is deeply tied to BEE interests linked to the state. They are likely to relinquish it only under the most determined opposition, which the incumbent COSATU leadership, beyond the initial strike action, seems unlikely to provide. But even a highly implausible outright ban on brokers would not be a silver bullet for the problems facing workers. The broking lobby would hold the process up in the courts for years and may even succeed in winning a constitutional injunction based on the right to enterprise, as happened in Namibia. Failing that, brokers will simply reinvent themselves as service contractors or decamp to the black market.

    COSATU’s stand against broking has provoked an intensification of what often appears to be a powerfully coordinated campaign by big business and the center-right Democratic Alliance (DA) to generate public anger at unions and turn unemployed against organized workers. Not a day goes by without a series of specious arguments splattered across the mainstream media by “experts” for hire, claiming that labor-aristocrats are keeping jobs from South Africa’s youth with greedy wage demands.(21) This despite the fact that honest research shows that half of the employed in the country earn less than R3000 (about $360) and one third earn less than R1000 per month (an amount which is divided, on average, amongst 10 dependents).(22)

    The campaign took quite an unexpected twist in May when the DA bussed in unemployed youths from Johannesburg’s townships to march on the COSATU headquarters, demanding the union retract its opposition to a “youth wage subsidy” (a thinly disguised vehicle for business tax exemptions) only to be repulsed by thousands of angry, rock wielding unionists.

    Of course the DA’s endeavors are impotent, premised as they are on the notion that there exist two discrete groups: “unemployed” and “organized workers,” rather than labor and its “reserve army,” who live in the same houses and share the same wage packages. Effective opposition to precarity requires broad working-class unity. But rising popular anger against brokers, particularly among politically important layers of underemployed youth — almost all of whom have had some encounter with “agents” operating out of poor communities — could provide the impetus for greater coordination between unions and social movements fighting for jobs and access to services.

    Land Reform

    A recent Human Rights Watch report drew attention to what peasant activists and farmworker unions had been saying for ages: that superexploitation in the countryside resembles a colonial atavism and a humanitarian crisis.(23)

    As part of its rite of passage to a “sensible,” business friendly international community, the transition government agreed to a program for land reform effectively authored by the World Bank, turning on the principle of “willing buyer, willing seller.” Unsurprisingly there were few sellers “willing” to part with their land for the price any dispossessed buyers or a very unwilling state was able to offer. As such over 87% of agricultural farm land remains in the hands of white farmers, and fewer than 8% of targeted areas have been redistributed.

    Living conditions of farmworkers and communities have stagnated or declined. In parts of the Western Cape the notorious “dop system,” where workers on vineyards are paid in alcohol, remains in place. Effective organization has been lacking, leading to individual acts of desperation and increasing levels of violence, often directed against farmers.

    Instead of addressing the defunct framework for redistribution and providing greater resources for post-settlement support, the government has been pushing a re-feudalization of the countryside, notably through a Traditional Courts Bill that threatens to curtail the constitutional rights of rural dwellers in favor of greater power for tribal leaders. There is evidence that this is linked to cronyism and parasitism within the state.(24)

    Land reform is understandably an emotive issue and an important axis of the potentially explosive situation in South Africa. Agitation for a Zimbabwe-style expropriation of white farmers has become a refrain for demagogues in the ANC Youth League.25 Whether they get their way depends on how the party and the ANC Alliance navigate through a crisis from which they cannot remain isolated.

    Political Prospects

    In 2007 grassroots frustration with the lack of delivery led to the ouster of President Thabo Mbeki — first from the top spot of the ANC and then from government — by his deputy, Jacob Zuma, who somehow succeeded in posturing as the candidate of the Left despite an unimpeachable record of support for Mbeki’s neoliberalism.

    Five years on and four years into the crisis, major social unrest is once again fermenting tensions and conflicts within the ANC and the Alliance. The notorious demagogue Julius Malema, former head of the ANC Youth League and once one of Zuma’s most vocal supporters, became the symbol of a populist-nationalist-left opposition to his rule, carried by sloganeering around mining nationalization.

    Malema has since overplayed his hand and been expelled from the party, but the powerful factions for whom he was a proxy (now appearing to coalesce around Zuma’s deputy, Kgalema Mothlante), and the social mood that compelled him, remain.

    The year 2012 is a major one on the South African political calendar. The National Congress of the South African Communist Party will have concluded by the time this goes to print, and COSATU has its turn in September, before the main event, the 53rd National Conference of the ANC in December.

    An ANC policy conference held in June was billed as pre-match for the end of year showdown. The position papers going in and the declarations coming out of that conference carried extra lashings of populist verbiage, centered around the notion of a “second transition to economic freedom,” but were thin on concrete measures or political lucidity. A few promising nuggets were to be found, such as end to the “willing buyer, willing seller” framework for land redistribution and greater commitment to Palestine solidarity. But then the gulf between rhetoric and action in the ANC’s recent past is world-historic, and any fulfilment of those commitments is contingent on changes within the ANC that seem hard to contemplate.

    There were widespread reports of major, even physical, clashes at the conference, underscoring the extent of rot within the Alliance. But a clear reading of the political and social composition of the factions involved, as well the balance of forces within the party, is hard to gauge.

    Zuma, far more charismatic and attuned to the popular temperament than his predecessor, has so far succeeded in preventing the fissions within the party from forming neatly along the political spectrum.

    The absolute most one can hope for in the near future is that the crisis engulfing the ANC will engender something akin to Lula’s Left Turn, where a changing balance of class forces impelled the Brazilian leader to fill the state with developmentalists and genuine reformists, allowing some gains for workers even while important aspects of neoliberalism remained.

    But even that modest hope seems most unlikely. So far the South African ruling class has seemed incapable of even articulating, let alone unifying around, a program to resolve the crisis. The prevailing influence of purblind financial capital, deeply intertwined with the ANC elite, further blocks such an outcome.

    For South Africa’s inevitable “Tunisia Moment” to have truly far-reaching potential, new revolutionary forces need to emerge — forces that will be strengthened, we can be sure, by the self-destructive path of the incumbent regime.

    Notes

    Ben Fine and Zaverah Rustomjee, The Political Economy of South Africa: From Minerals-Energy Complex to Industrialization, Boulder: Westview Press, 1996.
    back to text
    Seeraj Mohammed, “The State of the South African Economy,” in John Daniel, Roger Southall, Prishani Naidoo Devan Pillay eds., New South African Review, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2010.
    back to text
    Sam Ashman, Ben Fine and Susan Newman. “Amnesty International? The Nature, Scale and Impact of Capital Flight from South Africa,” Journal of Southern African Studies. 37(1): 7-25.
    back to text
    Seeraj Mohammed, “The State of the South African Economy.”
    back to text
    Sam Ashman, Ben Fine and Susan Newman, “The Crisis in South Africa: Neoliberalism, Financialization and Uneven and Combined Development,” in Leo Panitch, Greg Albo and Vivek Chibber eds., Socialist Register 2011: The Crisis This Time, Wales: Merlin Press, 2011.
    back to text
    Sam Ashman, Ben Fine and Susan Newman, “Systems of Accumulation and the Evolving Minerals-Energy Complex,” in B. Fine, J. Saraswati and D. Tavasci eds., Beyond the Developmental State: Industrial Policy into the 21st Century, London: Pluto, in preparation, 2012.

    Haroon Bhorat and Carlene van der Westhuizen, Income and non-Income Inequality in South Africa: What are the Drivers and Possible Policy Prescriptions?, University of Cape Town, Development Policy and Research Unit: Working Paper 09/138, 2009
    back to text
    .
    Neva Makgetla, “The International Economic Crisis and Employment in South Africa,” in John Daniel, Roger Southall, Prishani Naidoo Devan Pillay eds., New South African Review, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2010.
    back to text
    Sam Ashman, Ben Fine and Susan Newman, “The Crisis in South Africa: Neoliberalism, Financialization and Uneven and Combined Development.”
    back to text
    Seeraj Mohammed, “The State of the South African Economy.”
    back to text
    Peter Alexander, “Protests and Police Statistics, some commentary,” Amandla! Online http://www.amandlapublishers.co.za/home-page/1121-protests-and-police-statistics-some-commentary-by-prof-peter-alexander.
    back to text
    South African Reserve Bank Annual Report, http://www.resbank.co.za/Lists/Speeches/Attachments/349/Quarterly%20Bulletin%20Summary%2021%20June%202012.pdf.
    back to text
    “Government on Wrong Track for New Growth Path,” Mail and Guardian Online, 02/10/11 http://mg.co.za/article/2011-10-02-govt-on-wrong-track-for-new-growth-path-say-researchers.
    back to text
    South African Reserve Bank Annual Report, http://www.resbank.co.za/Lists/Speeches/Attachments/349/Quarterly%20Bulletin%20Summary%2021%20June%202012.pdf
    back to text
    .
    “Cash Hoard Tops 530bn,” Business Day Online, 06/18, http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=174326.
    back to text
    The Finance Ministry is even endorsing more globalization and aggravating its partner COSATU by pledging R2 million to an IMF “firewall.” “South Africa’s Dangerously Unsafe Financial Intercourse,” Counterpunch Online, 04/24/12, http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/24/south-africas-dangerously-unsafe-financial-intercourse/.
    back to text
    “Motsepe Tops Sunday Times Rich List,” Business Live Online, 03/09/11, http://www.businesslive.co.za/southafrica/2011/09/03/motsepe-tops-sunday-times-rich-list.
    back to text
    “Tightening the Belt,” Amandla! Online, 04/12, http://www.amandlapublishers.co.za/amandla-magazine/current-issue/1100-tightening-the-belt-by-amandla-editorial-staff.
    back to text
    “At this rate the poor will be with us always,” New Age, 01/03/12 http://thenewage.co.za/Detail.aspx?blog_id=2060&blog_cat_id=1085.
    back to text
    In fact some argue that because of casualization and precarity even successfully job creation cannot be counted on to secure “social cohesion.” Employment has lost its association with citizenship and hence its “integrative,” “disciplining” role in social reproduction. Franco Barachesi, Precarious Liberation: Workers, the State, and Contested Social Citizenship in Postapartheid South Africa. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2011.
    back to text
    “The Wage and Productivity Debate,” Amandla! Online, http://www.amandlapublishers.co.za/special-features/the-wage-and-productivity-debate.
    back to text
    “Schussler Report is Pay in the Sky,” Mail and Guardian Online, 01/06/11, http://mg.co.za/article/2012-06-01-schussler-report-is-pay-in-the-sky.
    back to text
    See “Ripe With Abuse,” Human Rights Watch Report, 2011 http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/safarm0811webwcover.pdf.
    back to text
    William Gumede, “Rising Tribalism in South Africa,” Pambazuka Online, 09/05/2012 http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/82016.
    back to text
    See “ANCYL’s Lamola in Hot Water of Land Reform Remarks,” SABC Online, 06/22/2012 http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/60a08e004bb5bb539ca59f4e20b1a252/ANCYLs-Lamola-in-hot-water-over-land-reform-remarks-20122206.
    back to text

    September/October 2012, ATC 160

  18. selcoolie says :

    The Left and South Africa’s Crisis

    — an interview with Brian Ashley

    BRIAN ASHLEY IS the editor of the South African journal AMANDLA! He was interviewed for Against the Current by David Finkel and Dianne Feeley.

    Against the Current: Please tell us about the magazine Amandla! — what’s your orientation and perspective, and what’s your audience in the overall framework of the South African left?

    Brian Ashley: Amandla! was initiated in 2006 as the crisis in the country was deepening, as neoliberal policies exacerbated the divisions of apartheid and as the crisis in the African National Congress (ANC, the governing party — ed.) and its alliance partners (South African Communist Party and trade union federation COSATU) deepened. It initially drew the active involvement of leftists inside and outside the ANC Alliance, although those of us outside the Alliance led the initiative.

    The idea was to establish a open forum on the left and to facilitate a non-sectarian discussion on left strategy given the crises (social and economic) in the country and the popular upsurges that were unfolding in poor communities, in view of the failure of the state to deliver basic and essential services and given worker struggles against job losses and privatization.

    However, the left in the Alliance essentially liquidated itself into one faction of the ANC led by then deputy president of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, who is now president of the country. Having seemingly won the struggle for hegemony in the ANC, the ANC left saw less need to relate to left forces outside the ANC Alliance. Differences within the Amandla! Collective occurred as a result and were sharpened by a growing shift to authoritarianism and intolerance by the Zuma-led ANC.

    Key initiators of the Amandla! project were expelled from the SACP for their critique of the view that the Zuma leadership represented a shift to the left. In this context Amandla! shifted perspective towards promoting alternative left strategies and to supporting processes aimed at building independent working-class struggles and initiatives.

    ATC: The African National Congress has obviously been the dominant political party since the fall of apartheid. Is its trajectory along the lines of European social-democratic parties that have turned “social-neoliberal”? Or is it more complicated? What are the contending forces within it, and the state of the “tripartite alliance” with the trade union federation COSATU and South African Communist Party?

    BA: The ANC is a broad nationalist movement in which different political and ideological currents have been at play. There have always been bourgeois but mainly petty bourgeois forces that played a dominant role in the organization. The SACP and the ANC’s alliance with trade union movements has ensured a strong working-class influence, which became greater during the popular upsurges of the 1980s.

    However, after winning political freedom in 1994 and as a result of the indigenization of the public service and the policy of Black Economic Empowerment, bourgeois nationalist and petty bourgeois forces have predominantly shaped the ANC’s direction.

    Many ANC leaders are now major investors in the finance, mining, telecommunications, armaments, fishing, agriculture and a host of other industries. They use their political position in the ANC and in the state to leverage lucrative deals whereby they become, almost overnight, dollar millionaires.

    In accounting for the ANC’s failure to redistribute wealth and its implementation of neoliberal policies, one should not lose sight of the impact that the changed international balance of forces has had following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the advent of globalization. Nevertheless, the key explanation for SA’s neoliberal transition lies in the power of South African capital and in the ANC’s initial reluctance to confront capital and redirect its wealth through taxation, enforced investment programs and even nationalization to overcome the legacy of apartheid and underdevelopment.

    Instead there is gradual co-optation by big business through Black Economic Empowerment programs where politically connected pro-black business interests become junior partners of big business in unbundling and restructuring deals.

    ATC: Jacob Zuma ostensibly represents the ANC’s “left” at least rhetorically. Has his government dealt with the economic and social conditions of the black majority — and how would you characterize the economy and levels of inequality in SA presently?

    BA: It was a major tragedy for the left when COSATU and the SACP and other left forces in the ANC, desperate for an alternative to the neoliberal policies pursued by the AIDS denialist Thabo Mbeki regime, rallied around Jacob Zuma and helped get him elected President of the ANC and subsequently the country. Zuma is a consummate politician who has consolidated support by simultaneously putting himself forward as a man of the left while taking on the mantle of Zulu nationalism from the Inkatha Freedom Party.

    There is nothing left about him. At a personal level he is a homophobe, misogynist and polygamist. His administration continues with neoliberal economic policies, pursuing such policies as monetarism, inflation targeting and labor flexibility. This explains the increased alienation of COSATU from the regime that it helped put in power. The most recent indication of the rupture between the Zuma’s government and COSATU was the massive 12 March 2012 general strike led by COSATU, against the tolling of Johannesburg’s motorways and the failure of the government to ban labor contractors.

    Two worlds separate township and suburban life, and an even greater divide separates life in the former Bantustans from the major metropolitan cities. Our country faces extreme difficulties in dealing with mass unemployment and poverty. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is still devastating in its spread and impact, even if the age of AIDS denial is over. Nor can we stay aloof from the crises of our education, health, water and housing systems. As a result crime and violence continues to shake our society and numb our senses.

    Unequal Society, Declining Economy

    Mass unemployment and poverty wages lie at the center of the social crises our people face. More than a quarter of the work force is unemployed. When those workers who have given up looking for work are taken into account, the rate of unemployment is a massive 40% of the total work force. According to government Minister Trevor Manuel’s National Planning Commission, more than one third of all workers earn less than $120 a month, while half the work force earn less than $300.

    Underpinning this social crisis is the decline of the South African economy. South Africa recently joined the BRICS, a grouping of leading emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India and China. The irony is that while SA’s economy dominates the region and the wider African continent, it can be considered a declining as opposed to a rising economy.

    This is essentially as a result of the exhaustion of the apartheid mineral and energy growth model and the failure, after the end of apartheid, to diversify the economy into new growth sectors. The opening up of the South African economy failed to attract the foreign investment that was hoped to stimulate sustained growth in the productive, job-creating sectors.

    At the heart of South Africa’s decline are three interrelated factors, namely SA’s declining resource base, weak internal markets and demand for consumer goods, and a policy framework that has encouraged an open and externally oriented economy that facilitates financialization and capital flight.

    While the post-apartheid literature has focused on both the structural weaknesses of the South African economy and the neoliberal policy framework as barriers to sustained development, less attention has been centered on SA’s declining resource base.

    In South Africa there is a common pattern of resource depletion across a wide range of key resource sectors, such as energy, minerals (for example coal reserve estimates have been revised downwards to just one fifth of original estimates), water (by 2004, 98% of the total water resource had already been allocated), and soil fertility (land degradation has already occurred on 41% of cultivated land).

    Even South Africa’s biodiversity and environmental infrastructure are under extreme stress from industrial processes and climate change. The resource depletion of these key sectors will have an adverse effect on South African exports and drive up the input costs of locally produced goods further undermining the economy. Unless economic growth is decoupled from rising rates of resource use and negative environmental impacts, economic development will suffer with negative consequences for society and the environment.

    Against the background of the global crisis, South Africa’s vulnerability to external shocks from the global economy have been successively demonstrated through currency crashes, capital flight, export declines and massive job losses. During the Great Recession of 2008-2009 alone, a million jobs were lost.

    All of this has contributed to making SA one of, if not the most unequal country in the world. Measured by the Gini co-efficient SA has a 0.73 measure, where one represents absolute income inequality. [This is a statistical measure of how much income is concentrated at top layers. By comparison, in the United States, the most unequal of major industrial economies, the Gini coefficient is between 0.46 and 0.47 — ed.]

    The almost doubling of the rate of unemployment since the end of apartheid is a major reason for the rise in inequality. Seventy percent of the unemployed are under 35 years of age and more than 60% of the unemployed are women.

    Women in the rural areas, especially the former Bantustan areas, are the most affected by unemployment and poverty — especially because of the government’s failure to redistribute land. Of the 30% target for land redistribution by 2014, less than 7% has been placed in the hands of black people. Much of this land is not being farmed productively due to the failure of government to support communities with inputs and agricultural extension services.

    Inequality is also represented in the unequal access to water, electricity, sanitation, housing, education and health services. This has led to a wave of militant service delivery protests, which has made SA the country with the highest incidents of protests per capita in the world. [See an account by Zachary Levenson in this issue.]

    Toward an Alternative

    ATC: What is the Democratic Left Front, and to what extent is it — or can it become — an alternative force? What are its strategic priorities and its level of support within the working class?

    BA: The Democratic Left Front (DLF) is an anti-capitalist political united front of social movements, trade unions, community organizations and political currents which was formally launched in January 2011. It has structures in most of SA’s nine provinces and although it did not participate in the 2011 local government elections has 20 elected councillors working with it through affiliated organizations.

    Its main strategic priority is to link and bring solidarity to the thousands of grassroots struggles that have erupted around the country in view of the government’s failure to provide basic and essential services to poor people. In the face of mass unemployment (40% when discouraged workers are included) and a huge housing backlog of more than two million units, the DLF has launched a campaign that brings these two issues together. We call for a massive housing program that can stimulate downstream industries and create millions of jobs in construction, plumbing, carpentry, etc.

    Given the DLF’s orientation to eco-socialism we support the campaign for “One Million Climate Jobs,” which are understood as jobs that bring down the emission of greenhouse gasses (GHG) that is leading to runaway climate change. Since SA is the 12th biggest emitter of GHGs in the world it is urgent that we switch to renewable energy (mainly solar and wind), build a decent public transport system (thereby take polluting trucks and cars off the roads), retrofit building to be energy efficient, and shift our agriculture from industrial to small-scale organic agriculture.

    In this way millions of climate jobs can be created and reorient our economy away from the current extraction-based one, toward a more diversified industrial economy addressing the most urgent needs of our people. It is in this way that climate change can be brought to the attention of working people on any mass level. Otherwise climate change is too remote in time and space and is drowned out by immediate crises of housing, education, health and of course decent work.

    The DLF is growing into a significant force, especially in Gauteng, the heartland of SA’s working class. However, we see it as important to relate to COSATU, the dominant mass trade union movement in the country, which is currently in alliance with the ANC and the SACP. We believe as tensions increases in the ANC Alliance the possibility for an even broader regroupment with the left of COSATU and other social movements will be the basis for a mass political alternative to the ANC.

    Since this development remains some few years from being realized, it is important to build the DLF in current struggles and fill the vacuum on the left, especially since the SACP has liquidated itself into the ANC and ceased to act as an independent force that mobilizes working-class communities.

    ATC: Cape Town is the only major city ruled by the Democratic Alliance (the liberal opposition party) and the Cape is the only area where people not classified “black” in the former color lines under apartheid — “Coloreds,” Indians and whites — are the majority. We understand that many blacks (not just supporters of the ANC) see this as a problem. How true are those sentiments? What is the social composition of the Democratic Alliance? Are DA’s black supporters mainly from the professional and wealthy classes? Is it a serious threat to the ANC in the longer term?

    BA: The majority of people in Cape Town and the Province of the Western Cape are what was termed “Coloured” by the apartheid regime. It is necessary to bear in mind that under apartheid Cape Town was also treated as a “Coloured labour preferential region.” This meant that migration by so-called Africans from the Bantustans was highly restricted. This explains its peculiar demographics.

    Furthermore, from a historical perspective one has to understand that Cape Town is the oldest city of South Africa and was home of several waves of colonialism (Dutch, British) as well as home to the first African and Malaysian slaves.

    Cape Town has a rich history of resistance, trade unionism and militant struggles. So-called “Coloured” people played a leading role in the anti-apartheid and anti-capitalist movement in the Western Cape. However, the role and contribution of this section of the oppressed people were not fully integrated in the post-apartheid assertion of African Nationalism. African nationalism defined itself too narrowly to integrate and give so-called Coloured people a sense of being part of the Nation-in-construction.

    Since this section of the population was slightly better off in terms of wages, housing and living standards, affirmative action and the indigenization of the state after the fall of apartheid led to fears that “Coloured” people would lose out to “Africans.” This heightened processes of polarization and the weakening of a common black identity (as pursued during the liberation struggle) and fueled sentiments of a separate identity.

    Little has been done to overcome the legacy of spatial apartheid, separate development and other barriers (language, education, sports). People from the “Coloured” community continue to live in the same townships and their children attend the same schools as they did under apartheid.

    These conditions fueled the flames of insecurities and fears in working-class communities as they experienced the brunt of neoliberal policies: massive shrinkage of public sector jobs in municipal services, education, health and the service sector generally. Mass unemployment and deprivation in many “Coloured” townships have given rise to a deep level of alienation from the society, particularly among the youth.

    This has fueled very high levels of gangsterism, crime and substance abuse that resemble some areas of the Afro-American ghettoes. It is largely based on the insecurities flowing from this situation, as well as the phenomena of mass unemployment, that alienated the “Coloured” vote from the ANC. However, the Democratic Alliance (DA) only gained this constituency through a series of mergers with smaller parties such as the Independent Democrats and the former National Party (old apartheid party).

    The DA’s core constituency remains middle class whites. However, as people are made more desperate by rising unemployment and the failure of government to provide basic services together with increasing corruption, the DA, as the main opposition party, is making some inroads into the black townships.

    It is likely in the next election that an alliance of smaller parties, including the breakaway from the ANC at the time of the toppling of Mbeki, the Congress of the People (COPE), will form an electoral alliance with the DA and thereafter merge. In this way the DA could get greater support in some African townships. Nevertheless, black middle classes support mainly the ANC and are mobilized through a chauvinistic African nationalism.

    ATC: How do you in South Africa view the spectacle of U.S. politics from a distance?

    BA: Well, we are very impressed with the emergence of the Occupy Movement as the movement of the 99% as opposed to the 1% elite that dominates all aspects of life in the USA. Its emergence as Occupy Wall Street was inspiring and created great excitement given the role of Wall Street in the financial crisis and sustaining neoliberalism.

    Much of the details of the Occupy Movement, what are the different forces at play and various ideological predispositions, are lost on us through our distance from the USA, even though the Internet brings everything closer together.

    There were initially great illusions amongst large layers of black people in SA regarding Obama’s triumphant election as the United States’ first black president. Among progressive layers this has collapsed as Obama continued to pursue Bush’s war on terror and interventions in the Middle East. Many South Africans were angered by the USA’s defense of Mubarak during the Egyptian uprising and the deployment of U.S. military forces to Africa.

    The emergence of the Tea Party and other reactionary forces in and around the Republican Party are mainly lost on us. It is when Romney emerges as a presidential candidate and accuses Obama of pursuing socialist policies, and it is reported that 40% of the U.S. population believe that to be true, our eyes glaze over and we tend to give up making sense of politics in the USA.

    What makes things especially difficult for us to understand is that with the impact of the economic crisis, the millions of people who have lost their homes and life savings due to the crisis and the role of the 1%, we would expect mass working-class demonstrations, protests and even general strikes. We find it difficult to understand why there are not more Wisconsin moments and why these are not more successful in stopping the elites. After all, they are just the 1%!

    [For articles from Amandla! and subscription information, go to http://www.amandlapublishers.co.za/.%5D

    September/October 2012, ATC 160

  19. selcoolie says :

    Bosses mum on end of Lonmin strike

    September 18 2012 at 06:35pm 


    By SAPA

    (File image) The Lonmin mine near Rustenburg, South Africa.

    Related Stories

    • Lonmin miners cut demands

    Rustenburg – Lonmin management could not confirm that the strike at the Marikana mine in North West had ended on Tuesday night.

    “Lonmin can’t comment yet because it is not yet official. They are about to start the meeting to finalise it all and sign agreements,” said Lonmin’s Sue Vey.

    Striking miners have accepted a 22-percent pay rise and would return to work on Thursday, worker leader Zolisa Bodlani said earlier.

    Reporting back to workers at the platinum mine in Marikana on Tuesday, Bodlani said the increase would be applied across the board.

    Rock drill operators would now get R11 078 a month before deductions, production team leaders R13 022, and operators R9 883.

    Workers would further receive a once-off bonus of R2000.

    President of the SA Council of Churches, Bishop Jo S eoka, who was also part of the workers’ negotiations, said the offer was closer to the R12,500 the workers had been demanding since they went on strike on August 10.

    “We are happy with the latest offer; it is better than what the workers got before they went on strike.”

    The negotiators were expected to meet mine management later on Tuesday to sign the agreement. They would address workers at 10am on Wednesday to report back on the signing of the agreement.

    Workers were happy with the latest offer. They whistled and jumped with joy, telling the negotiators to sign the deal.

    Some carried Bodlani on their shoulders, saying he had never let  them down and he was their hero.

    The pay hike brings to an end the violent strike that has claimed the lives of 45 lives since August 10.

    On August 16, 34 workers were killed when police opened fire on them, and 78 were wounded. A total of 270 workers were arrested.

    The preceding week saw 10 people killed in violent protests.

    Another man, reported to be a National Union of Mineworkers shop  steward, was found dead last week.

    – Sapa

    Com,m,ents from fb

    David Van Wyk
    Today’s agreement represents a real victory for workers. Unions usually demand between 8% and 13% increases. the workers secured a 22% increase. But the struggle is not over. Tomorrow John and I will make a presentation to the parliament portfolio committee on the appalling conditions in which mineworkers at Marikana and elsewhere live, a matter that government and mines must address over and above the wage issue. The workers will now earn R11 000, still short of R12 500 but a huge improvement none the less.

    Mazibuko K. Jara
    Victory to the heroes of Marikana who stood their ground in pursuit of a living wage!!! Now for the hard task of building class conscious worker organisation on the basis of democratic worker control and excellent service to members. All serious activists must do whatever they can to achieve this.

    Palesa Morudu
    Victory for #Marikana suddenly renders #Cosatu gathering irrelevant. wait for conspiracy theories to emerge from #Gallergher that the Marikana victory is a conspiracy between Amcu and Lonmin to undermine the “revolutionary” NUM.
    Marikana miners stood their ground despite #Zuma’s various attempts to break their strike which included cops firing live bullets and a declaration of a “state of emergency” against those poor people.

    Thina Ramanugu

    Indeed the workers in Marikana Lonmin Plat Mine are courageous,principled and true revolutionaries,pity some had to pay with their lives while those who claimed to represent them were to too concerned with caucuses to stay in power,bickering with Amcu and whatever else they deemed more important

    Trevor Kekana
    ‎”It’s a great victory for the Marikana mineworkers. A 22% pay increase for Rock Drillers – which takes their package to just over R11 000 – is the highest pay increase in wage negotiations in this country. Thanks to those who kept their legitimate aspirations alive at great cost and extreme provocation and intimidation.”

    Sammy Mashita
    It is a great victory for Marikana mineworkers for the settlement to be 22 percent pay increase for rock drillers which takes their package just over R11 000, the highest pay increase in wage negotiations in this country. Thanx to those who kept the legitimate aspirations of those rock drillers alive at great cost and extreme provocation and intimidation.

    Elaine Rosa Salo
    Lonmin miners’ strike at Marikana is over. Anglican bishop Joe Seoka who was part of the mediation team negotiating between Lonmin bosses and miners reports that agreement has been reached with Lonmin to increase miners’ salaries by approx 22%. This means salaries of between approximately R3 900.00 and R11 000 pm. Pyrrhic victory or the beginning of a fundamental change in governance and ownership of mining in this country?

  20. Sel Cool says :

    South Africa Post 16th August Mine Massacre … Quo Vadis?

    Miners’ strikes add to fears of South African economic downturn
    By Jordan Shilton
    26 September 2012
    The African National Congress (ANC) government has reaffirmed its determination to pursue right wing economic and social “reforms.” It did so after complaints about the impact of the recent strikes in the mining industry on an economy showing signs of stagnation.
    In an address to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) last week, President Jacob Zuma said that strikes and protests threatened to provoke a recession.
    “We cannot afford to go into a recession and revert to the 2008 and 2009 period [when] the country lost close to a million jobs, [from] which we are still battling to recover,” he said.
    Last week, workers at the Lonmin Platinum mine in Marikana, near Johannesburg, accepted an 11 to 22 percent pay deal. It came after a bitter six-week strike that saw the police massacre of 34 strikers on August 16.
    The massacre was authorised and sanctioned by the ANC and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which acts as a company union, and led to further wild cat strikes in the platinum, gold and chrome sectors. The Lonmin miners’ pay offer has become a benchmark demand for other workers.
    As well as an attempt to intimidate these strikes and dissuade others from taking action, Zuma’s remarks were meant to assuage international investors that the ANC will do whatever is necessary to safeguard their interests.
    The grassroots revolt of miners saw the exchange rate for the rand decline by over 3 percent against the dollar one week earlier this month. Credit default swaps on government debt have also risen considerably, leading to renewed warnings about a credit downgrade.
    South Africa’s credit rating, at BBB+, is at the third lowest investment grade, and has been on negative watch since March. In a statement at the time, Standard & Poor’s noted South Africa’s heavy reliance on debt markets, commenting, “Fundamental structural economic and social problems continue, such as very high unemployment and a structural current-account deficit that makes the economy dependent on external financing.”
    In its most recent budget in February, the ANC said it intended to slash South Africa’s budget deficit from its current level of around 5 percent to 3 percent of GDP by 2015. But it is reported that the monthly budget deficit for July reached a record high of 6.4 percent. Achieving the 3 percent target has already been pushed back from 2013-14 to the current target of the 2014-15 fiscal year.
    The government has imposed strict controls on funding for local government. Last Friday, for example, the education department in the Eastern Cape Province reported plans to lay off more than 11,000 teachers next year due to a budget shortfall of over 3 billion rand.
    With the 18 years since the end of apartheid having offered no improvements for broad sections of the working population, the current economic slowdown is preparing further social explosions. Social inequality has increased under ANC rule, thanks to the policy of black economic empowerment which has enriched a thin layer fabulously at the expense of the working class.
    These social divisions are being exacerbated severely by the global capitalist crisis. Europe is one of South Africa’s main export regions, accounting for 25 percent of exports, but the debt crisis in the European Union has seen this fall. Slowing growth in China and other emerging markets has put an end to any hopes of relying on these areas as new sources of business expansion.
    A recently published report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised concerns about how such economic stagnation will impact on political and social stability. The report warns, “If not addressed, the stubbornly high unemployment rate could become politically and socially unsustainable.”
    Ruling circles have been even more explicit in identifying the danger posed by working class struggles becoming increasingly political as the main threat to the government’s reforms. Michael Hough of the University of Pretoria’s institute for strategic studies told Times Live, “General strikes are known factors for revolutionary ideas and precipitate the final stages of revolutions. They are the cause of economic collapse, which, if infused with politics, as is happening, becomes an uncontrollable revolutionary force.”
    In line with the government’s own figures, the IMF cut the growth outlook for the economy to 2.6 percent this year and 3.4 percent in 2013. As a so-called “developing economy,” any rate of growth below 6 percent annually will lead to an increase in unemployment, which already stands officially at 25 percent.
    Fully 15 million South Africans depend on welfare payments to survive. The government’s drive to reduce the budget deficit will see this increase by over a million in the coming years, to 16.5 million. Zuma commented at the end of last year, “We cannot sustain a situation where social grants are growing all the time and think it can be a permanent feature.”
    The IMF called in its report for the imposition of labour market “reforms” and cutting public sector wages. It noted that South Africa suffered from a competitive disadvantage, with its labour unit costs being much too high. It drew attention to the increase in the public sector pay bill, which it warned could prevent the government from meeting its budget deficit targets.
    This is a view shared within growing sections of business, calling for payroll costs to be slashed. As a recent Reuters article stated, “South Africa’s union-friendly labour legislation enforces a minimum monthly wage of about $230-$240, much higher than $55 and $70 in neighbours Zimbabwe and Mozambique.”
    The ANC has made clear in the brutality meted out to the Lonmin miners, as well as the on-going repressive measures taken against other strikes, that workers’ resistance will be met with state violence. Zuma’s move to allow the domestic deployment of the army shows that ruling circles are preparing for such conflicts.
    This is a strategy supported fully by the ANC’s allies in the tripartite alliance, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and COSATU. Having supported the repression and denounced the pay award, the unions are now threatening that workers’ demands will lead to job losses and damage the economy.
    Last week Lonmin confirmed that it will put one of its mine shafts into care and terminate its contract with a labour agency that supplies around 1,200 staff.

    @ http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/sep2012/safr-s26.shtml

  21. Sel Cool says :

    Mangaung Versus Marikana: COSATU Chooses Sides

    By Leonard Gentle · 26 Sep 2012

    In the run up to the September COSATU Congress, the media began to float the story that Zwelenzima Vavi’s position as General Secretary was going to be challenged by NUM, NEHAWU and SADTU because of his perceived opposition to Jacob Zuma. A subtext to this was the idea of the congress as some kind of debating forum where workers would reflect seriously on critical issues facing the labour movement and where there would be the rough and tumble of debate and contestation.

    But two shadows loomed over the congress and posed opposing challenges. The spectre of Mangaung loomed over the halls of Gallagher Estate, whilst a few miles away, a strike wave on the mines was spreading after the massacre of workers in Marikana. Faced with the choice of justice for the murdered miners and solidarity with the striking workers versus the politics of the ANC’s succession battles at Mangaung, COSATU chose the latter. Instead of being revived by a new movement of workers challenging the citadels of power, COSATU chose to locate itself firmly with those who are already in power.

    So with COSATU viewing the world through the prism of the ANC’s Conference in Mangaung, there was no leadership challenge. Instead COSATU’s affiliate leadership engaged in backroom horse-trading to ensure the usual highly managed continuity. Delegates were given T-shirts proclaiming, “Hands off NUM, Hands off COSATU” and flags to wave while listening to long speeches by the President of South Africa, the ANC, the SACP and a range of cabinet ministers. The speeches and dignitaries took up almost three days of a 4-day congress and as a result, all the affiliate-sponsored political and organisational resolutions were deferred to the smaller body, the Central Executive Committee.

    This practice of stage management where delegates are subjected to the domination of dignitaries has been a feature of COSATU congresses for some time now with many delegates milling around outside taking photos on their cell phones and seeking advice from the dozens of medical aid, insurance and other corporate service providers positioned in the foyer of the cavernous Gallagher Estate in Midrand. Indeed one of these corporate service providers, Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Minerals, largely paid for the congress.

    With no leadership challenge, the politics deferred to a smaller leadership structure and the whole thing carefully stage managed, the only debate was around Vavi’s secretariat report, which ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, NUM, NEHAWU and SADTU felt was too critical of the ANC. So it was appropriately toned down.

    Vavi’s prescient warnings before the congress and those in his secretarial report – that unless COSATU took a serious look at itself, a future of splits and disintegration loomed – went unheeded. Ironically Vavi raced from the Congress to Gold Fields’ Driefontein mine to declare the Lonmin workers victory of a 22% wage increase “bad for the economy” and to call on the striking workers to go back to work.

    COSATU’s betrayal is no cause for celebration. The federation, like its predecessors FOSATU, SAAWU, SACTU, CNETU and the ICU, was built on the blood and guts of ordinary workers. Its journey from the radical voice of millions of workers to the shabby caricature it has become today needs an explanation and objective analysis — especially since one senses in the new mood of workers in the mining sector and in the ongoing service delivery revolts that a new movement is being forged, and everyone needs to learn the lessons of the one currently in terminal decline.

    Already some voices in the media and amongst economists have latched onto research reports commissioned by COSATU, which reveal that its members are dissatisfied with services, their wage increases and so on, and suggest that COSATU has become too political and needs to get back to its core business of servicing its membership. Even inside COSATU, Vavi has been calling for such an approach for some while now.

    But the intimate and direct relationship between the issues of collective bargaining and political power and the political policies of the state have long been a feature of the landscape of labour movements here in South Africa and everywhere else in the world. To wish to lock a labour movement into some kind of pure syndicalist box simply defies the lessons of recent history and the experience of social movement unionism in parts of the world today where the labour movement is growing in number and in influence. And the striking Lonmin workers at Marikana have discovered that what appears to be a simple matter of pursuing higher wages, brought them into the centre of world and domestic politics – not to mention their murders.

    To echo an old feminist slogan, “The industrial is political!”

    The problem is not that COSATU has been too political. The problem is that COSATU has not been political enough. COSATU has abandoned political leadership to the ANC and suffered the consequences of being the lap dog of the ruling party’s neoliberal policies.

    But we also need other explanations for the decline of COSATU. There are at least two. One relates to the changing composition of the working class brought about by 20 years of neoliberal capitalism and the other relates to COSATU’s involvement in the palace coup that brought Jacob Zuma to power.

    The first is the much deeper structural explanation. While today’s working class is largely a mass of working poor, informalised, casualised and eking out an existence in urban and rural shantytowns, COSATU has been moving upstream. Here many of us have already been spelling out the changing nature and composition of COSATU’s affiliate members – the prevalence of white-collar public sector workers; the beneficiaries of affirmative action in the public sector and so on.

    Recent studies of NUM in the Business Day also paint a picture of the culture of full time shop stewards getting paid extra allowances for attending the plethora of negotiating and policy forums of the Chamber of Mines and the investment units of NUM. And the top-ups that branch elected officials and organisers similarly get – all of which generate the notion of the union, not as a site of struggle but as a career path and a source of perks.

    The second, less structural, but no less important reason for COSATU’s decline can be traced to what appears to have been its crowning glory moment: unseating a sitting president and hoisting its preferred candidate, Jacob Zuma, into office.

    Like the fallout suffered by Lady Macbeth and her spouse in Shakespeare’s Scottish play it is noticeable how all the conspirators who united to kick out Mbeki in 2009, the ANCYL, COSATU and the SACP, have come to grief. We all now know of the travails of the ANCYL and its expelled leaders. The SACP has been reduced to a government department whilst its cadres squabble over whether Blade Nzimande should be full-time or not. While the same part-time General Secretary spends his time slandering strikers. Nobody could have predicted Marikana and its aftermath. Now it’s COSATU’s turn.

    None of this was about political programme principle. Instead the coalition of COSATU, the SACP, the ANCYL, the collection of businessmen like Sexwale, the Shaik brothers and the Mkhwanazis, which swept Zuma into power, all demanded their pound of flesh and this has produced high levels of chaos and infighting. And the fact that all of these forces need to be rewarded with cars, positions in the state and the parastatals and lucrative contracts, heightens public disgust with the avarice of the new order.

    In the past, COSATU sought to fight battles within the Alliance by acting as some kind of progressive counterweight to all the ANC’s rightward shifts – from the RDP as a negotiation chip with the ANC; to wanting to have its own candidates; to the debates around the Alliance as the “political centre”. Then came the Jacob Zuma moment and their pact with the devil. Now COSATU and the SACP are accommodated in the cabinet and on the top floor of Luthuli House. Now there is nowhere else to go, except call for a defence of the Polokwane resolutions.

    So when Marikana happened and it was their government who summoned the police against striking workers, all COSATU could do was to close ranks around its sweetheart union and around its government.

    COSATU disgracefully participated in the demonization of Lonmin workers. NUM claimed that many of the Marikana massacre victims were not workers or even employees of Lonmin. That this somehow de-legitimises their struggles and their strike. But if the whole community at Marikana came out in support of the striking workers and paid with their lives, whether they were employed there or not – isn’t this something that COSATU always tried to achieve in its heyday? Isn’t this a reflection of COSATU’s once-revered slogan, “An injury to one is and injury to all!”

    The September Congress revealed all this.

    Which brings us to the one bit of policy adopted by the Congress – the idea of pushing the ANC government for an economic policy shift in Zuma’s likely second term: the so-called Lula shift.

    This is the safe space of economic policy debates, which make some sections of the media sit up. Its politics is that of touting something new, something vaguely more left wing than the ANC government’s policies and then taking away – by condemning the striking workers and affirming your undying loyalty to the ANC – any possibility of winning the struggle for these policies, in advance. So then the Lula moment will go the way of a long line of such catchy slogans. Who now remembers the Second Transition and the New Growth Plan?

    But ironically enough, the choice of COSATU’s call for a “Lula moment” to frame its call for economic policy changes is not without its own appropriateness. Lula the erstwhile Brazilian President came to power in 2002 as head of the Workers Party (PT) having been general secretary of Brazil’s COSATU equivalent – the CUT (Central Unificaio du Trabalhadores). With his first election Lula proceeded to embrace neoliberal policies including cutting pensions for public sector workers. This led to a crisis within the CUT, as the federation fought Lula on this betrayal. Some unions of the CUT then walked out when the federation would not take a stand against its PT ally. These unions grouped themselves into a new labour movement called CONLUTAS and have consistently challenged the CUT to break with the appeasement policies towards both Lula and his successor, Dilma Roussef.

    Today while the CUT is in the doldrums, CONLUTAS is growing and has extended its membership, particularly into Brazil’s huge mining industry.

    Here in South Africa the Lonmin workers have had to struggle using only their own bodies and resources and self-organisation – despite, and against, those historically closest to them.

    And in the middle of their struggles they had to scrutinise and discern from amongst the many gawkers, who was with them and who was being wheeled in complete with bodyguards and bling, to use them as a publicity opportunity for other causes. The Julius Malema factor was as if scripted by his erstwhile Alliance partners. They needed an excuse to justify the killing of the miners and the demonising of their struggles, and Malema provided them with one.

    But this was no mere industrial relations issue. The barbaric mining practices of Lonmin are just one of the faces of neoliberal capitalism in South Africa.

    The lack of housing and the abandonment by the state of any responsibility for services is another. The platinum belt is the jewel in the mining crown. But it is also home to the worst squalor of informal settlements, broken communal taps and inadequate communal toilets. Throughout the country SA’s local authorities are crisis ridden as the neoliberal model puts them in an impossible squeeze – having to take on more services with fewer resources. And then have this overlaid with local instances of corruption. This has been the stuff fuelling the service delivery revolts throughout the country.

    So we should all be prepared for an ongoing storm.

    With the ANC’s moral legitimacy irrevocably gone…and with COSATU’s betrayal of its past working class traditions, the struggle for social justice has now passed on to a whole new working class who are outside the Tripartite Alliance and its constituent parts.

    A new movement is being forged – right in front of our eyes – and its time once again to take sides…COSATU has made its choice but what about the rest of us?

    Gentle is the director of the International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG), an NGO that produces educational materials for activists in social movements and trade unions.
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  22. Sel Cool says :

    South Africa: still an apartheid state

    ESSAY: The roots of the Marikana massacre lie in the ANC’s deep antipathy to those it relied upon to rise to power: the black working classes…

    Charles Longford

    Wednesday 26 September 2012

    Since the massacre of 34 striking miners in the Marikana region of South Africa last month, there has been a lot of handwringing about the underlying causes of the outrage. Many have located the massacre in the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) failure to deal with the enduring legacy of Apartheid, but in truth the roots of the tragedy lie elsewhere – in the reality of South African capitalism, and in the politics of the ANC and its alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP).

    In trying to understand how something like the Marikana massacre could happen, it is important to grasp that the leaders of the ANC have always had a contradictory attitude towards their mass base, the black working class. That the ANC’s leadership is now acting with hatred and violence towards the very constituency that it allegedly represents (and upon whose sacrifice it rode to power), has surprised many commentators. But in reality, Marikana has merely brought to the fore the class interests and tensions at the heart of post-Apartheid South Africa and its ANC-led governing alliance.

    The roots of the Marikana massacre can be traced back to the formation of the alliance between the ANC and the SACP in the early 1950s. Following the Apartheid regime’s brutal crushing of the ANC-led defiance campaign in the 1950s, the black masses had always been the key to the ebb and flow of the liberation struggle. But the tragedy of South Africa is that they were never able to develop an independent perspective. Instead, they became the adjunct of political interests that were largely hostile to the real interests of the black working class.

    Before examining this in more detail, it is worth reflecting on the fact that it was the black masses’ resilience that brought about the end of Apartheid. When outgoing Apartheid-era president FW De Klerk claimed that he ‘won the liberation struggle’ because the decision to end Apartheid had been made ‘long before’ Nelson Mandela had been released from prison, his absurd assertion went unchallenged. Indeed, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet there would never have been any change in South Africa, let alone non-racial elections, had it not been for the determination of the black majority to liberate the country from Apartheid. De Klerk, and his Western backers, would never have contemplated change if they had not been forced to by the resistance of the black masses.

    De Klerk’s attempt to write the black resistance struggle out of South African history was never contested by the ANC. It is often forgotten that during the first post-Apartheid election campaign in 1994, the history of Apartheid and the role of the National Party was the subject of considerable revisionism. Indeed, under a clause forbidding ‘unfair criticism’ of political opponents, the Independent Electoral Commission prohibited candidates from saying the National Party built and ran the Apartheid system – despite the fact that it did.

    Effacing the role of the black masses in the liberation struggle in the post-Apartheid era was more than an abuse of historical record. The new ANC political elite also had every interest in marginalising its own ‘Trojan Horse’. So the more that the white ruling class was able to insist that it, and not the masses, had brought about the end of Apartheid, the easier it was for the old elite to secure its status and relationship with the new aspirant black elite represented by the ANC as part of the new rainbow-nation South Africa. And it was this political marginalisation of the black working class, in which the new and old elites were complicit, that set the scene for the massacre in Marikana.

    This is a bold assertion. But it is one that is based upon an understanding of the reality of how the market operates in a country like South Africa.

    A lot of rubbish has been written about South Africa. For example, one of the most enduring myths is that Apartheid resulted from the backwoodsmen prejudices of South Africa’s Afrikaner minority. Yes, members of that minoriy benefited from Apartheid and many of them were racists. But Apartheid – the forcible denial of democratic rights to South Africa’s black majority – was never simply an irrational racist system. It was also essential to the accumulation of vast wealth in South Africa. Apartheid was the form that the market took in South Africa at the time, a form of capitalist organisation for extending the boundaries of exploitation and wealth creation. Violent repression and political oppression were as necessary to the market as foreign capital.

    And the form capitalism took in South Africa had fundamental consequences for all sections of society.

    The consequences of Apartheid
    Apartheid temporarily solved a problem for the tiny white elite in South Africa: how to exploit the black masses economically, while denying them political influence. So under the doctrine of ‘separate development’, blacks were told they could not vote, live in white areas or travel anywhere without permission. Instead they were made ‘citizens’ of remote ‘tribal homelands’, and forced to operate as an impoverished army of migrant workers. Apartheid facilitated the exploitation of 23million blacks on a scale that was the envy of the capitalist world.

    De Klerk’s forefathers – the architects of Apartheid – created conditions in which a carefully controlled labour force could produce wealth on the scale needed by South African capitalists if they were to compete in the international market. They took advantage of a host of racist institutions inherited from the British administration of South Africa to realise their capitalist ambitions and simultaneously attract much-needed foreign investment. The steady supply of cheap black labour guaranteed by the Apartheid state, together with massive subsidies and import restrictions, led South Africa’s real gross domestic product to grow by 67 per cent in the decade up to 1960. South Africa’s annual growth rates were second only to Japan’s in the Fifties and Sixties. Apartheid was no obstacle to these developments. On the contrary, it was the mechanism upon which South African capitalism relied.

    Because Apartheid relied upon racial oppression, the colour of one’s skin determined one’s existence. Legally enshrined ‘separate development’ reduced the lives of blacks to a totalitarian nightmare. The ruthless imposition of the pass laws created a permanent state of terror, dictating where blacks could move and work in the white-owned economy. And while black life was strictly controlled and policed, concessions to white workers helped to integrate these workers into the racist system of domination. ‘Petty Apartheid’ – the system of whites-only restaurants, beaches, hotels, public transport and the ban on racial intermarriage – cemented an alliance which gave working-class whites an interest in cooperating with white employers to maintain racial discrimination.

    The consequences for the tiny black middle class that began to emerge properly after the Second World War were equally harsh. Racial oppression ensured that all blacks faced the same discrimination and exclusion from the spoils of capitalism. There was no chance of accommodating the emerging black middle classes’ moderate, pro-market demands for equal participation in South African society.

    What is infrequently acknowledged is that the ANC’s nationalist politics, and its leaders like Nelson Mandela, were initially rabidly pro-market. Theirs was a narrow and conservative nationalism, which in many ways aped postwar Afrikaner nationalism. The unfortunate historic accident of South Africa is that the success of Afrikaner nationalism meant African nationalism could not be accommodated into the system and instead was ruthlessly repressed.

    The real problem facing the emerging African nationalists was that on their own, they stood little chance of generating any significant political pressure to affect change. In short, they needed the black majority on their side to press for political change. But to do this they could not use their own narrow political and pro-market aspirations, which would have flatly failed to enthuse or mobilise a movement overwhelmingly made up of urbanised wage labourers. And this is where the South African Communist Party came in: it furnished the ANC with the radical credentials it needed to mobilise the black masses.

    The ANC developed a long and close relationship with the Communist Party, which the moderate ANC leadership used to consolidate its relationship with the militant black masses. The ANC’s Communist Party-inspired ‘Freedom Charter’, which embraced state control of the economy and made promises to ‘return the wealth of the people to the people as a whole’, gave it the language and tools to legitimise its campaign in the eyes of working blacks.

    Yet, caught between its own insignificance as a social force and the uncompromising Apartheid regime, the ANC’s pragmatic embrace of Stalinism led the ANC to become unacceptable to South African capitalism. Conflict and struggle were the order of the day. It would take the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the discrediting of ‘African socialism’ to alter the South African political climate sufficiently to allow the Apartheid regime to contemplate bringing the ANC into government, where its pro-market roots could be teased away from its state-socialist rhetoric.

    The two-stage theory of revolution
    It is impossible to understand how the national-liberation struggle evolved and culminated in the negotiated compromise of 1994 without understanding the politics of the ANC-led alliance against Apartheid. The role of the SACP cannot be overstated. Its theoretical and programmatic influence shaped the strategy and tactics of the liberation struggle with disastrous consequences. Remember, this is the Communist Party that was famed for its slogan in the 1920s which called upon the workers of the world ‘to unite to keep South Africa white’ – an expression of support for a colour bar prohibiting black workers from skilled jobs. The party’s justification for this at the time was that the white workers were the ‘vanguard’ of the struggle. This was just the start of the grisly twists and turns that characterised the development of South African Stalinism.

    Central to the SACP’s theory, which was later codified by its leading Marxist activist and academic Harold Wolpe, was that the central contradiction in South Africa was not the wage-labour/capital relationship but, in its own obscurantist language, the ‘articulation between two modes of production’. This suggested that South Africa was a pre-capitalist social formation that needed a national democratic revolution, which would, in turn, allow the full development of capitalist social relations. Only then could the classic class struggle – between labour and capital – be undertaken and society transformed into a socialist state. This was the foundation of the ‘two-stage theory of revolution’, where the first stage was the democratic struggle to be followed by the second, the socialist transformation of society.

    But Apartheid wasn’t a pre-capitalist phenomenon. It was the form that capitalism took in South Africa for historic and political reasons. By confusing the form of South African capitalism with its essence (the wage labour/capital relationship), the SACP provided the theoretical justification for the separation of the struggle for democratic rights from the anti-capitalist struggle. This introduced a tension between short and long-term goals in the ANC programme. In the past, the struggle against Apartheid for black-majority rule was the ‘immediate goal’, while the socialist transformation of South African society was the ‘long-term’ one. The separation of these stages in theory, when it was impossible to separate them in reality, meant that the ‘long-term’ goal of socialism was always put off indefinitely. This separation, which reflected the separate class interests of the social forces making up the national-liberation movement, contained the seeds of all the compromises and betrayals that followed in 1994.

    The critical role of the two-stage theory of revolution was that it gave the ANC the radical credentials to appeal to the black masses. It also, incidentally, enabled the ANC to use recondite Stalinist jargon about objective reality and the mysterious ‘balance of forces’, to ‘educate’ the masses as to why the political goal of a limited democratic transition was necessary.

    The compromise that the ANC negotiated in the early 1990s revealed what the two-stage theory of revolution meant in practice: a compromise that would not even realise the first stage of the two-stage revolution, the development of democracy. The constitution agreed upon by the National Party and the ANC ensured that the outcome of the first democratic election would not result in black-majority rule. Instead, it guaranteed a coalition government with De Klerk as vice-president and other ex-Apartheid leaders in top cabinet jobs. Similarly undemocratic arrangements were built into the new South Africa at every level of government. The overall effect was to defraud the masses of their democratic rights, and to shield the old Apartheid state from popular pressure. The two-stage theory of revolution postponed not only the socialist transformation of South Africa, but black-majority rule, too.

    Betrayal and ‘Marikanas’ waiting to happen
    The compromise of the new constitution was always a possibility in South Africa. The socially insignificant black petit-bourgeois political elite was always predisposed to accepting a compromise as long as it could gain access to political power and the right to participate in the market economy. Prior to De Klerk’s willingness to reform Apartheid, the ANC leaders had little choice but to uphold their Stalinist rhetoric about ‘socialist transformation’ to maintain their appeal to their working-class base. They knew, as did the Apartheid regime itself, that the real power to force change was the black masses.

    But the collapse of the Soviet Union and the discrediting of ‘African socialism’ more broadly in the 1980s and 1990s changed all that. Around the world, liberation movements were put on the defensive. The ANC soon toned down its programme, accepting the market economy and dumping the armed struggle. The changed political context persuaded South African capitalists that they could do business with Mandela without putting their wealth and social power at risk. As a consequence, the National Party conceded reforms.

    Indeed, the remarkable thing about the lead-up to the first post-Apartheid elections in 1994 was how the ANC under Nelson Mandela increasingly demonstrated to the old rulers of Apartheid that they had little to fear from an ANC-led government. The ANC unilaterally gave up its armed struggle, renounced its state-socialist policies and embraced the market economy. It also pledged not to interfere with the repressive machinery of the Apartheid state, a fact that has become all too apparent in recent weeks. Most importantly, it accepted a constitutional arrangement that institutionalised power-sharing and minority rights at every level of government, effectively abandoning its commitment to real black-majority rule. Post-Apartheid South Africa gained a black government, but the white-minority capitalist class, and its international backers, continued to exercise social power. The ANC effectively abandoned its base to get a piece of the action.

    President De Klerk’s entire strategy of negotiation was geared towards moderating the ANC, separating it from its mass base while protecting the white privileged minority. His National Party was reconciled to seeing black faces in government. De Klerk’s strategy was always about drawing the liberation movement – or at least sections of the ANC leadership – into a relationship with the state. It followed the classic decolonisation strategy perfected by British imperialism, first in Ireland and then used to great effect in Africa and Asia. By rewarding moderation while brutally cracking down on those unwilling to compromise, De Klerk succeeded in moderating the ANC to the point where it dropped all talk of fundamental economic and social change, and even abandoned black-majority rule, the democratic principle at the heart of the liberation struggle.

    The retreat of the ANC was perhaps the greatest in the history of national-liberation movements. In 1969, the ANC conference in exile at Morogoro, Tanzania, adopted the document ‘Forward to freedom: strategy and tactics of the African National Congress’. The ‘Morogoro Declaration’ signalled the ANC’s intention to be a liberation movement committed to mobilising the black masses and overthrowing the Apartheid regime. In appealing to the black working class, the document spelled out that liberation meant more than electing a black government: ‘[T]o allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the root of racial supremacy and does not even represent the shadow of liberation.’ It was a measure of De Klerk’s success and the ANC’s complicity that even such a ‘shadow’ as power-sharing and the institutionalisation of minority rights could be celebrated as a victory and the achievement of black liberation.

    Compromise is always a reality in political struggles. But the ANC presented its betrayal of the black masses as a victory. All the sacrifices the black masses made over the years – sacrifices that allowed the ANC leaders to get where they are today – were effectively signed away in the post-Apartheid constitution. Yes, blacks got the vote, but these were now votes for a system which continued to keep them at the bottom of the pile in the factories, mines, farms and townships of Apartheid capitalism. It has taken 18 years for that reality to be murderously demonstrated at Marikana. Not only has the ANC government invoked the use of Apartheid laws, and labelled those fighting for trade-union rights and a living wage as ‘agitators’ (much as the Apartheid regime used to), but it has also deployed and used the armed power of the state to gun down striking workers in a way that Apartheid-era leaders would have applauded to the rooftops.

    Marikana has demonstrated just how hostile the ANC government is towards its own working class. It clearly illustrates that the problem in South Africa was never simply the denial of democratic rights, but the capitalist system itself. Apartheid is dead, but the economic system which it nurtured remains in place. It is not Apartheid laws that keep black South Africans in their place, but economic realities. Having the vote has not allowed millions of impoverished blacks to escape from the grim townships and move into the leafy white suburbs. Having the vote has not diminished the power of the state that is prepared to gun down its own citizens in order to protect the rights of the minority capitalist class, which now contains some black faces.

    Post-Apartheid South Africa has begun to destroy many myths. What has come as a shock to many, however, is just how closely the new African elite share the hostility of the old regime towards those who made change possible in the first place – the black working class. But despite the fact that the ANC effectively marginalised its mass base and deconstituted them politically, Marikana has also demonstrated that South Africa’s black working class has begun to make its presence felt in the new South Africa.

    Charles Longford is a London-based writer on South African current affairs. He is the author of South Africa: Black Blood on British Hands.

    reprinted from: http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/12910/

  23. Sel Cool says :

    SPOT THE DIFFERENCE(S)!!!!

    http://www.iol.co.za/news/special-features/mining-crisis/video-marikana-settlement-inspected-1.1395612#.UGw_t_nGWfo

    and

    http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-08-30-the-murder-fields-of-marikana-the-cold-murder-fields-of-marikana

    WHAT ARE WE NOT SEEING??

    THE USUAL COVER-UPS, LIES AND STUPIDITY OF A VICIOUS REGIME!

    Video: Marikana settlement inspected – IOL | News | Feature | Mining Crisis

    http://www.iol.co.za

    The Marikana commission of inquiry visited the Nkaneng informal settlement, near the hill were Lonmin miners were killed…

    ——————————————-

    SOUTH AFRICAN VOTERS STILL BEING DUPED BY “THE MYTH OF A DEMOCRATIC CONSITUTION”!

    YOU VOTE FOR PARTY LISTS NOT ACCOUNTABLE M.P.´S –

    OR DID YOU KNOT KNOW THIS???

    BIG DEAL: ANC allocates 4,500 Mangaung votes ….

    ANC allocates 4,500 Mangaung votes

    @ http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/politics/2012/10/03/anc-allocates-4500-mangaung-votes

    KwaZulu-Natal leads with 974 delegates, followed by the Eastern Cape and Limpopo with 676 and 574 respectively

    Selim Gool “The Electoral Law at the birth of democracy in South Africa in 1994 created also the death of democracy, because it disempowered the people from individual choice of their representatives through exclusion of any role for constituencies in elections at national, provincial and 50 percent municipal level.

    The Electoral Law created corporatist government, since voters lack the power of decision to hold each elected representative to account. Since they can only vote for the party-list, instead of a free choice of the individual who is to be elected, the people are required to vote also for their own disenfranchisement.

    Top-down government was fatally built into South African democracy at all levels with this exclusion of constituency accountability from the Electoral Law. It turned the National Assembly into a rubber stamp, with similar consequences in eight of the nine provinces and in the great majority of municipalities.

    Since voters are not allowed to exercise any control over each individual so-called representative, these “representatives” cannot and do not represent.
    Consequences follow.

    Firstly, corruption. Since the elected politicians are made into masters of the people through their non-accountability, it was inevitable that civil servants should also become unaccountable. With unaccountability it was inevitable that the political system should become corrupt at all levels. Unsurprisingly, this has now extended to the ANC itself, down to the level of the branch.

    Secondly, politics has become irrelevant, since the people have no power to make their wishes and opinions felt. The promise of liberation is now widely regarded as a fraud. As a result, there is great danger of the rise of unconstitutional and anti-constitutional politics, leading to bloodshed and tyranny.

    Thirdly, since the people have become bored and cynical, and feel betrayed, the ANC branch has no attraction for ordinary people, and this has left its branches wide open for takeover by criminal gangs….”

    @ http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71639?oid=261675&sn=Detail

    Politicsweb – Is democracy dead in South Africa? –

    http://www.politicsweb.co.za

  24. Sel Cool says :

    South Africa’s rich get richer under ANC: Rich still in pound seats

    http://www.bdlive.co.za/

    By Jana Marais, September 16 2012,

    THE wealth of South Africa’s 20 richest people, worth R134bn altogether, rose a mere 8% over the past year as the sluggish global economy weighed heavily on steel and mining share prices.

    Patrice Motsepe, heading the Rich List for the second year running, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, ranking third, and mining heir Nicky Oppenheimer in fourth place were the big losers in the top 20.

    The exception in the top four was second-ranked retail mogul Christo Wiese, who got a lot richer.

    Motsepe, worth R20.07bn, had to contend with his fortune shrinking 13%. Mittal’s R13bn stake in ArcelorMittal was 38% lower than last year.

    Oppenheimer’s 2.3% stake in Anglo American, worth R9bn, was 19% lower.
    Despite their investments on the JSE taking a hammering, these three were still worth more than a third of the combined wealth of the top 20.

    Each of the top 20 is worth more than R2bn. The top 30 are all worth more than R1bn, based on disclosed investments in JSE-listed companies at the end of March.

    They are all probably a lot richer as valuations do not include unlisted investments, property or cash.

    Oppenheimer, who sold the family’s 40% stake in De Beers to Anglo late last year, is estimated by Forbes to be worth $6.8bn (R57.7bn), making him the 139th-richest person in the world and the richest South African.

    Forbes puts Motsepe’s wealth at $2.7bn, ranking him fourth in South Africa behind Oppenheimer, Johann Rupert and family, whose wealth is estimated at $3.1bn, and Wiese, who is worth an estimated $3.1bn.

    India-born Mittal, who lives in London, has a global steel empire worth an estimated $20.7bn, ranking him 21st on Forbes’s list of billionaires.

    The Sunday Times Rich List shows most of South Africa’s richest people are self-made men. Sixteen of the top 20 are entrepreneurs who built their empires after spotting a gap in the market.

    Jannie Mouton, known as the “Boere Buffett” after US investment guru Warren Buffett, started financial services group PSG after he was fired from his stockbroking job at the age of 48.

    Mouton is now worth R2.5bn, putting him in 19th position. His son Piet features in 120th place with investments worth R208m.

    A handful of billionaires – the Ruperts, Oppenheimers and manganese heir Des Sacco, who has a stake in Assore – inherited family empires.

    For others, notably Motsepe and Cyril Ramaphosa, black economic empowerment legislation opened a few doors.

    The Royal Bafokeng Consortium, with stakes in companies like Vodacom and Rand Merchant Bank Holdings, ranked fifth, with assets valued at nearly R8.2bn, built on the foundations of its platinum-rich land in the North West.
    While fortunes of some billionaires dwindled over the past year, many more of them have reason to pop some vintage Dom Perignon.

    Media magnate Koos Bekker, CEO of Naspers, saw his fortune jump 117% to R3.7bn, placing him in 14th position.

    Laurie Dippenaar, GT Ferreira and Paul Harris, who founded FirstRand banking group, all ranked in the top 20, and saw their investments grow 39%, 58% and 41% respectively. Dippenaar leads the trio with investments of R7.2bn, mainly in FirstRand-related entities.

    Wiese, who holds stakes in Shoprite, Brait, PSG, Invicta Holdings and Tradehold, enjoyed 42% growth in his listed investments to R15bn.

    The taxman should be pleased. Wiese, who was found carrying £674920 in cash at London City Airport in 2009, allegedly faces an outstanding tax bill from the South African Revenue Service of R2bn.

    Ninth-ranked Stephen Saad’s fortune from Aspen Pharmacare grew 51% to R6.4bn. His colleague Gus Attridge ranked 21st and is worth nearly R2.2bn. The duo started Aspen in 1997, building a multibillion-dollar business in just 15 years.

    Ramaphosa also had a profitable year – his worth jumped 39% to R3.1bn. This includes his investments in Assore, Bidvest, Mondi, MTN, SABMiller and Standard Bank, which totalled R3.1bn, but excludes the value of unlisted investments held through Shanduka, such as McDonald’s and a coal-mining partnership with international trading house Glencore.

    Exxaro’s Sipho Nkosi, worth nearly R2bn, was ranked 22nd, and his colleague Zweli Mntambo, worth R1.1bn, is ranked 30th.

    Saki Macozoma ranks 39th with investments worth R634m. Lazarus Zim is 68th with investments worth R419.6m in Sanlam and Northam Platinum.
    Robert Gumede ranks 82nd with his Gijima stake worth R334.4m.

    Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale is not included in this year’s ranking as his listed investments were moved to blind trusts when he was appointed to the cabinet in 2009. His worth was put at R1.95-bn on the 2010 Rich List, which would have placed him 23rd on this year’s list.

    The only new entrant to this year’s top 20 is UK businessman John Whittaker, whose 20% stake in Capital Shopping Centres Group (CSC), formerly known as Liberty International, is worth R6.9bn. Whittaker gained the stake in CSC after selling The Trafford Centre, one of the UK’s biggest shopping malls, to CSC in 2011.

    Whittaker replaced electronics entrepreneur Bill Venter, who ranked 25th this year with a stake worth R1.57bn.

    * This article was first published in Sunday Times: Business Times

  25. Sel Cool says :

    South African miners continue strike in aftermath of massacre

    @ http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/aug2012/mine-a20.shtml

    By Chris Marsden

    20 August 2012

    South African platinum miners have continued their strike in the aftermath of the August 16 police massacre of 34 of their comrades in a hail of bullets that left another 78 wounded. Their anger is directed against not only mine-owner Lonmin and the police, but also the African National Congress (ANC) government and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
    The 3,000 drilling operators at the Marikana mine, northwest of Johannesburg, are striking to demand a more than 300 percent increase in their 4,000 rand ($480) minimum monthly wage to 12,500 rand ($1,500).
    The police and the ANC are acting as enforcers of the interests of the corporations. They are determined to make an example of a strike that gives expression to broad-based political and social discontent and challenges the South African bourgeoisie’s brutal exploitation of the working class.
    The mining industry epitomises how the ANC has presided over a widening of social inequality since the end of apartheid, enriching a venal layer of black capitalists that make up its leading personnel.
    Platinum, extracted at a devastating cost to miners who live and work in appalling conditions, sells for over $1,400 an ounce. Its price is rising as rival producers cash in on Lonmin’s loss of six days of production, or about 15,000 ounces of platinum, worth over $2,100,000. Lonmin shares have fallen by as much as 20 percent, wiping $610 million off the market value of the world’s third-largest platinum miner.
    Lonmin has a record of frequent fatalities and “very poor” conditions for its employees, according to a Bench Marks Foundation report. The company has refused to comment on the report.
    In the current dispute, the NUM is continuing its role as partner of the corporations, in this instance actively assisting in the violent repression and persecution of the striking miners.
    The strike is being led by the rival Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which has won support due to the corruption of the NUM. Prior to last Thursday’s massacre, ten people had already died in the dispute, including two police officers, two security guards and reportedly three NUM officials targeted as stooges of Lonmin.
    Whereas the massacre was aimed at intimidating the strikers, all indications are that it has backfired. The miners remain resolute and determined. Winch operator Makhosi Mbongane told Associated Press, “They can beat us, kill us and kick and trample on us with their feet, do whatever they want to do. We aren’t going to go back to work. If they employ other people, they won’t be able to work either. We will stay here and kill them.”
    Last week’s slaughter has repeatedly been compared to the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, which galvanised the mass movement against apartheid. Marikana could have a similar catalytic impact on the struggle that must now be waged against the ANC and its coalition partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) trade union federation and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
    The NUM has consistently backed the police attacks on the miners, including in the aftermath of the massacre. NUM Secretary General Frans Baleni reserved his bile for the AMCU and the miners, declaring, “You have opportunists who are abusing ignorant workers. We saw the results yesterday.”
    He said this as miners’ loved-ones gathered at hospitals to find out whether their husbands, fathers and sons were among the wounded or the 256 arrested by the police and charged with public violence and, in some cases, murder. No list of casualties was published.
    A demonstration of miners’ wives Friday featured placards reading, “Police Stop Shooting our Husbands and Sons.”
    National Police Chief Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega was appointed by President Jacob Zuma of the ANC in June and was previously in charge of preparing state-owned enterprises for privatisation. At a press conference, she blamed the strikers for instigating violence, claiming to have found six pistols, including two weapons taken from the police officers killed earlier.
    She ignored video footage showing that the police shot miners without provocation as well as the report of the South African Institute of Race Relations, which stated: “There is clear evidence that policemen randomly shot into the crowd with rifles and handguns. There is also evidence of their continuing to shoot after a number of bodies can be seen dropping and others turning to run.”
    On Saturday, a mass rally of thousands of miners, their wives and families was addressed by Julius Malema, the former leader of the ANC’s Youth League. Malema was expelled in April for leading an opposition faction.
    Malema is a left-talking opportunist who specialises in nationalist and anti-capitalist rhetoric. However, his denunciations of President Zuma and UK-based Lonmin struck a chord with the crowd. Zuma must “step down,” he said, adding that “President Zuma’s government has murdered our people.”
    Malema pointed out that some ANC leaders had shares in the Lonmin PLC platinum mine and had no interest in defending miners. “It is not these brothers who are mourned by the president,” he declared. “Instead he goes to meet capitalists in air-conditioned offices.”
    Zuma, returning from a summit in Mozambique, announced an official inquiry into the killings. This will undoubtedly be a whitewash. He and the ANC will have been intimately involved in the police killing, which was a calculated attempt to drown the strike in blood. Police officials referred to it as “D-Day” and said in advance that they would use “maximum force.”
    Zuma visited the mine Friday but did not even speak to the strikers. On Sunday, he declared a week of national mourning in an attempt to defuse the situation while efforts are stepped up to drive the striking miners back to work. Zuma’s announcement was preceded by a “final ultimatum” from Lonmin that all miners who failed to return to work would be dismissed.
    Malema’s role is to channel political discontent behind a wing of the South African bourgeoisie. His call for the nationalisation of the mining industry has evoked a powerful response, but he is just as much a representative of big business as Zuma. He has a record of involvement in state tenders that has led him to be called a “tenderpreneur.” His disaffection with the ruling clique in the ANC is bound up with the failure of bids in which he was involved, including an attempt to acquire a stake in chrome miner ASA Metals in 2010.
    The working class can place no confidence in any faction of the ANC, or in the trade union bureaucracy and the Stalinists. Eighteen years of bitter experience since the end of apartheid have demonstrated that their real allegiance is to the national bourgeoisie and the transnational corporations that continue to plunder South Africa.
    The working class, mobilizing the rural poor, must build its own party to fight for the overthrow of capitalism and imperialist oppression in South Africa and throughout the continent.
    The author also recommends:

    South Africa’s mine massacre
    [18 August 2012]

  26. Sel Cool says :

    South African unions, government seek to quell spreading wildcat strikes

    By Joseph Kishore

    8 October 2012

    The trade unions and political establishment are seeking desperately to gain control of a spreading wave of strikes that have erupted across South Africa, from the platinum and gold mines to auto manufacturing and transport.
    On Friday Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), the world’s largest platinum producer, fired 12,000 miners engaged in a wildcat strike, in the first such mass firing since the strike wave began in August. On Saturday, Atlatsa Resources said it was sacking 2,500 striking workers at its Bokoni platinum mine, a joint venture with Amplats.
    These moves toward repression coincided with an announcement from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) that it is seeking national negotiations with the mining industry federation. It aims to control the strike wave, which has erupted largely outside of the framework of the official unions. Some 80,000 miners are currently on strike throughout the country.
    COSATU, whose leading member union is the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), is closely aligned with the African National Congress (ANC), the main political party of the South African ruling class.
    COATSU “will go now to the forefront and will lead the struggle of mineworkers” throughout the industry, general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Friday, at a gathering of striking gold miners near Carletonville. He gave nominal support to the demands of the striking workers at Gold Fields, the world’s fourth largest gold-mining company. Last week, Vavi began negotiations with the company in an effort to end the three-week-long strike by 13,000 miners.
    If the mining sector is to avoid more wildcat strikes, Vavi said, “We have no choice but to open negotiations now.” COSATU is set to meet with the Chamber of Mines, the industry organization, today.
    Vavi has reason to be concerned. Under the impact of rising class struggles, the organizational domination of COSATU, and through it the ANC, is breaking apart. COSATU’s intervention aims not to realize workers’ demands, however, but to ensure the mining companies’ interests.
    The wildcat strikes at Amplats and other mines were animated by deep hostility to the NUM, which was directly complicit in the massacre of 34 striking workers at the Lonmin Marikana platinum mine in August.
    In an analysis published Sunday, Reuters writes: “The rules of the game in South Africa’s labour market have changed and the new players are workers such as Tshepo Modise and Thulani Soko, wildcat strikers” at Amplats.
    Reuters quotes Modise, a 30-year-old machine operator who lives in a slum settlement next to the Amplats mine northwest of Johannesburg: “We no longer want to sit at the table with unions. We’ve been sabotaged.”
    Miners throughout the country have been driven into struggle by wretched working conditions and widening social inequality. They have also been encouraged by the results of the struggle at Lonmin where, in an effort to head off a social eruption, the mining company agreed to a 22 percent wage increase last month.
    Responding to the mass firings at Amplats, workers representatives said the struggle would be expanded. The company would hire replacements “over our dead bodies,” said striking miner Evans Ramokga at a rally on Saturday.
    The mass firing came the day after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful demonstrators, killing one worker. The worker, identified as 48-year-old Mtshunquleni Qakamba, was apparently struck in the stomach by a rubber bullet.
    A representative of the strikers announced that they would file murder charges today against the South African Police Service for the killing.
    George Tyobeka, a worker representative, told AFP, “They shot against the people…until they killed one of our colleagues. Employees weren’t fighting, they were just sitting on the hill.”
    Meanwhile, 300 workers at Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine have staged a wildcat sit-in, also outside of the control of the NUM.
    In addition to the wave of strikes in the mining sector, strikes have also hit transportation, though these remain within the framework of COSATU-member trade unions, at least for the time being.
    Some 20,000 truckers in Johannesburg have been on strike for two weeks, severely impacting the transportation of fuel and other commodities in one of the economic centers of the country. Over the weekend, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), which represents some of the transport workers, announced that it is planning a one-day strike of port and rail workers this week.
    In addition to SATAWU, the strike involves the Professional Transport and Allied Workers Union (PTAWU) and the Motor Transport Workers Union (MTWU).
    The unions have indicated that they are close to an agreement to end the strike, which would cut off the striking miners from a broader mobilization of the working class. “We are positive that we might find a solution because there is a lot at stake,” said MTWU leader Dirk White.
    Most of the unions signed on to an agreement with the Road Freight Employers Association (RFEA), the industry group, last week, which included a nominal pay raise of on average 9 percent per year over three years, including 10 percent in the first year. SATAWU—which has raised as a central demand a double-digit yearly pay increase—backed away from the deal.
    In an effort to push an end to the strike, the RFEA has sought a court order, and the local media has whipped up allegations of violence on the part of strikers. The threat of direct state intervention to end the strike is being held over workers if they refuse to back down on their demands.

    @ http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/oct2012/soaf-o08.shtml

  27. Sel Cool says :

    Terry Bell Writes: News & Views by Terry Bell

    Unions, crises and tough times ahead

    Posted on October 5, 2012 0

    1 Vote

    In a world wracked by ongoing economic crises, what is the role of trade unions? And if they focus solely on “bread and butter issues”, are they, as National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka says, doomed to fail because “broader policies are shaped at a political level”.
    What, in fact, is meant by “a political level”? And are not bread and butter issues — generally defined as wages and conditions — political to the core?
    These questions came to the fore again in South Africa in the aftermath of Marikana. But they are also being asked around the world as unions become embroiled in increasingly fractious relations with employers, governments and, all too often, their own members.
    In the process, sight seems all too often lost of the fact that trade unions emerged as a reaction to the economic system and not as an alternative; that the defensive organisations of the sellers of labour gain their greatest power through uniting workers as workers, irrespective of their differences. Only when there is a general threat to their wellbeing — to their “bread and butter” — do most organised workers rally in a manner that can sometimes spill over into radical political change or revolution.
    But such radical change can be reactionary or progressive: it can become repressive and authoritarian or extend democratic control and human rights. Right now, the world seems to be on the cusp of moving one way or the other.
    Observing the scene from London this week, it is evident that there is growing anger across Europe about high levels of unemployment, especially among men and women under the age of 25, and to the fact that real incomes for the majority of workers, globally, are declining. Bread, let alone butter, is under general threat.
    In several countries, there is also considerable anger and disillusionment at trade union leaders who are seen — rightly or wrongly — to enjoy too cosy a relationship with employers or political parties in or out of power. Such tensions have become acute amid exploding petrol bombs in Athens and the brutal police repression of protests in Madrid, and are exacerbated by various forces on the political margins that are clamouring to fill developing political vacuums.
    Given this background, and looked at from the perspective of Europe, the current industrial upheavals in South Africa are merely a sideshow in an often confusing carnival of revolt against the harsh consequences of a system in crisis. Opposition to austerity is a common theme.
    Yet austerity, along with assurances that the pain is necessary in order to achieve the ultimate gain, seems a universal theme among those in power. As a result, the centre in many countries, in the form of the unions and their sometimes erstwhile political allies, is looking decidedly shaky.
    The same applies in South Africa, where the centre — epitomised by the ANC-led alliance — seems to be be holding up rather better than its counterparts in countries such as Greece or Spain. But everywhere the established order seems under pressure.
    Even in Britain, still basking in the afterglow of a successfully staged Olympiad, there are now signs of subterranean rumblings. How strong these are — and how angry — should become clear on October 20 when a trade union call for anti-austerity protests gets underway.
    Britain’s Trade Union Congress (TUC) is organising protest marches in London, Glasgow and Belfast that should reveal the strength both of the unions and the popular feeling about growing unemployment and the declining spending power of wages. London will be a particular focus and for older political and union activists, this brings to mind the 1990 poll tax protest march.
    That massive march swamped central London as an estimated 500 000 men women and children took to the streets. Police could not contain this surge of humanity, scuffles broke out — and escalated into a full-scale riot that signalled the end of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government.
    Not that any of the unions or their supporters see October 20 as a repeat of 1990. But they are predicting a massive turnout, with unions such as the 1.5 million-strong Unite promoting the slogan: “I’m marching on October 20” to demand “a future that works”.
    And all TUC unions have already debated the possibility of the mass marches providing a curtain raiser to a general strike. For the radical, but strategically important transport union, RMT, October 20 is definitely “preparation for a general strike”.
    RMT media officer Geoff Martin this week also repeated the demand that the rail network in Britain be “re-nationalised”. RMT, expelled from the Labour Party in 2004 when the union allowed branches to decide which political parties they wished to support, sees little difference between Labour and Tories.
    “It’s Tweedledum and Tweedledee,” says RMT general secretary, Bob Crow. Adds Martin: “Just a question of being mugged by the Tories or burgled by Labour.”
    But while RMT supports the notion of a “trade union rooted alternative” to the existing parliamentary choices, there is no such alternative in place. The protest marches are also being called in the wake of the party conferences of all three major political choices here: Liberal-Democrat, Labour and Conservative.
    The “Lib-Dems”, junior partner in a coalition government with the Tories, were first off the mark, followed by Labour this week and the Tories next. In all three cases, and however it is packaged, the theme will remain austerity: wage freezes, cuts in public spending and promises of pie in the sky, by and by.
    The promises and the vagueness are understandable because the British elections are still three years away. But those years should see greater tension and more confrontation as, in line with the rest of Europe, austerity packages are resisted by labour.
    Whatever the ultimate result, the next few years seem to promise considerable turmoil in what is still a major export market for South Africa. The sideshow south of the Limpopo therefore looks likely to be in for some even tougher times.

    @ http://terrybellwrites.com/2012/10/05/unions-crises-and-tough-times-ahead/

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  30. Sel Cool says :

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/oct2012/safr-o26.shtml

    South Africa’s unions use mass sackings and murder to suppress miners

    By Chris Marsden
    26 October 2012

    The National Union of Mineworkers is seeking to impose a sell-out deal on gold miners that will leave tens of thousands of workers sacked throughout the platinum, gold and coal sectors.
    AngloGold Ashanti, South Africa’s biggest producer, sacked half of its 24,000-strong local workforce Wednesday, and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has already sacked 12,000.
    An agreement was announced yesterday after talks between the NUM, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony, Gold Fields and the Chamber of Mines that appears virtually identical to demands already put forward by the gold companies and previously rejected by strikers.
    It is too early to say whether the sell-out will be successful. At least 12,000 gold and 20,000 platinum miners were still on strike yesterday. But whatever happens, the NUM and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) stand condemned as strike-breakers and accomplices to mass sackings, police intimidation, brutality and murder.
    COSATU this week issued a demagogic statement threatening to mobilise its 2.2 million members to protest against the mass dismissal of mine workers, warning that “the totality of the capitalist class will face the full might of organised workers and also will face stiff resistance in every corner of the economy.”
    Its pose is hypocrisy on an epic scale—a ruse to conceal the trade union bureaucracy’s collusion with management in suppressing wildcat strikes by more than 100,000 workers. The NUM has worked against the strikers from the very beginning. It has blood on its hands.
    Evidence has emerged of the collusion of the NUM and of COSATU in preparing the way for the police massacre of 36 and the injury of 72 miners striking against Lonmin at its Marikana platinum mine on August 16.
    An October 12 report by Daily Maverick journalist Jared Sacks states that the violence at Marikana began due to the murder of two strikers by top NUM officials in the area. He reports from numerous interviews the “near-complete hatred that all residents, regardless of their connection to the strike, had towards the National Union of Mineworkers” and that “every single person that I spoke to, without fail, blamed NUM for starting the violence…”
    On August 8, some rock drill operators (RDOs) held a mass meeting demanding a significant salary increase, a demand the NUM refused to support.
    On August 9, a mass meeting of NUM members agreed to bypass the union and put their demands directly to Lonmin. The next day they marched to the company’s offices. The company fetched the NUM leaders, who then reprimanded their members. The wildcat strike by 3,000 RDOs began as a result.
    On August 11, the strikers marched to the local NUM headquarters demanding their support for the strike. It was then that the “top five” NUM leaders “and other shop stewards, between 15 and 20 in all, came out of the office and began shooting at the protesting strikers … without warning or provocation.”
    Two RDOs were killed, named by one person as S. Gwadidi from the Roeland Shaft and Tobias Tshivilika from New Mine Shaft. Both were NUM members.
    “The police did nothing in response to the two deaths on 11 August. No one was arrested that day, nor was anyone interrogated,” Sacks writes. It was this that sparked revenge killings by strikers of NUM officials, as well as police officers and security guards.
    Evidence submitted to the official Farlam Commission into the Marikana massacre by lawyers representing the victims of police violence shows that the NUM’s response, backed by COSATU and the African National Congress (ANC), was to call for a crackdown on the strike.
    A statement issued by NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni on August 13 declared, “The NUM is alarmed that the situation in the platinum mines and its escalating violence has been allowed to continue unabated by the law enforcement agencies in that area in North West Province… We call for the deployment of a special task force or the SANDF [South African National Defence Force] to deal decisively with the criminal elements in Rustenburg and its surrounding mines.”
    The most despicable role has been played by former NUM leader, and now millionaire businessman, Cyril Ramaphosa. On Tuesday, the inquiry into the Marikana massacre was shown numerous emails he had written.
    Ramaphosa, a member of the ANC’s executive and reportedly COSATU’s favoured presidential candidate, wrote an email to Lonmin’s chief commercial officer Albert Jamieson, stating, “The terrible events that have unfolded cannot be described as a labour dispute. They are plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such. There needs to be concomitant action to address this situation.”
    In an email entitled “Security Situation”, Ramaphosa says, “You are absolutely correct in insisting that the minister [Susan Shabangu] and indeed all government officials need to understand that we are essentially dealing with a criminal act. I have said as much to the minister of safety and security.”
    Ramaphosa is reported to have warned Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to clamp down on striking miners in response to lobbying by Lonmin that also urged him to “influence” ANC mineral resources minister Susan Shabangu. He warned her that the Marikana strike was “not a labour dispute but a criminal act” and that “silence and inaction” were “bad for her and government.” He is also said to have held discussions with ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe and NUM President Senzeni Zokwana.
    Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing injured mineworkers and more than 200 who were arrested, said that Ramaphosa’s email to Jamieson, addressed to “Dear Albert of Lonmin,” was an example of “toxic collusion.” It took place “exactly 24 hours before the people were mowed down on that mountain… It is clear Ramaphosa was directly involved by advising what was to be done to address these ‘dastardly criminal actions,’ which he says must be characterised as such and dealt with effectively.”
    His intervention had culminated in the “premeditated murder of defenceless people.”
    Ramaphosa is only one of the more successful of the grasping layer of new bourgeoisie that has emerged from the ranks of COSATU and the ANC and grown rich through the policy of Black Economic Empowerment. His investment holding company Shanduka Group owns 9 percent of Lonmin as its favoured BEE partner, and he sits on the board of directors
    In a radio interview in September, Ramaphosa had issued a pro-forma apology for Marikana, stating that “I think a lot of us as stakeholders are to blame.” In an outburst of self-pity, he then complained that his 300 million rand (US$36 million) investment in Lonmin was “completely underwater … almost lost.”

  31. Sel Cool says :

    Striking South African miners oppose rally called by official unions

    By Julie Hyland
    29 October 2012

    @ http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/oct2012/safr-o29.shtml

    The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) called a rally and march Saturday at the Olympia Stadium, Rustenburg in what was meant to be a show of strength. COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi had vowed to “reclaim the Rustenburg area from the forces of counterrevolution.”
    Vavi was to appear before an audience bussed in from surrounding areas, alongside Blade Nzimande, South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary and minister in the African National Congress (ANC)-dominated Tripartite Alliance, and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) General Secretary Frans Baleni.
    Instead, the protest demonstrated how eviscerated these organisations have become and the hostility of broad masses of workers towards them.
    The so-called “forces of counterrevolution” identified by Vavi are tens of thousands of striking miners who have rebelled against backbreaking exploitation and poverty wages and against the NUM, which functions as a house union for the mining companies.
    Rustenburg has been at the centre of a wildcat insurgency that began in August at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana and spread across the mining sector to involve some 100,000 workers at its peak.
    On Saturday, over 1,000 striking Amplats miners arrived early at the Olympia Stadium and occupied the venue. Wearing black T-shirts with the slogan “Remember the Slain of Marikana” and “Forward with Living Wage —R12500”, they carried placards reading, “Don’t Let Police Get Away with Murder” and “We Are Here to Bury NUM.”
    The Sapa news agency cited Tshepang Moloi from the Rustenburg branch of the National Striking Committee stating, “We have a message for Zwelinzima Vavi: We are not going back to work until our demands are met”. Another striker shouted, “We are dying underground while you sit on chairs above and earn money!”
    As the strikers marched into the stadium, NUM officials fled. The workers burnt ANC and COSATU T-shirts and then left to sing and shout slogans outside the gates, which were padlocked by police.
    In his account of events for the Daily Maverick, Greg Marinovich noted, “Police have banned most marches by Marikana miners and even women’s marches as a threat to public safety. Yet, despite it being clear that large-scale clashes would erupt if COSATU insisted on holding the rally at the stadium, police opted to heed COSATU’s desires and moved in to clear the miners.”
    Three COSATU officials were assaulted. Marinovich recounts that government and union officials watched as COSATU members beat and stripped Rehad Desai from the Marikana solidarity campaign. Police then began firing stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets and chased the strikers into the neighbouring streets. The shooting lasted for over an hour.
    Inside the stadium, SACP General Secretary Nzimande praised the police action and told the audience that the SACP would never allow the destruction of the NUM. “NUM is the best capable union to represent mineworkers in South Africa”, he said.
    But Nzimande was addressing a rally attended by just 500 to 1,000 people, according to varying reports. The NUM has all but disintegrated and is kept going only because of its key role in the government and state apparatus.
    As Marinovich concluded, “What happened at Olympia stadium is the start of open competition and conflict between organised labour with links to the ruling party (with the support of the organs of state), and an increasingly disempowered and frustrated workforce, who were once the vanguard of the Alliance.
    “The ANC-linked union federation is determined to keep their mineworker union in power at the mines, knowing well that without it, they will shrivel and die. The war has now well and truly started and, should the solution not be soon found, there will [be] much more blood and tears spilt.”
    Thirty-four striking miners were slain by police at the Lonmin mine on August 16. This action was endorsed by the NUM, COSATU and the SACP, with Dominic Tweedie of the SACP and COSATU declaring, “We should be happy. The police were admirable.”
    Last week, at the ANC-appointed inquiry into the Marikana massacre, it was revealed that in an email exchange with Lonmin management, government ministers and the police, former NUM general secretary-turned millionaire businessman Cyril Ramaphosa had called for “concomitant action” to address the “criminal acts” of the striking miners just 24-hours before the police massacre.
    The workers’ “crime” is to reject the NUM and wage a militant struggle to increase their wages. Their actions have exposed the project of “Black economic empowerment”, by which ANC and union representatives have become millionaires, while the exploitation and poverty of the majority of workers have, if anything, grown worse.
    In a bid to restore credibility, Vavi had billed the Rustenburg rally as a “fight against the subversive forces threatening NUM’s dominance in the platinum belt”. Its aim was to “strengthen COSATU”. In a bid to placate the workers, Vavi said COSATU and the NUM were demanding the reinstatement of thousands of mineworkers laid off for taking wildcat action.
    On Thursday, it was announced that the NUM and the Chamber of Mines had reached agreement on a pay rise with AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony, and Gold Fields. Just ahead of Saturday’s rally, the NUM again announced that Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) had agreed to rehire the 12,000 workers it had dismissed for involvement in a six-week strike.
    The announced deals met with an angry response from many strikers, who rightly regarded them as an attempt by management and the union to wind down their action and then pick them off mine by mine.
    The revised pay structure for the gold sector amounts to a maximum rise in monthly salaries of just R500 ($57.8), under conditions where workers were demanding an increase from their current 4,000 rand salary to R16,000. The agreement does nothing for the thousands of gold miners who have been dismissed.
    As for Amplats, the company has given dismissed employees a deadline of Tuesday to return to work, with the paltry offer of a one-off hardship payment of R2,000 ($230).

  32. Sel Cool says :

    DEMOCRATIC LEFT FRONT

    http://www.democraticleft.za.net

    29 October 2012

    PRESS STATEMENT: CALL TO COSATU WORKERS TO UNITE WITH STRIKING MINEWORKERS, AGAINST THE SAPS AND THE LIES OF THE SACP AT THE 27TH OCTOBER COSATU RALLY

    The Democratic Left Front condemns the police for shooting workers in Rustenburg on 27 October. Two Amplats workers were hit by live ammunition, and one, hit in the chest, is in a critical condition in hospital. Eleven other mineworkers were injured by rubber bullets. The DLF also condemns Blade Nzimande, SACP General Secretary and Minister for Higher Education, for condoning this shooting by the police. This so-called “Communist” defends the shooting of workers in the interests of the capitalist bosses.

    The rally of the Tripartite Alliance of the ANC, SACP and COSATU was called by COSATU leaders supposedly to “reclaim Rustenburg” from the mineworkers who have been on strike against mining bosses since September with a demand for at least R12, 500 living wage. While the workers are opposed to anyone speaking on their behalf, COSATU leaders aimed to try to reinstate the NUM as the mineworkers’ union in the town. This was an extremely provocative action.

    It was well known to the COSATU leadership that the mineworkers had rejected the NUM because of its failure to represent their interests. Through its actions, including shooting workers in Marikana on 10 August and identifying strike leaders to police, the NUM leadership has in fact revealed itself as a union that sides with the bosses against the workers and its own members. The rank and file members of NUM must rescue the union and lead it back to its fighting and anti-capitalist traditions. Otherwise it will be increasingly be seen amongst mineworkers and the broader working class as a bosses’ yellow union. Already at other mines COSATU General Secretary Vavi had failed when addressing workers to get them to allow an NUM representative to speak.

    Contrary to Nzimande’s lying claims, the mineworkers did not try to disrupt the rally. Some 5000 Amplats workers got to the stadium before COSATU arrived because they wanted to hear Vavi speak, who most still regard as a leader with integrity. They expressed their anger at the government by burning some of the ANC and COSATU banners and posters. When the police asked them to leave the stadium, they complied and waited by an entrance. This was not an “occupation” as reported in the media. Some 600-1000 COSATU members then arrived in a march. As they entered the stadium through another entrance some broke away and attacked the thousands of mineworkers, who were waiting to return to the stadium to hear Vavi speak. The COSATU members ripped off T-shirts, which had the demand for a R12, 500 living wage on them. In the course of this attack one DLF member had his T-shirt and trousers removed by NUM members and was arrested by police. Strikers went to aid those attacked.

    It was clear by this time that the attempt by COSATU to “reclaim Rustenburg” had failed dismally. At this point the police attacked the strikers with live ammunition, rubber bullets, birdshot, tear gas, stun grenades, horses, and water cannon, but left the COSATU attackers unmolested. In the course of this 13 mineworkers were injured, one critically, hit by a live bullet.

    The ANC government and its police once again, as in Marikana on 16 August, has defended the interests of the bosses by shooting workers. Unfortunately COSATU and SACP leaders echo the government. The tripartite alliance, as mineworkers say, are all “mealies of the same bag: if one part of that bag is rotten all the mealies is spoilt”. Workers say that they are done with the alliance, because “they are no longer singing the same song as us.”

    The actions of the police on 27 October go along with a police campaign of harassment of the Marikana community, including the intimidation and arrest of worker witnesses to the commission of enquiry into the events of 16 August. All this indicates that another massacre like that in Marikana cannot be ruled out. Only the most massive popular mobilization can prevent this.

    The DLF calls on all members of COSATU to unite with the striking mineworkers to condemn the provocation of the rally and the actions of the police. In this regard, the DLF salutes the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) for its ongoing support for mineworker struggles. It is time also for all union members to win back their unions from a labour bureaucracy that stands in alliance with the bosses and the state. What is needed is unity against the bosses and the government to struggle for R12, 500 minimum living wage, and against the mass dismissal of workers by the bosses, through the calling of a two or three-day general strike.

    FOR COMMENTS, CONTACT:
    Brian Ashley – 082 085 7088
    Ayanda Kota – 078 625 6462
    Martin Legassick – 083 417 6837

  33. Sel Cool says :

    War: Cosatu vs Amplats strikers – Battlefield: Rustenburg.

    BY GREG MARINOVICH

    27 OCTOBER 2012 21:28 (SOUTH AFRICA)

    Cosatu and the police chose force over common sense as they powered their way past strikers into the Olympia stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday. Not that violent Amplats miners made the situation any easier. It was, in a word, chaotic. By GREG MARINOVICH.

    Olympia Stadium, Rustenburg, 27 October 2012.

    Minister of Education and SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande linked arms with Cosatu and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders Frans Baleni, Sidumo Dlamini and Zwelinzima Vavi to lead some 1,000 unionists to a Rustenburg stadium to begin the “Reclaim Lonmin” campaign.

    The Cosatu heavyweights were hours late for the meeting; over 1,000 striking Amplats miners arrived early and took over the venue. The miners – many of them current or former NUM members – were furious with Cosatu and NUM. Earlier, workers assaulted Cosatu members, tearing off the red union T-shirts and then burning them. They marched into the stadium, causing NUM spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka to flee to safety. After desecrating ANC and Cosatu hats, scarves and other paraphernalia, they moved back out. Police padlocked the gate immediately.

    Photo: Striking Anglo Platinum miners tried to take over from Cosatu at Olympia stadium Rustenburg. 27 October 2012, Rustenburg, North West. (Greg Marinovich).

    Outside, Daily Maverick saw three Cosatu loyalists assaulted. One of them, Billy Zulu, a Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) official, was badly beaten and may have suffered a worse fate had journalists not intervened (see main photo). The strikers wore black T-shirts, proclaiming “Remember the Slain of Marikana” and “Forward to a Living Wage R12,500”.

    As Cosatu members arrived by bus and taxi, the Amplats strikers sang and danced outside the stadium gates. Cosatu however was not to be dissuaded from having their rally – Frans Baleni, NUM secretary general responded that he knew about the miners’ negative sentiment and would hold the rally regardless.

    It was clear that such a choice would lead to violence.

    Police have banned most marches by Marikana miners and even women’s marches as a threat to public safety. Yet, despite it being clear that large-scale clashes would erupt if Cosatu insisted on holding the rally at the stadium, police opted to heed Cosatu’s desires and moved in to clear the miners.

    As the union loyalists approached the stadium, a member of the Marikana solidarity campaign, Rehad Desai was walking near the Cosatu leadership when Cosatu members turned on him. In full view of the South African cabinet minister Nzimande, Cosatu’s Vavi and NUM’s Baleni, Desai was beaten and stripped to his underwear. Eventually, the commander of the public order policing unit rescued him, bundling him to safety in an armoured police vehicle.

    Photo: Police chase away the striking Anglo Platinum miners after firing rubber bullets on them at Olympia stadium Rustenburg. 27 October 2012, Rustenburg, North West. (Greg Marinovich)

    It was from this vehicle that Desai watched what happened next. Police had corralled the strikers 100-metres away from the stadium gate. As Cosatu members streamed in, Desai claims several Cosatu members with sticks peeled off and attacked the miners. The miners responded and chased the unionists back. It was then that police opened fire with stun grenades and rubber bullets.

    Pandemonium reigned as police chased fleeing miners across fields and into suburban streets and homes. When compared to police action on August 16 in Marikana, police showed some degree of restraint and never resorted to live ammunition. Residents of the suburb adjacent to the stadium gathered at their fences and later on street corners to watch in horror as the shooting continued for over an hour.

    Photo: SACP’s Blade Nzimande leads Cosatu members prior to clashes with striking Anglo Platinum miners. 27 October 2012, Rustenburg, North West. (Greg Marinovich)

    From his side, Nzimande ‘thanked Cosatu members for their discipline and said that when a group of striking Anglo Platinum workers who opposed the trade federation charged at marching members, Cosatu remained disciplined.’ Sapa reported.

    In the week before the rally, the Anglo Platinum miners had been offered an increase and a R2,000 return-to-work bonus, plus a R2,500 loan from the company. Miners say they are rejecting this offer and demand a R16,000 salary instead. They have been given until Tuesday to return to work or face dismissal.

    Their beef with NUM and Cosatu is that they believe NUM has sold out to management with regard to the workers’ real demands. Their anger was spelled out by a miner who yelled at Cosatu members, “We are dying underground while you sit on on chairs above and earn money!”

    They carried placards saying, “We are here to bury NUM,” and “Rest in Peace NUM.”

    The official Cosatu street poster said the rally was Unity and Solidarity Action in Defence of the Living Wage and for Decent Work,” yet it was the t-shirts members and leaders wore that told the real story, “Reclaim Lonmin” read a NUM shirt, and “Hands off NUM Hands off COSATU” read Nzimande’s and Baleni’s shirts.

    What happened at Olympia stadium is the start of open competition and conflict between organised labour with links to the ruling party (with the support of the organs of state), and an increasingly disempowered and frustrated workforce, who were once the vanguard of the Alliance.

    The ANC-linked union federation is determined to keep their mineworker union in power at the mines, knowing well that without it, they will shrivel and die. The war has now well and truly started and, should the solution not be soon found, there will much more blood and tears spilt. DM

    http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-10-27-war-cosatu-vs-amplats-strikers-battlefield-rustenburg

  34. Sel Cool says :

    @ http://www.afrika.no/Detailed/22592.html

    South Africa: Who murdered NUM branch secretary Daluvuyo Bongo?

    Southern African Civil Society Information Service,

    by David Bruce*

    Monday, 29 October 2012

    On Friday the 12th of October Zenzile Nyenye and Siyakhele Kwazile were arrested. They have been charged for the murder of Daluvuyo Bongo, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch secretary in North West. Bongo was shot dead at Marikana on the 5th of October. On Wednesday Nyenye and Kwazile were denied bail by magistrate Carnel Bezuidenhout in the Rustenburg magistrate’s court.
    AFRICA NEWS UPDATE (ANU)
    Africa News Update offers news, background and feature articles from African sources two times a week. The newsletter is free of charge and is edited by the Norwegian Council for Africa. Some of the articles may be shortened.

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    South Africa: Did Cyril really do it? (editorial)

    Johannesburg (South Africa) –

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    This article is not written with the intention of arguing that Nyenye and Kwazile are innocent of the murder. What the article does argue is that, in terms of what we know about the way in which the security apparatus of the South African government operates, it is not unlikely that there is no evidence against them whatsoever. As will emerge, the article goes much further than this.
    It argues that it is not unlikely that Bongo was himself killed by agents of the South African government. Such a killing, it is argued, would have fitted in with a strategy of ‘creating conditions’ enabling the state to institute repressive measures against people associated with worker mobilization in Marikana and in North West province more generally.

    Tactics of this kind have of course been used in South Africa before. In 1956 for instance, Nelson Mandela was one of 156 people, all of them associated with the ANC and Congress Alliance, who were arrested. Criminal proceedings were instituted against over 90 of the accused in two separate trials. Neither of these resulted in the conviction of a single person. A group of 30 accused, including Mandela himself, were finally acquitted in March 1961. The 1956 to 1961 treason trial was an initiative of the apartheid government to disorganise and undermine the opposition.

    It was in discussions between some of those who were on trial during this protracted period that the idea that it would be necessary to pursue armed struggle began to be discussed. The armed struggle was initiated in the period after the Sharpeville crisis of 1960, and the finalisation of the treason trial in March 1961. It was due to his involvement in the launch of Umkhonto we Sizwe that Mandela, and the other Rivonia trialists, were then successfully convicted and sentenced to imprisonment in 1964.

    From 1960 onwards, repression in South Africa intensified more generally. However, though some use continued to be made of trials based on spurious or flimsy evidence, the apartheid state did not rely on this as a repressive measure and generally only brought people to trial when it had substantial evidence against them. There was no need for the state to bring people to trial in order to neutralize them politically as it had a range of other repressive technologies – most notably detention without trial and banning orders – that made bringing people to trial unnecessary. It was therefore only in select cases, against high profile people such as in the two treason trials of UDF leaders in the 1980s, that trials on flimsy evidence were used as a strategy.

    Particularly since the ascent to power of Jacob Zuma, the ANC has vigorously pursued an agenda of consolidating its power over the state security apparatus. Some see this as primarily motivated by the concern to protect President Zuma from the further risk of prosecution for corruption.

    But it appears that a group within the state have a more expansive agenda.

    This agenda may be understood as partly modelled on that of ZANU-PF. Essentially, it involves using the state machinery to consolidate their overall political and economic power. Consolidated control over the state security machinery appears to be fundamental to how they hope to achieve this.

    The key members of the current ‘securocracy’ are part of a KwaZulu-Natal centred inner circle with some of them having links to the ANC’s exiled underground machinery. President Zuma himself was Chief of ANC intelligence in the late 1980s, whilst Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe was part of ANC underground operations. Zuma, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe, and Minister of Intelligence Siyabonga Cwele, are all from KwaZulu-Natal.

    Along with consolidating control over the security apparatus, particularly significant here are the initiatives that this group are involved in within key economic sectors such as the mining industry. Minister of Mining and Energy Resources, Susan Shabangu for instance also needs to be understood as a member of the current ‘inner circle’ along with the ‘securocracy’.

    The current refusal by the National Prosecuting Authority to release tapes, which allegedly provided the basis for the withdrawal of the charges against Zuma in 2008, is merely one manifestation of the way in which the state security apparatus now serve directly as instruments of this group. The NPA has refused to hand over the tapes to the Democratic Alliance notwithstanding the fact that they were ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of Appeal seven months ago. Another prominent manifestation of this agenda has been the protracted saga of the Information Bill.

    But in analyzing the current functioning of the South African state it is important not to stop at these more formal and visible manifestations of the agenda. Many South Africans are for instance familiar with the fact that Richard Mdluli, a former member of the apartheid security police, was appointed as head of crime intelligence within the South African Police Service (SAPS), and his appointment defended notwithstanding the fact that he was suspected of murder and corruption. But few people are aware that the SAPS continue to work with former members of the Civilian Cooperation Bureau (CCB). A former CCB operative Barry Bawden assisted the SAPS with the infiltration of the rightwing Boeremag. Bawden is reported to have a “personal relationship” with President Zuma.

    Is it possible that the political killings in KZN could take place without some level of state collusion?

    These killings are currently taking place at a rate greater than the national rate of such killings in the 1985-1989 period, some of the most violent years of the apartheid era. A 1998 book published by the Human Rights Committee, Crime against Humanity, indicates that “Speculation as to the base for” hit squad assassinations “inevitably leads to state security structures”. This “would also explain the virtually complete absence of success on the part of the police in solving these numerous mysteries”, the book says.

    A general feature of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal is that no one is held responsible for them. This includes the large number of killings of ANC members. Available information is that for the more than 40 killings of ANC members since the beginning of 2009, only one person has been convicted. Information recently released is that alleged police death squads have included not only that in Cato Manor, but also another one based in Port Shepstone.

    Another phenomenon that points to the involvement of the state security machinery in illicit activity, often apparently intended to neutralize political (rather than security) risks to the current political administration, is the phenomenon of break ins where computers with sensitive information are stolen whilst other valuable items are not taken. One victim of this phenomenon was involved in a legal matter in which Richard Mdluli was implicated. Another was involved in carrying out research into the arms deal. It would therefore appear that there are elements within the South African security apparatus that are not averse to the use of ‘dirty tricks’.

    The transformation of Operational Response Services (ORS) division of the SAPS into an explicitly political instrument of the state, as demonstrated in the ORS operation in Wesselton in February 2011 is another manifestation of this agenda. The police operation in Wesselton can be seen as something of a template for that which took place in Marikana in August. In both operations, for instance, those who had been involved in the protests were subsequently arrested with a large number of them being tortured. Following the Wesselton operation, this lead to 25 charges of assault being lodged with the Independent Complaints Directorate. In Marikana, this led to 94 cases of assault being lodged with the ICD’s successor, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

    In both cases it is also alleged that specific individuals amongst the police who were involved in torture focused on a more specific objective. In Wesselton it was to get some of the arrested people to confess that political opponents of Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza had instigated the protests. In Marikana the alleged objective of these torturers was to obtain ‘confessions’ that Julius Malema had instigated the protests.

    The political manner in which the state security apparatus operates was also demonstrated by the decision of the NPA to prosecute the arrested miners for the death of their colleagues, charges that were only ‘provisionally withdrawn’ following a massive public outcry.

    That the instability in Marikana was used as an excuse to deploy the military to numerous parts of the country on the weekend of the 15-16 September itself may be taken to illustrate the general orientation of the ‘securocracy’. This is to use ‘opportunities’, such as that which was provided by the situation in Marikana, to further consolidate their power by ‘securitising’ the situation.

    President Zuma, and the group of securocrats that are linked to him, currently have their backs against the wall. This is not because they are losing control of the state security apparatus. Their strategy of consolidating control over it has to a significant degree been successful. But as the Economist recently pointed out, if the ANC elects Zuma at Mangaung, this will demonstrate that they do not understand what has gone wrong in South Africa.

    Outside of the powerful sections of the Tripartite alliance, and a few other groups that have a vested interest in the status quo, Zuma’s credibility is in tatters. His control over the security apparatus means that he has real power, but he is desperate to find ways to shore up his legitimacy. To do this he needs to retain the support of, and protect the credibility of, his key political allies.

    As indicated, in Wesselton the political intervention by the ORS division of the SAPS was intended to uphold the interests of Zuma’s political ally, David Mabuza. Whilst it is widely argued that the Marikana operation involved complicity between the state and big business, it would appear that the key interests that the police operation were intended to protect may not have been those of the mining bosses. Instead they may have been those of the NUM.

    As discussed by Richard Pithouse, the NUM has been extraordinarily persistent in making allegations that a ‘third force’ has been behind the killing of Daluvuyo Bongo and other NUM members in Marikana. They have never produced any evidence to support these allegations. But it appears clear that their intention is to promote the idea that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), and the striking miners, are behind the attacks on NUM members. In fact NUM went so far as to state directly that AMCU was behind the assassinations in an article published in the government mouthpiece, the New Age. Despite having no evidence for this assertion they refused to apologise for it.

    The possibility that the NUM is working hand-in-glove with the state security apparatus is also suggested by two remarkable co-incidences during the week of the Marikana massacre. On the day that the ORS division of the SAPS started being brought en masse into Marikana the NUM called for the deployment of a ‘special task force’ (the ‘Special Task Force’ is an elite unit that is a component of the ORS division). On the 16th of August, prior to the launch of the police operation that culminated in the Marikana massacre, the NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni allegedly said that NUM members and branch leaders were placed on a hit list that ‘originated from a hostile group that was leading the protest’. As is the general pattern no evidence was produced to support this serious allegation.

    Might it be possible that this announcement was intended to help legitimize the heavy-handed measures that police anticipated that they would resort to?

    As Jared Sacks reported in the Daily Maverick the state also did nothing to investigate the widespread allegations of killings of protesting miners by NUM members on the 11th of August just after the strike in Lonmin had started. Sacks’s research indicates that it was the alleged failure on the part of the police to respond to these killings that can be seen as having been a direct cause of the fact that workers armed themselves.

    It is not only Zuma and the securocrats who have their backs against the wall. The NUM does too. Related to the disposition of its senior leadership to become part of South Africa’s moneyed elite, it has lost touch with workers in the mining industry. And its vested interests will be in real jeopardy if Zuma does not retain power at Mangaung. The interests of the current ANC and NUM leaderships are therefore inextricably intertwined.

    The short answer is that we do not know. But, if the analysis contained within this article is not wrong, the horrible, terrifying possibility is that Bongo was ‘sacrificed’ in order to create the space for, and legitimize, the deployment of state agencies for purposes of repression.

    Our Constitution provides that people are assumed to be innocent until they are proved to be guilty. Zenzile Nyenye and Siyakhele Kwazile may therefore be assumed to be innocent. But from what we know of the current state system and the circumstances surrounding their arrest, it would appear reasonable to go further than this. Until the contrary is proved, it may be assumed that their arrest is part of a sinister state agenda. It is therefore appropriate to call for Nyenye and Kwazile to be released unconditionally.

    * Bruce is an independent researcher specialising in crime and policing.

  35. Sel Cool says :

    http://links.org.au/node/3071

    Statement by the Democratic Left Front (South Africa)

    October 29, 2012 — The Democratic Left Front condemns the police for shooting workers in Rustenburg on October 27.

    Two workers who work at Amplats were hit by live ammunition, and one, hit in the chest, is in a critical condition in hospital.

    Eleven other mineworkers were injured by rubber bullets. The DLF also condemns Blade Nzimande, SACP general secretary and minister for higher education, for condoning this shooting by the police.

    This so-called “Communist” defends the shooting of workers in the interests of the capitalist bosses.

    The rally of the Tripartite Alliance of the African National Congress, South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions was called by COSATU leaders supposedly to “reclaim Rustenburg” from the mineworkers who have been on strike against mining bosses since September with a demand for at least a 12,500 rand living wage.

    While the workers are opposed to anyone speaking on their behalf, COSATU leaders aimed to try to reinstate the [pro-ANC] National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the mineworkers’ union in the town.

    This was an extremely provocative action.

    It was well known to the COSATU leadership that the mineworkers had rejected the NUM because of its failure to represent their interests. Through its actions, including shooting workers in Marikana in August and identifying strike leaders to police, the NUM leadership has in fact revealed itself as a union that sides with the bosses against the workers and its own members.

    The rank and file members of NUM must rescue the union and lead it back to its fighting and anti-capitalist traditions. Otherwise it will be increasingly be seen amongst mineworkers and the broader working class as a bosses’ yellow union.

    Already at other mines COSATU general secretary Vavi had failed when addressing workers to get them to allow an NUM representative to speak.
    Contrary to Nzimande’s lying claims, the mineworkers did not try to disrupt the rally. Some 5000 Amplats workers got to the stadium before COSATU arrived because they wanted to hear Vavi speak, who most still regard as a leader with integrity.

    They expressed their anger at the government by burning some of the ANC and COSATU banners and posters. When the police asked them to leave the stadium, they complied and waited by an entrance. This was not an “occupation” as reported in the media. Some 600-1000 COSATU members then arrived in a march.

    As they entered the stadium through another entrance some broke away and attacked the thousands of mineworkers, who were waiting to return to the stadium to hear Vavi speak. The COSATU members ripped off T-shirts, which had the demand for a R12,500 living wage on them. In the course of this attack one DLF member had his T-shirt and trousers removed by NUM members and was arrested by police. Strikers went to aid those attacked.

    It was clear by this time that the attempt by COSATU to “reclaim Rustenburg” had failed dismally. At this point the police attacked the strikers with live ammunition, rubber bullets, birdshot, tear gas, stun grenades, horses and water cannon, but left the COSATU attackers unmolested. In the course of this 13 mineworkers were injured, one critically, hit by a live bullet.

    The ANC government and its police once again, as in Marikana on August 16, 2012, has defended the interests of the bosses by shooting workers. Unfortunately COSATU and SACP leaders echo the government. The Tripartite Alliance, as mineworkers say, are all “mealies of the same bag”. Workers say that they are done with the alliance, because “they are no longer singing the same song as us”.

    The actions of the police on October 27 go along with a police campaign of harassment of the Marikana community, including the intimidation and arrest of worker witnesses to the commission of enquiry into the events of August 16. All this indicates that another massacre like that in Marikana cannot be ruled out.

    Only the most massive popular mobilisation can prevent this.
    The DLF calls on all members of COSATU to unite with the striking mineworkers to condemn the provocation of the rally and the actions of the police.

    It is time also for all union members to win back their unions from a labour bureaucracy that stands in alliance with the bosses and the state.

    What is needed is unity against the bosses and the government to struggle for R12,500 minimum living wage, and against the mass dismissal of workers by the bosses, through the calling of a two or three-day general strike.

  36. Sel Cool says :

    http://links.org.au/node/3063

    South Africa’s political economy after the Marikana massacre

    Marikana miners protest against the August 16, 2012, massacre by police.
    For more on the Marikana mine massacre, click HERE.
    By Patrick Bond, Durban
    October 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When a ruling party in any African country sinks to the depths of allowing its police force to serve white-dominated multinational capital by killing dozens of black workers so as to end a brief strike, as happened in South Africa in August, it represents not just human rights and labour relations travesties. The incident offers the potential for a deep political rethink.
    But that can only happen if the society openly confronts the chilling lessons learned in the process about the moral degeneration of a liberation movement that the world had supported for decades. Support was near universal from progressives of all political hues, because that movement, the African National Congress (ANC), promised to rid this land not only of formal apartheid but of all unfair racial inequality and indeed class and gender exploitation as well. And now the ANC seems to be making many things worse.
    There are five immediate considerations about what happened at Marikana, 100 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg, beginning around 4 pm on August 16, 2012:
    South African police ordered several thousand striking platinum mineworkers – rock drill operators – off a hill where they had gathered as usual over the prior four days, surrounding the workers with barbed wire;
    the hill was more than a kilometer away from Lonmin property, the mineworkers were not blocking mining operations or any other facility, and although they were on an ‘‘unprotected” wildcat strike, the workers had a constitutional right to gather;
    as they left the hill, 34 were killed and 78 others suffered bullet-wound injuries, all at the hands of police weapons, leaving some crippled for life, with 10 of the 34 shot dead while moving through a small gap in the fencing, and the other two dozen murdered – some apparently by police shooting from helicopters – in a field and on a smaller hill nearby, as they fled;
    no police were hurt in the operation;
    270 mine workers were arrested that day, followed by a weekend during which state prosecutors charged the men with the ‘‘murder”of their colleagues (under an obscure apartheid-era doctrine of collective responsibility), followed by an embarrassed climb down by the national prosecutor apparently under pressure from the minister of justice, as well as by most of the rest of South African society.
    The details about how the massacre unfolded were not initially obvious, for mainstream media embedded behind police lines (unaware at the time of the ‘‘killing kopje”) and official police statements together generated a ‘‘fog of war”, former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils remarked. The effect was to stigmatise the mineworkers. It was only a few days later that observers – the September Imbizo Commission, University of Johannesburg researcher Peter Alexander and his research team, and Daily Maverick reporter Greg Marinovich – uncovered the other shootings. Daily Maverick stood out for subsequently getting to the scene of the crime most often and with the most insightful reporters. Most journalists relied on official sources, especially the police and National Prosecuting Authority, even when they were discredited by persistent fibbery.
    Media bias allowed the impression to emerge in conventional wisdom that police were ‘‘under attack” by irrational, drugged and potentially murderous men from rural areas in the Eastern Cape’s Pondoland, Lesotho and Mozambique, who used ‘‘muti” (traditional medicine) to ward off bullets. Plenty of press reports and even the South African Communist Party’s (SACP’s) official statement refer to the workers” pre-capitalist spiritual sensibilities, to try to explain why they might charge towards the police, through the five-meter gap in the barbed wire, with their primitive spears and wooden sticks.
    It is actually far more likely that as the men came through the gap, they began edging alongside the fence, rather than running directly at the line of heavily armed police. Reports that a mineworker fired the first shot have not been confirmed. The police claim six handguns were recovered from dead, wounded and arrested mineworkers, but this also awaits verification. Although on August 17, President Jacob Zuma left a regional leadership summit a day early, he took a week to see how the dust would settle, and then called for an official commission of enquiry to hold hearings, which was begun six weeks later though without sufficient preparation to ensure the victims’ families were in attendance.
    There is, of course, much more context to add, both short- and long-term. The next layer of complexity relates to the prior murders of six workers, two security guards and two cops close by, starting when a march on August 11 by striking workers against the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was met with gunfire, allegedly from NUM officials. Tension in the area mounted quickly, and when security guards and police were killed, apparently by some of the Marikana mineworkers, this generated a sensibility of vindication; gruesome footage of the murdered cops had circulated amongst the police who were on duty on August 16. The assassination of NUM shopstewards increased in pace, as well.
    But it must be recalled that this was not brand new conflict, for strike-related violence over the prior year at Lonmin and other major platinum mining operations killed many other workers, and just six months earlier, 17,000 mineworkers were temporarily fired nearby at the world’s second-largest platinum firm, Implats, before gaining wage concessions, leaving more than 50 dead. Still, none of this labour-capital conflict would have flared into such an explosive situation at Marikana, many believe, were it not for the obsequious state, ruling party and trade union relationships that developed over the prior two decades with the major mining houses. These cozy relations, even with companies with very low morals and engaged in labour broking, apparently incensed the workers, raising their staying power to such high levels.
    The official investigation

    The massacre was so violent an assault on the society’s sensibilities that Zuma had to sound some notes of regret. On August 17, he announced a judicial commission of inquiry’s terms of reference. Along with hints that as punishment, Lonmin’s mining licenses might be revoked, Zuma went slightly beyond the tight focus that many expected, i.e., who shot whom on whose orders under what psychological conditions. Marikana is such an all-consuming disaster that Zuma may even go beyond the usual superficial and inconsequential tut-tutting, and impose sharp punishment on Lonmin so as to redirect the heat his own government is justifiably feeling. Zuma has asked the three judges (none of whom have a high public profile or obvious biases) several questions which the society is screaming out to be answered:
    · How did Lonmin try to resolve disputes with labour and between unions, and react to violence at the mine prior to the August 16 shootings? The brief is to ‘‘also examine Lonmin policies generally, including the procedure, practices and conduct relating to its employees and organised labour.” While notably absent is an explicit mandate to look at the broader impact of Lonmin as a Resource-Cursing company – including apparently having local police in the company’s pocket to do its very dirty strike-busting work – the three commissioners can nevertheless broaden out to ‘‘investigate whether by act or omission, the company directly or indirectly caused loss of life or damage to persons or property.” That could be a long leash, if the judges feel like a longer run (South African judges normally don”t).
    Why did the South African Police Service use ‘‘force and whether this was reasonable and justifiable”?
    What about ‘‘the conduct of the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union”, and was there ‘‘effective control over membership… in ensuring that their conduct was lawful”?;
    Did the Department of Mineral Resources or any other government department act appropriately?
    What of ‘‘the conduct of individuals and loose groupings in fomenting and/or promoting a situation of conflict and confrontation”?
    The society’s cleavages are so deep and wide that the commission’s work, no matter the quality of its immediate answers, cannot band-aid vast differences of opinion or establish the basis for appropriate political mobilisation. COSATU recognised that further structural factors should be considered, and like the South African Human Rights Commission and independent progressive investigators including Bench Marks Foundation, will issue major reports in coming weeks.

    Corporate-state-labour sweethearts
    Lonmin was long ruled by Tiny Rowland, a man so venal that his London and Rhodesia Company was named ‘‘the unacceptable face of capitalism” by British prime minister Edward Heath in 1973 after just one episode of his bribery and bullying was unveiled. Rowland died in 1998, after losing control of the company five years earlier due to his ties to Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Lonmin rebranded – its ‘‘Integrity, Honesty & Trust” slogan adorns billboards at Marikana – and by 2010 the firm’s ‘‘Sustainable Development Report” was ranked ‘‘excellent” by Ernst and Young. Lonmin is even featured on the World Bank’s website as the leading example of International Finance Corporation (IFC) “strategic community investment”, worthy of a 2007 Bank commitment of $150 million in equity investment and credit. (Exactly two weeks after the massacre, the new Bank president Jim Yong Kim came to Pretoria and Johannesburg for a visit. Tellingly, he neglected to check on his Lonmin investment in nearby Marikana, and instead gave a high-profile endorsement to an IFC deal with a small junk-mail printing/posting firm that is prospering from state tenders.)
    Lonmin must also have been confident that with the World Bank backing its community investment gimmickry, it could mainly ignore the nearby Nkaneng shack settlement’s degradation. The lack of clean running water, sanitation, storm-water drainage, electricity, schools, clinics and any other amenities make Nkaneng as inhospitable a residential site to reproduce labour power as any other in South Africa, yet Lonmin’s approach to the community’s troubles was tokenistic. Instead of building decent company housing for migrant workers, for example, it paid an inadequate ‘‘living out allowance” to support rental payments in shacks, a sum of around $200 per month, which was in many cases just added to wages for remittance to the home region, leaving Nkaneng nearly uninhabitable.
    Lonmin’s successful public relations onslaught probably gave its executives confidence that long-standing abuse of low-paid migrant labour could continue. The primary trade union serving black workers, NUM, becoming so coopted that shop stewards are reportedly paid three times more than ordinary workers, and NUM general secretary Frans Baleni earns $160 000 per year. Baleni had even advised Lonmin to fire 9000 mineworkers at nearby Karee mine in late 2011, because they went on a wildcat strike. As Baleni’s former deputy, Archie Palane put it, ‘‘It’s absolutely shocking – completely unheard of that a union advises an employer to fire workers. No matter what your differences or what they did, this should simply not happen. It gives the impression that you just don’t care. How can you ever expect those workers to trust you to represent them in any negotiations?” Of the 9000, 7000 were rehired but they quit NUM and joined the rival Association of Mining and Construction Union (AMCU). One result, at nearby Implats, was that of the 28 000 workers, 70 per cent were NUM members in late 2011, but by September 2012 the ratio was down to 13 per cent.
    On the ecological front, the entire platinum belt contributes to the toxicity and overall pollution that means South Africa’s ‘‘Environmental Performance Index” has slipped to 5th worst of 133 countries surveyed by Columbia and Yale University researchers this year. The Mineral Energy Complex’s prolific contribution to pollution is mainly to blame, including coal mining that generates coal-fired power used in electricity-intensive mining operations. In this context, Lonmin might have considered its ongoing destruction of the platinum belt’s water, air, agricultural and other eco-systems of little importance, within a setting in which pollution is ubiquitous.
    Moreover, the North West provincial and Rustenburg municipal governments are apparently rife with corruption. Emblematic was the 2009 assassination of a well-known ANC whistleblower, Moss Phakoe, which a judge found was arranged by Rustenburg mayor Matthew Wolmarans. Again, in this context, Lonmin and the other big mining houses in the platinum belt might have considered South Africa just one more Third World site worthy of the designation Resource Cursed. The phrase is usually applied to sites where dictatorial and familial patronage relations allow multinational capital in the extractive industries to get away with murder. (Around two dozen anti-corruption whisteblowers like Phakoe have been killed in recent years.)
    Family enterprise suits the Zumas, who have a reported 220 businesses. It is not surprising to learn that Zuma’s son Duduzane is co-owner of JIC, the platinum belt region’s largest firm specialising in short-term labour outsourcing (sometimes called ‘‘labour broking”, though JIC denies this, and NUM has a recognition agreement with the firm). Nor is it a secret that the president’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma plays a destructive role in nearby gold-mining territory as Aurora co-owner, along with Nelson Mandela’s grandson and Zuma’s lawyer. That mining house has perhaps the single most extreme record of ecological destructiveness and labour conflict in the post-apartheid era, reflecting how white-owned mining houses gave used-up mines with vast Acid Mine Drainage liabilities to new black owners, who are ill equipped to deal with the inevitable crises.
    This is all part of the deracialisation of apartheid capitalism. As Business Day editor Peter Bruce wrote in 2003, ‘‘The government is utterly seduced by big business, and cannot see beyond its immediate interests”. Those interests were to facilitate capital accumulation – ‘‘we must strive to create and strengthen a black capitalist class”, said Zuma’s predecessor Thabo Mbeki, upon taking over from Mandela in 1999 – within the ANC’s leading political power blocs, along with power of patronage to ensure voting majorities into the indefinite future. To illustrate, the ANC’s investment arm, Chancellor House, has done notorious deals including buying into Hitachi for supply of boilers to the vast coal-fired power plant now under construction not far from Marikana, at Medupi.
    The World Bank made its largest-ever project loan to support that deal, and with Eskom chair Valli Moosa also a member of the ANC Finance Committee at the time, the South African Public Protector labeled his conflict of interest ‘‘improper”. But reflecting the balance of political power and financial facilitation by Robert Zoellick’s World Bank, the deal went through and now more than two years of delays can be blamed, not surprisingly, on faulty boilers. (The day that Jim Kim arrived in Johannesburg, several hundred Medupi construction workers embarked on a strike that included burning some of the facilities, resulting in the evacuation of 17,000 workers, a problem that did not attract his extensive public commentary while in the country or on his blog upon returning.)
    How much has the ANC been seduced by big business? After the era of Albert Luthuli – Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1960 – its standard bearers over the next third of a century were Oliver Tambo, in exile for all but the last three years of his life, and Nelson Mandela who remained ANC president until 1997 and state president until 1999. The party was never pure, with rot evident to those in the know. As one example of the old guard’s ways, in the late 1990s, defence minister Joe Modise apparently arranged for large parts of the hugely expensive arms deal to benefit himself and allies via straight bribery. Mandela and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel looked the other way.
    One man who lubricated the process of corrupting the ANC was Rowland, formerly a member of Hitler Youth in Hamburg, and then mainly schooled in England. After a World War II internment due to his German background, he was a porter in London’s Euston station but by migrating to what was then Southern Rhodesia, Rowland made his wealth in tobacco and rose rapidly within that colony’s racist business environment. After taking control of Lonrho, from the early 1960s he became a leading confidante to a succession of African dictators as well as liberation strugglers, including Zimbabwe’s. It was from these sorts of leaders and their countries’ natural resources, railroads and newspapers that he extracted a vast fortune for his tightly controlled firm. Rowland’s accomplishments included platinum trading to help bust apartheid-era sanctions against South Africa, for which he perhaps made amends by flying Tambo around in a jet and buying him a mansion in one of Johannesburg’s most fashionable white suburbs, Sandhurst. He was given the Order of Good Hope award, South Africa’s most prestigious honour, in 1996, and died in 1998.
    Mandela, too, was showered with a small financial fortune by friendly tycoons after release from 27 years of prison in 1990, sufficient to soon amass a $10 million asset base, as revealed in his ugly divorce proceedings with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. It is not known whether and how the gifts influenced Mandela, and whether he used his world-historic prestige on behalf of benefactors. But as one illustration, the donation of $25 million from the Indonesian dictator Suharto to the ANC’s 1994 election campaign may explain Mandela’s award of the Order of Good Hope medal to that tyrant in 1997, a few weeks before popular protests forced him to flee Jakarta.
    This venality by the democratic fathers may seem sufficiently disheartening to provoke South Africans to political depression and apathy, but somehow Marikana has changed so many calculations that the next layer of complexity must be confronted head on: revulsion by workers and community residents against the ANC, NUM and SACP. These organisations still describe themselves as ‘‘the progressive forces” aiming to move the ‘‘National Democratic Revolution” to the next ‘‘phase”, i.e. economic justice. But this is classical ‘‘talk left” in order to ‘‘walk right”, such as the persistent appeals by NUM for “stability” in the ‘‘fragile” mining sector. Actually, the nine main mining firms recorded $4.5 billion in 2011 profits from their South African operations. Not fooled any longer, workers are showing signs of ungovernability, moving by tens of thousands from NUM affiliation to the rival AMCU.
    Even after the massacre, the Marikana workers refused to return to their rock drilling jobs until they received a massive wage increase. With the intervention of the South African Council of Churches (especially the Anglican Bishop of Pretoria Jo Seoka), the Lonmin workers won 22 per cent after a month’s strike, and that was only agreed upon after they were snookered into thinking a higher wage is on the cards next year. In turn, this generated contagion of such confidence that nearly one in five other South African mineworkers quickly embarked upon wildcat strikes, leading in many cases to their own substantial above-inflation pay hikes. Similar militancy was soon evident in trucking, the auto sector, municipal labour and other sectors. What, then, does this disaster of rising worker confidence mean politically, for the future of Alliance politics and corporatism?
    The Marikana massacre’s historical metaphors and political lessons
    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 ANC, COSATU and SACP continuously fail to put a lid on the boiling labour pot, and as threatened mass firings of wildcat-striking workers by mining houses ratchets up the tension, 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 organisational 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 organising 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, kick started 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 a workers’ 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 organising against state-corporate-trade union arrangements in the years prior to the massive Tahrir Square mobilisations 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.
    Fractured political certainties
    Endless debates about these matters are underway, especially between the centre-left unionists and communists who are close to official power and thus defensive of the political status quo, on the one hand; and on the other, critical, independent progressives (my own bias). Overlaying the crisis and these debates is the internal ANC split between pro- and anti-Zuma forces, which spilled over into COSATU prior to its September congress. It was this that initially paralysed labour leadership, given the danger COSATU would unleash centrifugal forces that its popular, leftist leader Zwelinzima Vavi could not control. There was even talk of NUM opening up a leadership challenge to Vavi, on grounds that the 300,000-member union (COSATU’s largest single member) was strongly pro-Zuma and insisted on the official COSATU support that Vavi had initially resisted.
    Until September, Zuma did indeed appear vulnerable to an ANC leadership challenge, but by ensuring the support of NUM and other unions, as well as a huge increase in membership in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal, he appears certain to win re-election as ANC president at the party’s congress in December. Deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe has been publicly vague on whether he will challenge Zuma, but recent events ironically strengthened the current configuration of personalities, as major blocs all sought stability – drawing the wagons around in a ‘‘laager”, is the local Afrikaans metaphor – on a terrain of such socio-political turmoil.
    In the meantime, this political maneuvering left COSATU mostly silenced about Marikana, as NUM’s weight and the parallel subversion of other union leaders made it too difficult for the federation to visibly back the upstart platinum, gold and other mineworkers. In any case, what these wildcat strikers were doing might, unionists reckoned, even throw the institutions of centralised bargaining into chaos. The demand for higher wages was both extreme, and thus opposed by NUM, and ultimately successful in the case of Marikana’s courageous workers. The 22 per cent raise – at a time inflation is around 6 per cent – they won after a month of striking was remarkable, and inspired the country’s labour force to look at their own pay packets askance.
    By failing to issue immediate statements about Marikana, much less mobilise workers for solidarity against multinational capital’s and the state’s onslaught, COSATU was simply unable to intervene at a time so many cried out for a shift from the War of Position to a War of Movement. Before Marikana, there was a chance Vavi would have been replaced by forces to his right, driven by NUM, but because he chose to close ranks, he won re-election as general secretary, building on a successful term over the past 13 years in which more than any other figure in South African society, he has vocally demanded economic justice – until Marikana. Indeed Vavi’s most conspicuous moves throughout the mining belt in subsequent weeks were out of character: hand-in-hand with NUM’s leadership, using his enormous prestige to throw cold water on the workers.
    Overall, the configuration has COSATU gazing upwards longingly for a relationship with state power, as with labour’s support for Zuma even during the darkest 2005-07 days of corruption and rape charges. Many on the left are convinced, now, that COSATU’s conservatism is the principal barrier to progress. I wish this was not so, but find it hard to rebut.
    The resulting void is vast. Only the so-called populist hypocrite Julius Malema, the ANC’s former youth leader who is himself allegedly implicated in corrupt ‘‘tenderpreneurship” (insider deals for state contracts) in the neighbouring province of Limpopo, could gather 15,000 people at Marikana two days after the massacre. There he voiced the needed critique of Zuma, Lonmin and their associated black-parasitical capitalists, such as Lonmin part-owner Cyril Ramaphosa, who had just offered $240,000 of his company’s funds to bury the murdered strikers, but whose company Shanduka is paid $360,000/year by Lonmin for providing ‘‘empowerment” consulting.
    The billionaire Ramaphosa’s recent attempt to purchase a prize bull cow for $2.3 million was mentioned by Malema as indicative of the gulf between the new South African 1% and the workers. Malema was rewarded by overwhelming support from Marikana miners on two occasions – including a memorial ceremony he arranged, at which he kicked out several of Zuma’s cabinet ministers who had come to pay respects – but on his third visit, police denied him his constitutional rights to address another huge crowd. Even while contesting fraud charges in his home base, where facilitating provincial tenders made him rich, Malema has been an unstoppable force across the mining belt in North West and Limpopo Provinces, and even Zimbabwe, calling for radical redistribution. Each time he does so, it seems to pull Zuma’s rhetoric marginally leftwards as well.
    Rebuilding from micropolitics
    But the forces for genuine change have to be gathered from below, for Malema’s agenda is still apparently a re-entry to the ANC, from which he was recently expelled for putting the party into disrepute. Instead, the labour and community activists at the base need our attention, for to exist in Marikana and these mining dorpies is to face incessant repression bordering on brutality. Police arrogance continues undisturbed by the hatred expressed by workers and the disgust of so many in the society.
    For example, the emergence of a women’s mutual-aid movement among mineworkers’ wives and girlfriends, as well as other women from the impoverished Marikana community, is one reflection of a new bottom-up politics. At least one martyr emerged from their ranks: Paulina Masuhlo, an unusually sympatico ANC municipal councilor in Marikana who sided with the workers and who was shot in the abdomen and leg with rubber bullets during a police and army invasion of Nkaneng on August 25. She died of the wounds on August 30. Yet for the following week and a half, police and malevolently bureaucratic municipal officials refused the women’s attempts to memorialise Masuhlo with a long protest march from Nkaneng to the Marikana police station. Persistence and legal support prevailed, so 800 demanded justice in a women’s-only trek from Nkaneng to Marikana police station on September 1, dignified and without casualties.
    But the political opportunities that might fuse worker, community and women’s interests in improving conditions for the reproduction of labour power – perhaps one day too joined by environmentalists – are fragile and easy to lose. Male migrant workers typically maintain two households and hence channel resources back to the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, Mozambique and other home bases. This process of mixing short-term residents with long-term Tswana-speaking inhabitants is fraught with potential xenophobia and ethnicism, and is a site in which syndicates of illicit drugs, transactional sex (even forced sexual labour), traditional patriarchy, dysfunctional spiritual suspicions (e.g. the use of traditional medicine muti against bullets which allegedly wears off quickly in the presence of women), widespread labour-broking and other super-exploitative relations thrive.
    As a result, it can be extremely expensive to swim within this sea of poverty. For example, reflecting the broader financialisation of South Africa’s economy since the early 2000s, microfinance short-term loans that carry exceptionally high interest rates are offered to mineworkers by institutions ranging from established banks – one (Ubank) even co-owned by NUM and another (Capitec) replete with powerful ANC patrons – down to fly-by-night ‘‘mashonisha’’ loan sharks. The extremely high interest rates charged, especially once arrears mount, are understood to be one of the central pressures requiring workers to demand higher wages.
    New versions of a debt moratorium or organised debtor’s cartel – such as the ‘‘bond boycott” strategies that were so common in the early 1990s, in which borrowers banded together to gain strength for collective defaults – are a logical progression for a micropolitics of resistance in Marikana and so many other similar situations. The ‘‘repo man” tends to resort to threats and practices of violence, of course, so this is not a decision to be taken lightly (in Mexico in early 1995, it took a jump in interest rates from 14 to 120 per cent to catalyse the ‘‘El Barzon”– the yoke – movement which gathered a million members to renegotiate debts on the basis of the financial reality, ‘‘can’t pay, won’t pay!”)
    Jumping scale to other visions of post-exploitative economics, there is also loose talk of nationalisation, of which mining minister Susan Shabangu and her pro-business allies have been attempting to rid the ANC, especially since Malema’s troubles rose to crisis proportions. The expulsion of the ANC Youth League faux-radicals left virtually no major figures aside from the general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), Irwin Jim, to demand nationalisation of strategic resources – even though it was a policy position adopted just weeks earlier at an ANC national policy conference.
    Nationalising platinum would be a smart move, for South Africa controls more than 80 per cent of world platinum resources, and the price spike occasioned by the Lonmin, Implats and Angoplats strikes – now 30 per cent over six weeks – suggests great potential for a platinum cartel similar to OPEC’s oil cartel. The main buyer of platinum is the European auto industry, so while the economic crisis continues, demand will remain soft, with the consequent threat that the major platinum mines will simply close shafts. The same week that Lonmin conceded the big wage increase to the 4000 Marikana rock drill operators, it found it could cancel short-term contracts of another 1200 workers, for example.
    Narratives of revolution, revulsion and rearguard defence
    How far will the diverse momentums of Marikana pull South African society? Which political narratives are emerging, and can they become the basis for a social understanding that will mobilise the tens of millions of disgruntled South Africans into a force capable of breaking sweetheart relations between state, ruling party, labour aristocrats, parasitical capital and the London/Melbourne mining houses? The answer, so far, is not encouraging.
    For some, 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. Such a narrative is promoted by the extremely fractured South African left, with some factions associated with the relatively broad-based (though labour-less) Democratic Left Front and the Marikana Support Campaign, which from Johannesburg and Cape Town have sponsored regular political meetings and solidarity activities in the platinum belt.
    Because the first such meeting at the University of Johannesburg a week after the Marikana massacre provisionally included a NUM representative on the program (though he was chased from the hall), another left faction led by Johannesburg’s Khanya College broke away to found the ‘‘We are all Marikana” campaign. Resolutely opposed to any legitimation of COSATU’s Alliance unionism, this network has also gathered ordinary workers for educational events. There are at least two other small revolutionary parties in Marikana engaged in recruiting and consciousness raising: the Democratic Socialist Movement and the Committee for a Workers’ International. Unfortunately, even though it may often seem like a ‘‘pre-revolutionary” situation in a South Africa with among the highest protest rates in the world, the lack of connectivity between those with grievances is a crippling problem.
    That is why it is worrisome to hear dissonant narratives from others who might potentially move together into, at the very least, a more united oppositional discursive mode, not to mention joint activist initiatives. One of these might have included coordinated international solidarity, which became a huge void in Marikana-reaction work given the willingness of NGOs to already call on the World Bank to divest from Lonmin the day after the massacre, and given that at least a dozen spontaneous protests broke out at South African embassies and consulate offices across the world in subsequent days.
    To illustrate, although an impressive revival of the Black Consciousness (BC) tradition has occurred over the last decade through the New Frank Talk series, for example, the sole public intervention on Marikana by the September National Imbizo was to visit two days after the massacre to begin the reconstruction of events (resulting in their later accusations against others who arrived soon after, of political plagiarism), but without subsequent commentary or activism. A month after the massacre, I witnessed BC adherents along with an unusually subdued left-autonomist network conjoined in an intellectual conference at Johannesburg’s Wits University, in an event known as the ‘‘Tribe of Moles”, led by an emerging black intelligentsia suspicious of classical socialist formulations and friendly to insurgent opportunities. But surprisingly, in a whole day of debating race, representation and radical politics, the word Marikana was not mentioned once from the stage or floor. When asked during a break about the evolving situation, including Marikana women’s organising, the country’s most prominent BC proponent, Andile Mngxitama, called the cross-racial/class/geographical gender organising underway (including middle-class women from NGOs) a distraction, for after all the corpses were ‘‘black bodies”– and hence he gave impetus to the frequent claim that contemporary South African BC argumentation soon degenerates into race essentialism.
    There is hope that women of Marikana organising across the divides of labour and community can set the example so desperately needed to connect the dots elsewhere in the society, including in nearby terrains ranging from mining dorpies to land struggles in North West, Limpopo and Gauteng provinces. Yet these women are as diverse (and ethnically divided) as the broader society: wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters, sisters, health workers, educators, sex workers, cooks, cleaners, salespersons. In two cases, there are even women serving as super-exploitative mining house managers (Cynthia Carroll of Anglo and Mamphela Ramphele of Goldfields: capitalist ideologues who have provided very little in the way of sisterhood, though at least the former World Bank managing director Ramphele did acknowledge that migrant labour needs a rethink). These women have the additional burdens of handling trauma counseling for victims of violence, and of providing mutual aid to those who are suffering enormously, directly and indirectly, as a result of the wildcat strike wave’s reduction of immediate cash in communities.
    What about progressives who have long been associated with the ANC because of the 100-year old party’s best instincts, but who after 1994 continued their sincerely liberatory work mainly from civil society? Here one might include organisations which jumped into the Marikana political breech with much needed support activities, including the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, Sonke Gender Justice, Studies in Poverty and Inequality, Students for Law and Social Justice, the Treatment Action Campaign and Section 27 (which is named after the country’s Bill of Rights).
    A leader of the latter very vigorous NGO, Mark Heywood (formerly a leading AIDS-medicines activist), was on the one hand a vital supplier of solidarity, yet on the other, perhaps a victim of his own belief in liberal muti (traditional medicine), when speaking to the Marikana workers and community in late September: ‘‘The constitution of South Africa is the most important weapon we have. It is more powerful than Jacob Zuma, but it will only give you power if you organise around the constitution, if you organise around its rights.” Shown this quote, one leading left intellectual chuckled, ‘‘I don’t think the workers won their 22 per cent raise with a second thought about the constitution.”
    And what of the official ‘‘left”? Nothing if not brutally frank, Business Day newspaper editor Peter Bruce wrote four days after the massacre, ‘‘What’s scary about Marikana is that, for the first time, for me, the fact that the ANC and its government do not have the handle they once did on the African majority has come home. The party is already losing the middle classes. If they are now also losing the marginal and the dispossessed, what is left? Ah yes, COSATU and the communists – Zuma’s creditors.”
    Indeed it is surreal to find COSATU and communist leaders so racked with anxiety at the prospect of widening worker revolt. In the most extreme case, an SACP ideologue was used by controversy-seeking liberal journalist R.W. Johnson as the useful idiot for a bizarre conclusion: ‘‘this time the Left was in favour of the massacre [emphasis added]. Dominic Tweedie of the Communist University, Johannesburg, commented ‘This was no massacre, this was a battle. The police used their weapons in exactly the way they were supposed to. That’s what they have them for. The people they shot didn’t look like workers to me. We should be happy. The police were admirable.’ The Communist Party’s North West section demanded the arrest of AMCU’s Joseph Muthunjwa and his deputy, James Kholelile.”
    Johnson, a regular London Review of Books blogger, has apparently no interest in engaging a genuine left, and indeed he confesses that he taught ‘‘vulgar Marxism” to Zuma in Durban 50 years ago (obviously rather poorly). Yet his point about SACP inclinations to put the dissenters up against the wall is chillingly familiar.
    If dismissing the courage and persistence of Marikana workers is the objective, then the partner in crime of both gleeful old-line liberalism and control-freak Stalinism is nihilism, as represented in an Africa Report article by maverick commentator Heinrich Bohmke, well known in Durban as a political kill-joy with an eloquent spear of a pen. Writing six days after the massacre, Bohmke predicted, ‘‘the repertoire of counter-insurgency (for lack of a softer term) available to those working on behalf of the status quo is too great to allow much to come of Marikana… Bosses of all hues will consider this a boon. Instead of menace and the hope for an upsurge in struggle, what Marikana may end up marking is the beginning of a tripartite backlash against what government, established trade unions and business have all called ‘anarchy’.”
    How wrong can you get. The panic of bosses and their spokespeople – neoliberals such as Bruce – is easy to discern, at a time social protest in townships reached very high levels in mid-2012, with no hope of relief. Some commentators apparently fearing the potentially uncontrollable contagion of disrespect, like Frans Cronje of the South African Institute of Race Relations, immediately rose to the ANC’s defence, declaring in mid-September, ‘‘A myth has taken hold in South Africa that service delivery was a failure.” Cronje’s defence of state provision of water, electricity, housing, etc. reverberated well with Business Day editorialists as well as SACP leader Blade Nzimande, who warmly endorsed the ‘‘research”.
    But when I asked Cronje whether he had determined what percentage of post-1994 communal water taps were still working among those the ruling party claim serve more than 15 million people, he conceded that he had no clue. The last serious audit I know of – a decade ago by David Hemson, at the behest of then water minister Ronnie Kasrils – put the share at less than half, using even the most generous definition of what is ‘‘working” and by all accounts the sector’s management has degenerated since then.
    Others in this apparently frightened camp, like Business Day columnist Steven Friedman, appeal for a return to a “social partnership” strategy in the wake of Marikana, because such an approach ‘‘has not failed us – it has not been tried”. The corporatist elites, now including Vavi, did meet in mid-October, issuing what will be soon seen as meaningless statements against wildcat strikes and worker violence against scabs. The big business representatives at that gabfest were apparently loathe to even name themselves publicly.
    Economic potholes ahead
    Unfortunately for them, no matter the narratives of renewed social ‘‘leadership”, the strike wave may continue rising if desperation levels and worker militancy continue. Truck drivers received an above-inflation settlement on October 12 after resorting to sometimes intensely violent methods to disrupt scab drivers, in the process creating shortages of petrol and retail goods in parts of the country. If municipal workers go on strike next, the piling up of garbage and then its spillage on main roads – the typical tactic to infuriate wealthier residents so as to compel local government officials to settle – will add to the impression that South Africa has won amongst world capitalists: socioeconomic rot and an inability to control the unruly proletariat.
    In mid-September, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report placed South Africa in the number one position for adverse employee-employer relations (in a survey done prior to Marikana), whereas last year in this measure of class struggle, South African workers were only in 7th place of 144 countries surveyed. Partly as a result of labour militancy, major ratings agencies are now downgrading the country’s bond rating, most recently to BBB level by Standard & Poor’s. The resulting higher interest rates to be paid on the country’s prolific foreign borrowings – about five times higher today in absolute terms than inherited from apartheid in 1994 – will create yet more fiscal pressures as well as household and corporate repayment stress.
    Given Europe’s crisis and South Africa’s vulnerability, much lower GDP growth rates in coming quarters are anticipated. And instead of countering that prospect with an interest rate cut by the South African Reserve Bank in coming weeks, as was projected just weeks ago, the country’s shaky financial standing will put countervailing upward pressure on rates. A rates increase is possible, just so as to stem rampant capital flight, even while Citigroup’s long-planned inclusion of South African securities in its global state bond reporting portfolio expands the purchasing base for Pretoria’s bonds. The only soothing answer for bankers from the finance minister, former communist Pravin Gordhan, is to hint at fiscal austerity in his upcoming budget speech.
    All this is to say that the situation remains too fluid to assess which forces will emerge from the chaos. It is here that contemporary South African narratives from within ‘‘nationalism”, ‘‘populism”, “Stalinism”, ‘‘Trotskyism”, ‘‘autonomism”, ‘‘black consciousness”, ‘‘feminism”, ‘‘nihilism”, ‘‘corporatism”, ‘‘liberalism” and ‘‘neoliberalism” all appear inadequate to the tasks at hand on the platinum belt and so many other workplaces and communities. No ideologues have yet posed a vision to rescue South Africa from intense pressures that seem to grow stronger each week.
    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. Marikana will have that effect, permanently, I suspect, so long as protesters keep dodging police bullets and moving the socioeconomic and political-ecological questions to centre stage, from where ANC neoliberal nationalism could either arrange a properly fascist backlash, or more likely under Zuma’s ongoing misrule, continue shrinking in confusion and regular doses of necessary humility.
    [Patrick Bond directs the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society in Durban.]

  37. Sel Cool says :

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/nov2012/safr-n01.shtml

    South African miners shot dead by security!

    By Bill Van Auken
    1 November 2012

    Mine security guards shot and killed two striking coal miners in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, amid continuing tensions and clashes in South Africa’s mining sector.

    The latest killings took place at a mine near Dannhauser, about 125 miles south of Johannesburg. According to a local police commander, a confrontation unfolded after about 100 striking miners gathered at the coal mine’s entrance. Mine security alleged that they then tried to force their way onto mine property and break into an armory there.

    After driving the miners back, the security guards, employed by Forbes Coal, chased the strikers into a nearby shantytown, where they opened fire on the workers, fatally wounding two miners. They were taken to a hospital but died there, a police spokesman said.

    The miners have been on strike since October 17, having originally demanded a 3,000 rand (US$345) raise on their monthly salary. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which is aligned with South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) government, has sought to cut this demand in half in its negotiations with the mining company. Forbes, meanwhile, has offered just a 400 rand raise, or roughly US$45. Lower-paid miners receive just 3.800 rand, or US$437, a month.

    In the wake of the shootings, Forbes announced that it is halting all operations at its Magdalena and Aviemore underground mines.

    The killings will no doubt inflame the already bitter struggle that has pitted tens of thousands of miners across the country against the mining companies, the ANC government and the official miners’ union, the NUM. Strikes, mass demonstrations and clashes with security forces have continued to spread since the August 16 police massacre of 34 striking Lonmin platinum miners at Marikana in South Africa’s North West Province. This constituted the bloodiest act of repression since the end of the apartheid regime 18 years ago.

    The largest recent confrontations have taken place at the Rustenburg mine owned by Anglo-American Platinum (AMPLATS), the world’s largest platinum producer, also in North West Province.

    Police have clashed repeatedly with miners after AMPLATS management and the official unions announced that the company had backed off its threat to fire 12,000 strikers and set a new Tuesday deadline for a return to work.

    The move apparently came as a result of substantial pressure by the ANC government on the mining company, which offered 2,000 rand (US$230) one-time bonuses—described as “hardship allowances” for those who struck, and “loyalty allowances” for those who did not—but no wage increases.

    The miners, who have been on strike since September 15, demanding a 16,000 rand monthly salary, reacted with anger to the back-to-work deal negotiated behind their backs by the official unions led by the NUM. Many said that the only way they knew about the agreement was through the media.

    The Rustenburg Strike Co-ordinating Committee, which has opposed the NUM, announced that workers would not accept the return to work. “The strike is on,” the committee’s spokesman, Gadaffhi Madoda, said. “Workers have crushed the proposal to return to work.”
    On Tuesday, police fired teargas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and live ammunition at thousands of striking miners who had barricaded the road to prevent police from coming into the mine. A police spokesman claimed that in the early morning hours, strikers had gone onto AMPLATS property and set fire to a power substation.
    Later in the evening, the police attacked a meeting of thousands of strikers, dispersing the miners with rubber bullets and arresting at least 14. The police then pursued the workers into a nearby shanty settlement, where they burst into people’s shacks and attacked them.
    AMPLATS is the last of the major mining companies to confront a mass strike. Settlements and intimidation have ended walkouts in the South African gold mines as well as at Lonmin, where the initial confrontation led to the police massacre.
    That may change, however, as Lonmin announced on Tuesday that it is preparing a major restructuring of its mining operations that would spell substantial layoffs. The company has decided to freeze platinum production at 750,000 ounces a year—instead of restoring it to 90,000 as originally planned—and to cut jobs accordingly.
    Meanwhile, the continuing official inquiry into the Marikana massacre of last August was informed Wednesday that several miners have been arrested in recent weeks and subjected to brutal torture by the South African police.
    Dali Mpofu, who is representing the 78 miners wounded by the police in the August 16 massacre, said that six miners had informed him of their ordeal after being released on Tuesday night.
    “What is sad is since last night I’ve been listening to the most gory details of their assault and torture. One person said he was beaten up until he soiled himself. Another lost the hearing in his right ear, and another had visible scarring,” Mpofu said.
    Mpofu said that some of the miners he intended to call as key witnesses before the commission were among those arrested by the police, and that arrests had taken place after police had followed workers leaving the hearings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.

  38. Sel Cool says :

    BACKGROUND!

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/oct2012/safr-o29.shtml

    Striking South African miners oppose rally called by official unions
    By Julie Hyland
    29 October 2012
    The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) called a rally and march Saturday at the Olympia Stadium, Rustenburg in what was meant to be a show of strength. COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi had vowed to “reclaim the Rustenburg area from the forces of counterrevolution.”
    Vavi was to appear before an audience bussed in from surrounding areas, alongside Blade Nzimande, South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary and minister in the African National Congress (ANC)-dominated Tripartite Alliance, and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) General Secretary Frans Baleni.
    Instead, the protest demonstrated how eviscerated these organisations have become and the hostility of broad masses of workers towards them.
    The so-called “forces of counterrevolution” identified by Vavi are tens of thousands of striking miners who have rebelled against backbreaking exploitation and poverty wages and against the NUM, which functions as a house union for the mining companies.
    Rustenburg has been at the centre of a wildcat insurgency that began in August at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana and spread across the mining sector to involve some 100,000 workers at its peak.
    On Saturday, over 1,000 striking Amplats miners arrived early at the Olympia Stadium and occupied the venue. Wearing black T-shirts with the slogan “Remember the Slain of Marikana” and “Forward with Living Wage —R12500”, they carried placards reading, “Don’t Let Police Get Away with Murder” and “We Are Here to Bury NUM.”
    The Sapa news agency cited Tshepang Moloi from the Rustenburg branch of the National Striking Committee stating, “We have a message for Zwelinzima Vavi: We are not going back to work until our demands are met”. Another striker shouted, “We are dying underground while you sit on chairs above and earn money!”
    As the strikers marched into the stadium, NUM officials fled. The workers burnt ANC and COSATU T-shirts and then left to sing and shout slogans outside the gates, which were padlocked by police.
    In his account of events for the Daily Maverick, Greg Marinovich noted, “Police have banned most marches by Marikana miners and even women’s marches as a threat to public safety. Yet, despite it being clear that large-scale clashes would erupt if COSATU insisted on holding the rally at the stadium, police opted to heed COSATU’s desires and moved in to clear the miners.”
    Three COSATU officials were assaulted. Marinovich recounts that government and union officials watched as COSATU members beat and stripped Rehad Desai from the Marikana solidarity campaign. Police then began firing stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets and chased the strikers into the neighbouring streets. The shooting lasted for over an hour.
    Inside the stadium, SACP General Secretary Nzimande praised the police action and told the audience that the SACP would never allow the destruction of the NUM. “NUM is the best capable union to represent mineworkers in South Africa”, he said.
    But Nzimande was addressing a rally attended by just 500 to 1,000 people, according to varying reports. The NUM has all but disintegrated and is kept going only because of its key role in the government and state apparatus.
    As Marinovich concluded, “What happened at Olympia stadium is the start of open competition and conflict between organised labour with links to the ruling party (with the support of the organs of state), and an increasingly disempowered and frustrated workforce, who were once the vanguard of the Alliance.
    “The ANC-linked union federation is determined to keep their mineworker union in power at the mines, knowing well that without it, they will shrivel and die. The war has now well and truly started and, should the solution not be soon found, there will [be] much more blood and tears spilt.”
    Thirty-four striking miners were slain by police at the Lonmin mine on August 16. This action was endorsed by the NUM, COSATU and the SACP, with Dominic Tweedie of the SACP and COSATU declaring, “We should be happy. The police were admirable.”
    Last week, at the ANC-appointed inquiry into the Marikana massacre, it was revealed that in an email exchange with Lonmin management, government ministers and the police, former NUM general secretary-turned millionaire businessman Cyril Ramaphosa had called for “concomitant action” to address the “criminal acts” of the striking miners just 24-hours before the police massacre.
    The workers’ “crime” is to reject the NUM and wage a militant struggle to increase their wages. Their actions have exposed the project of “Black economic empowerment”, by which ANC and union representatives have become millionaires, while the exploitation and poverty of the majority of workers have, if anything, grown worse.
    In a bid to restore credibility, Vavi had billed the Rustenburg rally as a “fight against the subversive forces threatening NUM’s dominance in the platinum belt”. Its aim was to “strengthen COSATU”. In a bid to placate the workers, Vavi said COSATU and the NUM were demanding the reinstatement of thousands of mineworkers laid off for taking wildcat action.
    On Thursday, it was announced that the NUM and the Chamber of Mines had reached agreement on a pay rise with AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony, and Gold Fields. Just ahead of Saturday’s rally, the NUM again announced that Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) had agreed to rehire the 12,000 workers it had dismissed for involvement in a six-week strike.
    The announced deals met with an angry response from many strikers, who rightly regarded them as an attempt by management and the union to wind down their action and then pick them off mine by mine.
    The revised pay structure for the gold sector amounts to a maximum rise in monthly salaries of just R500 ($57.8), under conditions where workers were demanding an increase from their current 4,000 rand salary to R16,000. The agreement does nothing for the thousands of gold miners who have been dismissed.
    As for Amplats, the company has given dismissed employees a deadline of Tuesday to return to work, with the paltry offer of a one-off hardship payment of R2,000 ($230).
    ————————–

    http://links.org.au/node/3071

    South Africa: Latest ANC/SACP/COSATU police attack on militant miners condemned

    Statement by the Democratic Left Front (South Africa)

    October 29, 2012 — The Democratic Left Front condemns the police for shooting workers in Rustenburg on October 27. Two workers who work at Amplats were hit by live ammunition, and one, hit in the chest, is in a critical condition in hospital. Eleven other mineworkers were injured by rubber bullets.

    The DLF also condemns Blade Nzimande, SACP general secretary and minister for higher education, for condoning this shooting by the police.

    This so-called “Communist” defends the shooting of workers in the interests of the capitalist bosses.

    The rally of the Tripartite Alliance of the African National Congress, South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions was called by COSATU leaders supposedly to “reclaim Rustenburg” from the mineworkers who have been on strike against mining bosses since September with a demand for at least a 12,500 rand living wage.

    While the workers are opposed to anyone speaking on their behalf, COSATU leaders aimed to try to reinstate the [pro-ANC] National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the mineworkers’ union in the town.

    This was an extremely provocative action….

  39. Sel Cool says :

    LATEST NEWS:

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/nov2012/safr-n01.shtml

    South African miners shot dead by security

    By Bill Van Auken
    1 November 2012

    Mine security guards shot and killed two striking coal miners in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, amid continuing tensions and clashes in South Africa’s mining sector.

    The latest killings took place at a mine near Dannhauser, about 125 miles south of Johannesburg. According to a local police commander, a confrontation unfolded after about 100 striking miners gathered at the coal mine’s entrance. Mine security alleged that they then tried to force their way onto mine property and break into an armory there.

    After driving the miners back, the security guards, employed by Forbes Coal, chased the strikers into a nearby shantytown, where they opened fire on the workers, fatally wounding two miners. They were taken to a hospital but died there, a police spokesman said.

    The miners have been on strike since October 17, having originally demanded a 3,000 rand (US$345) raise on their monthly salary. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which is aligned with South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) government, has sought to cut this demand in half in its negotiations with the mining company. Forbes, meanwhile, has offered just a 400 rand raise, or roughly US$45. Lower-paid miners receive just 3.800 rand, or US$437, a month.

    In the wake of the shootings, Forbes announced that it is halting all operations at its Magdalena and Aviemore underground mines.
    The killings will no doubt inflame the already bitter struggle that has pitted tens of thousands of miners across the country against the mining companies, the ANC government and the official miners’ union, the NUM.

    Strikes, mass demonstrations and clashes with security forces have continued to spread since the August 16 police massacre of 34 striking Lonmin platinum miners at Marikana in South Africa’s North West Province.

    This constituted the bloodiest act of repression since the end of the apartheid regime 18 years ago.

    The largest recent confrontations have taken place at the Rustenburg mine owned by Anglo-American Platinum (AMPLATS), the world’s largest platinum producer, also in North West Province.
    Police have clashed repeatedly with miners after AMPLATS management and the official unions announced that the company had backed off its threat to fire 12,000 strikers and set a new Tuesday deadline for a return to work.
    The move apparently came as a result of substantial pressure by the ANC government on the mining company, which offered 2,000 rand (US$230) one-time bonuses—described as “hardship allowances” for those who struck, and “loyalty allowances” for those who did not—but no wage increases.
    The miners, who have been on strike since September 15, demanding a 16,000 rand monthly salary, reacted with anger to the back-to-work deal negotiated behind their backs by the official unions led by the NUM. Many said that the only way they knew about the agreement was through the media.
    The Rustenburg Strike Co-ordinating Committee, which has opposed the NUM, announced that workers would not accept the return to work. “The strike is on,” the committee’s spokesman, Gadaffhi Madoda, said. “Workers have crushed the proposal to return to work.”
    On Tuesday, police fired teargas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and live ammunition at thousands of striking miners who had barricaded the road to prevent police from coming into the mine. A police spokesman claimed that in the early morning hours, strikers had gone onto AMPLATS property and set fire to a power substation.
    Later in the evening, the police attacked a meeting of thousands of strikers, dispersing the miners with rubber bullets and arresting at least 14. The police then pursued the workers into a nearby shanty settlement, where they burst into people’s shacks and attacked them.
    AMPLATS is the last of the major mining companies to confront a mass strike. Settlements and intimidation have ended walkouts in the South African gold mines as well as at Lonmin, where the initial confrontation led to the police massacre.
    That may change, however, as Lonmin announced on Tuesday that it is preparing a major restructuring of its mining operations that would spell substantial layoffs. The company has decided to freeze platinum production at 750,000 ounces a year—instead of restoring it to 900,000 as originally planned—and to cut jobs accordingly.

    Meanwhile, the continuing official inquiry into the Marikana massacre of last August was informed Wednesday that several miners have been arrested in recent weeks and subjected to brutal torture by the South African police.

    Dali Mpofu, who is representing the 78 miners wounded by the police in the August 16 massacre, said that six miners had informed him of their ordeal after being released on Tuesday night.

    “What is sad is since last night I’ve been listening to the most gory details of their assault and torture. One person said he was beaten up until he soiled himself. Another lost the hearing in his right ear, and another had visible scarring,” Mpofu said.

    Mpofu said that some of the miners he intended to call as key witnesses before the commission were among those arrested by the police, and that arrests had taken place after police had followed workers leaving the hearings of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.
    ………….

    Mine layoffs set to add to 4.7-million out of work

    02.nov.2012

    by Ntsakisi Maswanganyi

    Figures show economic growth is still too slow to create jobs, which could deteriorate given the mass dismissals of mine workers who participated in illegal strikes

    THE number of unemployed people in South Africa reached 4.7-million in the third quarter — the most since 2008 — with indications that this could deteriorate given the flagging economy and the mass dismissals of mine workers who participated in illegal strikes.

    Statistics South Africa figures released on Thursday showed that unemployment — defined as people actively seeking work — increased to 25.5% in the third quarter from 24.9% in the previous quarter .

    The agency said this could be the result of an increase in the number of economically active people and a decline in the number of discouraged work seekers.

    “Given the circumstances of the economy … the unemployment rate is stubbornly sitting at about 25%,” said Stats SA deputy director-general for social statistics Kefiloe Masiteng.

    “It looks like the circumstances and the environment are improving, but not to the extent that the economy is creating jobs in a very significant way yet,” she said.

    Of the 4.7-million people who looked for work in the third quarter, 3.1-million had been seeking employment for a year or longer — an indication of the extent of the scarcity of jobs.

    The data showed that 61% of work seekers did not have matric and 44.5% of them had never worked before . Private households laid off 29,000 employees in the third quarter, and mining jobs declined by 8,000, Stats SA said.

    The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, increased to 36.3% from 36.2% previously.

    Ms Masiteng warned against interpreting the decline in mining sector jobs as a result of the recent wave of illegal strikes.

    “At the moment we do not have facts that we can use to attribute the numbers that we see to the strikes in the mining sector.”

    Absa Capital economist Ilke van Zyl said she expected unemployment to increase in the fourth quarter as the mining sector layoffs “come through in earnest”.

    “We then expect some employment growth in 2013, which should bring the unemployment rate down slightly,” she said.

    The 198,000 jobs added in the quarter were mainly driven by the informal and formal sectors. The finance and other business services sector added 74,000 jobs.

    Manufacturing and transport sectors also added jobs in the third quarter, despite strike action in August and September.

    Business Unity South Africa special policy adviser Raymond Parsons said on Thursday that, while worrying, the increase in unemployment was not unexpected given the weakening domestic and international economic conditions.

    “It is a reminder that the single biggest challenge facing South Africa is still to create more jobs, especially for the youth,” he said. Unemployment among people aged 15-34 years is estimated at 36.1%.

    Pressure has been mounting on the government and business to address youth unemployment, but the wage subsidy proposed by the Treasury to encourage the employment of young people has been opposed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

    Prof Parsons said the private sector would escalate its job creation efforts once economic conditions improve .

    “As the economic climate improves and there is greater certainty in the policy environment, so the private sector will be able to respond more fully in terms of investment and job creation,” he said.

    December is traditionally a good month for manufacturers and retailers, but many of the jobs they add may be temporary.
    _________________________

    http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71654?oid=337145&sn=Detail&pid=71616

    Unemployment on rise again – COSATU
    Patrick Craven
    01 November 2012

    Federation says official unemployment rate now at 25,5%, more realistic expanded rate at 36.3%

    COSATU’s concern at jobless figures

    The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply concerned that unemployment is on the rise yet again, after a brief but small drop earlier in the year.

    The StatsSA Quarterly Labour Force Survey revealed today that in the third quarter of 2012, the official unemployment rate rose to 25.5% of the labour force, up from 24.9% in the second quarter. That means at least one quarter of the working population is not working!

    The more realistic expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, increased to 36.3% from 36.2% in the same period.

    The total number of people without work is 4.67 million – the highest total since records started in 2008, up from 4.47 million in the second quarter.

    This grim news makers it even more urgent to start rolling out the government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan, the job-creating sections of the New Growth Path and the Infrastructure Development Programme with much greater urgency, if we are to come anywhere near the government target of creating five million new jobs by 2020.

    Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan highlighted the depth of the problem last week in his MTBS, when he frankly admitted that the economy needs sustained growth of 7% a year – nearly three times the 2.5% forecast for 2012 – to make even a dent in unemployment, yet alone meet the ANC’s ambitious target.

    As the COSATU 11th National Congress declared in September 2012:

    “While we have made important advances in the areas of democracy, human rights and social benefits, for which we give full credit to the efforts of our Alliance, and the ANC government, socio-economically, workers’ lives have not been transformed. As a result of the structural fault-lines of the economy we inherited from colonialism and apartheid, the disastrous neoliberal policies of the 1996 class project, and the worldwide crisis of capitalism, working people face mass unemployment, widespread poverty and widening inequality.”

    The African National Congress has rightly made job creation a top priority in its programme for a Second Phase of the Transition, and this will surely be confirmed at the Conference in Mangaung in December. The task then will be to turn words into deeds without any delay.

    Statement issued by Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson, November 1 2012

  40. Sel Cool says :

    South Africa After Marikana

    — Suzi Weissman interviews Leonard Gentle

    This interview was conducted by Suzi Weissman for her radio program “Beneath the Surface” on KPFK, in Los Angeles on September 29, 2012. It was transcribed by Martin J. Kessler and slightly abridged for publication here.

    Suzi Weissman: Welcome to Beneath the Surface. I’m very pleased to have Leonard Gentle with us today. We see a situation of a generalized strike wave that is front page news in the financial press, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the business pages of other newspapers; it’s quite extraordinary.

    Leonard Gentle has been a political activist since the 1970s and a trade union organizer in the 1990s. He is director of the International Labor Research and Information Group, which is an NGO doing popular education with trade unions and social movements throughout southern Africa. His article, “The Massacre of Our Illusions…and the Seeds of Something New,” about the Marikana miners’ massacre, was widely circulated [at http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/686.php among other sites — ed.] Leonard, what illusions were they and how they were massacred?

    Leonard Gentle: For those of us, the majority of the people in the country, who went through and were participants in the whole phase of struggling to win democracy in South Africa, the biggest organization that people looked to and were part of in winning that struggle was the African National Congress. So, around the ANC was a kind of moral authority; it represented for many people, for most people, the best of our sense of democracy, of a new kind of society that would get rid of the violence and the oppression and the inequality and the racism of apartheid.

    That was achieved in 1994, and 18 years later we’ve begun to see the slow erosion of that optimism as the ANC government began to adopt all the neoliberal policies that so many other governments in the world have adopted, and turn against all the sense of reducing inequality, of promoting people’s wealth and health and better quality of living standards.

    This was a slow process of erosion and disillusionment, but Marikana represented a shattering of any residual feeling that this kind of moral authority continued to exist.

    And because it’s a democratically-elected government, a government that emerged from a liberation movement, unleashing police against striking mine workers, it takes us all back to the old apartheid days of violence by a repressive government against the people. And that’s why it’s called “The Massacre of our Illusions.”

    SW: Because this time it came from your own government?

    LG: This is our own government.

    SW: The strike wave that began at the Mari­kana Platinum Mine, owned by Lonmin, ended with a massacre of what, at least 34 people? What happened there? How can it be that the South African government which is no longer an apartheid regime was treating workers as if it still was apartheid.

    LG: Thirty-four people were killed by the police. Marikana is a small settlement, a kind of shanty town close to the mine, owned by Lonmin. Lonmin is an old company that used to be called Lonrho. It’s had a new ownership for a number of years, and it’s in a part of the country called the North West, which is home to some of the richest platinum mines in the world. In fact, South Africa’s got about 80% of all the platinum reserves in the world. Some of the wealthiest mines in the world are in that area, but they are also home to some of the worst shanty towns.

    What happened is that workers at the mine came out on strike. These particular workers are the underground workers, or the rock-drill workers. South Africa’s also got the deepest mines in the world. Some of the platinum mines are not that deep but the gold mines are somewhere up to four kilometers deep. We’re talking a depth that is hard to imagine human beings going down to those depths and drilling into rock to unearth gold and platinum that make so much of other people’s wealth possible.

    In South Africa since 1994, people have the right to strike but they have to follow “due process.” If they don’t it’s called an unprotected strike. It’s a wildcat strike, in other words.

    SW: So this is not about whether or it’s sanctioned by the unions, it’s just something that’s outside the protection of labor law?

    LG: Yes. In terms of labor law it’s a complicated process — you have to give 50 days’ notice, you have to have a certificate issued by a mediation authority — it’s a long bureaucratic process.

    SW: We’re seeing in the headlines things like “No Excuse for Illegal Strikes,” and so maybe that process wasn’t immediately clear to people outside South Africa.

    LG: Even if it were a union that sanctioned the strike, it would still be unprotected if it didn’t follow the processes that the union has to negotiate with an employer. If the negotiations break down there’s a mediation authority called the CCMA which issues a certificate, and then the union has 50 days of balloting and checking its members, whether they agree to go on strike, and then it’s got 48 hours in which it has to serve notice on the employer that it’s going to strike. Then it’s called a protected strike.

    Actually, the media got it all wrong when they referred to an “illegal strike,” because strikes are not illegal. They’re not criminal activities. Even our own media misappropriated the word “illegal” to suggest that strikers were doing something that’s criminal.

    We fought many years in the struggle for democracy to decriminalize strikes, meaning they’re unprotected if you don’t follow due process, so your employer can dismiss you, but you can’t have the police put you in jail for going on strike if it’s a wildcat strike.

    I just wanted to clear that up. But in this instance, the mine workers came out on an unprotected strike because the major union in the industry, the National Union of Mine Workers (NUM), has the recognition agreement with the employers in the mining sector as a whole. It is under the rubric of the Chamber of Mines, as well as being in the platinum sector.

    They had a two-year period in which a labor agreement existed. The workers felt that the union was no longer representing them, that the agreement meant that, in particular, the rock-drill workers were not getting any increases during that period. Lonmin, in the interim, had offered bonuses to the more skilled workers, the technicians who don’t go underground.

    This was perceived as discriminating against the underground rock-drill workers. They were peeved at the union signing a two-year agreement that they weren’t part of. They didn’t qualify for these bonuses, and so they came out on strike. It was an unprotected strike, because it wasn’t authorized by the union and didn’t follow due process.

    In the early days of the strike, a policeman and a shop steward of NUM were killed. On the 16th of August, a police battalion came toward the workers who were congregating on a hill just outside the mine. The police shot at random amongst the striking workers and chased them. There is now evidence emerging of systematic killings — workers who had hidden behind rocks were cornered and shot.

    The journalists who interviewed eyewitnesses indicate a level of revenge on the part of the police, ostensibly because one of the police had been killed earlier.

    Jacob Zuma, the president of the country, appointed a commission of inquiry to try and find out who is responsible and how the massacre happened. There’s much public anger because nobody’s taking responsibility for the 34 people killed.

    No minister of police, no commissioner of police has been sanctioned in any way. The commission is only due to report sometime in January. And emotions are boiling over. An industrial dispute was turned into an act of savaging, with people being mowed down.

    SW: And it got such international attention, too.

    LG: It got huge international attention. Its significance, and it’s important to capture this, is that this is post-liberation. South African black people have a long history of state violence perpetrated against them.People have had a familiarity of over the hundred-plus years of being killed, either in any kind of dispute or in the implementation of apartheid. But this is in the period where we have a democracy and an elected government….

    SW: But even though there was the massacre, strikers did secure a 22% wage increase. This has emboldened many more to go into struggle against their employers. How is the labor upsurge spreading? What does it to the tenuous relationship between the trade union federation COSATU and the miners’ union and the workers’ movement in general? If COSATU wants to survive with any legitimacy it clearly needs to embrace these workers, and yet it’s also got a relationship with the government.

    LG: I mentioned earlier the sense of the liberation movement now, as the governing party in a sense being responsible politically for the police killing striking mine workers. But the liberation period was also a period of an alliance between the African National Congress and the major trade union federation COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

    Since 1994 when we achieved democracy, the ruling party was gradually being seen in the popular domain, and certainly amongst ordinary poor and working-class people, as having shifted away from its liberation ethos and embracing very conservative, neoliberal economic policies.

    But the trade union federation, COSATU, still had a kind of moral authority because it positioned itself in the public domain to the left of the ANC, as a sort of critic of the ANC’s betrayals of its liberation promises.

    At the same time, however, even though COSATU often came out publicly criticizing policies of privatization and deregulation, COSATU is also in a political alliance with the ruling party. It’s called the tripartite alliance [ANC, COSATU and the South African Communist Party — ed.] Over the years COSATU has had this almost Janus-faced relationship — on the one hand, it would quite be robust in its public criticism, but on the other, at election times it would call on its membership to support the ruling party.

    This Marikana event is now an enormous challenge to COSATU. The National Union of Mine Workers is its biggest affiliate. COSATU probably has something like 2.2 million members and close to a half a million of those are members of the National Union of Mine Workers.

    The fact that workers were rebelling not only against their employers but also rejecting their union as not representing them means there is a crack in confidence over COSATU representing its membership and the broader working class in South Africa.

    SW: Can talk briefly about the strike wave that’s developed? What you think is going to happen next?

    LG: I think the genie’s not going to be put back into the bottle very easily. The killings, and also the victory won by the Lonmin workers in getting a 22% raise, have now inspired many other workers in the mining sector, and also workers beyond that sector. We also have a truck drivers’ strike at the moment.

    All of these strike actions are actually using the terms of demands of the Lonmin workers, calling for a 22% wage increase that employers consider “impossible.”

    This strike wave is beginning to affect the whole country. Because it’s largely occurring outside the formal industrial relations sphere, on the one hand it’s inspiring, it’s unleashing this enormous energy. Many of us feel that this could be the basis of a new pro-democracy movement in the country. But on the other hand I think it has to face the challenge of further state repression.

    Public opinion is being galvanized against the workers as being irresponsible and chasing away investors. All of this is an enormous challenge to COSATU, because either COSATU embraces this new wave of workers as something positive, or it may well become irrelevant. We may see a new labor movement emerging, one that takes us beyond where COSATU has managed to bring us up to this point.

    November/December 2012, ATC 161

    Source URL: http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/3722
    —————————-

  41. Sel Cool says :

    We expose how the ANC and Cosatu leaders works with the farm bosses in slavery in De Doorns

    The farm crops in De Doorns are among the highest quality in the world, exported to the fussy markets in Europe. Farmers are paid in Euros while farm workers’ wages are R62- R75 per day.

    For those farmworkers unlucky enough to still live on the farms, they pay rent of R50 per week. As soon as any child reaches the age of 18 and still lives on the farm, they also have to pay an additional rent of R50 per week. Doctor’s charge consultation fees of R200. If workers are booked off sick for 3 days, bosses sometimes refuse to pay the full sick leave. In these areas a loaf of bread costs a minimum of R8, often more. A litre of milk costs R12 or more. The farm bosses have connections with the municipality, expelling workers from their farms into RDP houses in the locations, often ahead of those living in the townships who have been on the waiting lists for a much longer time. When farmworkers retire, often after 20-30 years service, they have no pension, they have to survive on the measly govt pension. Workers typically work from 7am to 6 pm , sometimes starting from 6am to 6pm. During the peak season workers may even work up until midnight. Workers often do not get any bonus. Leave has to be taken only after the season has ended. The season lasts from January to May, but workers can be taken on from November already. Workers have UIF deducted of R20 for a wage of R1000 fortnightly (ie double the legal rate, and seemingly the employer contribution is deducted from workers wages). When new owners take over farms, workers wages are reduced, even if the business was sold as a going concern. Workers complain that they are often transported in open lorries in the heat, rain and cold- they are exposed to the elements and often get sick because of this. To add insult to injury, workers have to pay for their own shears and overalls (we saw payslips to this effect).

    Workers report daily intimidation by farm owners. Threats of dismissal or higher deduction for housing are all used to browbeat workers into silence. The farmer Louis, owner of Elim, who shot at workers (some are hospitalised in Worcester), was not even locked up, he was released on bail within 1 hour of being taken in for questioning. One worker was shot by the police, losing an eye, also hospitalised at Eben Donges hospital, Worcester. If a worker had lifted a hand to any farm owner, he would have been locked up and the key thrown away, most likely also being assaulted by the police. The farmworkers are angry about that and draw the lesson- the police are with the farm bosses, not with them.

    Soon after the Marikana uprising, workers went on strike at one of the farms in De Doorns and within days achieved a R127 per day wage. The rest of the workers on other farms took note of this, and having suffered abuse from the farm bosses and the state for many years, came out on strike.

    Workers have tax deducted (we saw the payslip of a worker earning R2500 per month (a supervisor) who was taxed R59.02, even though his rate was way below the tax threshold. When workers have gone to SARS to complain, they are told that they are not registered, but SARS never takes action against the farm bosses for the illegal deductions.

    There is much greater concentration of ownership of the farms since 1994, then there were 50 000 commercial farmers, today this number stands at 25 000. In De Doorns, workers report that farmers own from 5- to 17 or more farms each. They are multi-millionaires.

    The ANC and Cosatu leaders collaborate with the farm bosses

    While the DA’s alliance with the farm bosses is well known, the alliance of the ANC and Cosatu leaders with them, is not. Wards 2- 5 in De Doorns are controlled by the ANC. This means that the corruption of providing RDP houses to allow a faster rate of eviction of workers from the farms, was done with the blessing of the ANC. Furthermore, Ward 5 councillor, ANC member, Nelie Barends, is a community leader, has his own trade union, ‘BAWSA’ and is also a labour broker for the farmers in De Doorns. ANC Councillor Nelie provided a bakkie to carry scab labour, under police escort, to some of the farms during the first week of the strike. The labour broker pays workers from R63- R70 per week. Labour broker workers are paid with unmarked envelope, and do not even get a payslip. Nelie was apparently encouraging farmworkers to go to work on Monday 12th Nov.

    Ex-Cosatu leader, Membatisi Mdladlane, then Labour Minister, signed into law the Sectoral Determination for farmworkers, which entrenches labour brokers on the farms. The low wage levels have been set by the ANC govt, continuing old slaves wages. Not only that, but the averaging of hours mean that workers are forced to work a 10-11 hour day, or longer, without being paid any overtime (overtime should be paid after 9 hours work a day). During the season, January to May, workers work extra hours and after the season, they are sent home (not dismissed, they are given ‘time off’ and so the average is that, overall, they work less than the 9 hours per day). Thus workers lie in their shacks from June to October, starving, without a cent, no assistance from the farm boss, unable even to claim UIF). This is worse than slavery because, under slavery the slave owner was at least obliged to provide a meal and a roof and clothing for his slave.

    The YCL Leader, Manamela, came to De Doorns, claiming he came to listen to their demands, claiming to support the strike. Yet he remains silent on the role of the ANC in collaborating in the slavery conditions on the farms and in playing the role of human traffickers for the millionaire bosses. Rank and file members of the SACP should challenge the YCL and SACP leadership about the pro-capitalist role of the ANC. Is this black empowerment? What stage of the transition is this? Please explain. Demand answers. If you are serious about workers’ rights, break with the SACP.

    A proposed way forward

    1. Form workers’ committees on each farm, whether local or immigrant; let the strike be led in all its forms by these committees; link up with the mine workers committees and community committees;
    2. Away with labour brokers on the farms- equal pay for equal work;
    3. R12 500 monthly wage for all farm workers;
    4. Nationalise the land; Expropriate all commercial farms and major food retailers, without compensation to the capitalists, under workers’ control. This is the way to rational pricing so everyone can eat.

    11.11.2012 Workers International Vanguard Party ph 0822020617

    workersinternational@gmail.com ph 021 4476777, http://www.workersinternational.org.za

  42. Sel Cool says :

    Unions collude in repression as South Africa’s strike wave ebbs
    By Chris Marsden
    5 November 2012
    The South African Police Service is waging a brutal campaign of intimidation facilitated by the suffocation of strikes in the mining sector by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
    The police and COSATU are working in tandem as agents of the mining companies and the African National Congress (ANC)-led government. Most of the 80,000-100,000 miners involved in strike action in recent weeks have been driven back to work by threats of mass sackings and a sellout organised by COSATU and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Those defying the drive back to work have faced sackings, beatings, arrests and murder.
    On Tuesday, at least 2,000 miners at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), who are continuing a strike that previously involved 12,000, were fired on with rubber bullets and teargas by police. The police arrested 13 strikers. The numbers involved in the strike are difficult to judge, especially given that Amplats said on Thursday it did not yet have sufficient staff to resume operations.
    On Wednesday, mine security guards working for Canadian-owned Forbes Coal shot and killed two striking coal miners in KwaZulu-Natal, asserting that this was in response to an attempt to storm the mine’s armoury. But even official police accounts note that the miners had been chased into a nearby shantytown before being fired on by the guards.
    A mine belonging to Gold Fields remains shut after 8,500 workers were fired for striking. Xstrata has also sacked 400 workers involved in a strike that halted production at its Kroondal chrome mine, the bulk of the pit’s 619 workers.
    A sit-in by 300 workers over bonus payments at AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng and TauTona mines, west of Johannesburg, was abandoned after negotiations.
    In a highly incendiary move, Lonmin has given unions notice of a major programme of job cuts next year, with a spokesman stating, “We haven’t decided how many employees will be impacted.”
    The platinum mining company owns Marikana, where the police killed 34 miners and injured dozens more on August 16 during a bitter six-week strike. It has been the scene of vicious police repression in the strike’s aftermath, against the background of the official Farlam Commission into the killings.
    In the aftermath of the massacre, 270 striking miners were initially charged with the murder of their colleagues by police using apartheid-era “common purpose” legislation. They had been tortured and beaten by police, and asked to identify the strike’s leaders.
    Public outcry forced the withdrawal of the charges, but arrests continue on grounds just as spurious. Of nine recent arrests, the bulk involves leaders of the unofficial strike committee formed against the NUM’s collusion with management and murderous attacks on its own members that reportedly left two dead. The arrests have again targeted those giving evidence before the Farlam inquiry, which has become something of an identity parade for the police to choose their next victim.
    The miners’ representative, Advocate Dali Mpofu, told the Marikana Commission of Inquiry that six men arrested by the police in the last weeks were tortured while in custody. Four of the men—Zamikhaya Ndude, Sithembele Sohadi, Loyiso Mtsheketshe and Anele Xole—were arrested by scores of armed police while leaving the inquiry and travelling back home (see “Strike leaders arrested following testimony before Marikana massacre inquiry”).
    “One person said he was beaten up until he soiled himself. Another lost the hearing in his right ear, and another had visible scarring, “Mpofu said.
    Xolani Nzuza has been charged, without any evidence whatsoever, with the murder of Daluvuyo Bongo, the local secretary of the NUM.
    Mpofu denounced what he called a “reign of terror amongst potential witnesses”.
    Despite an order for their release from custody “without delay” by a magistrate last Friday, the four were immediately rearrested on the instructions of either the national director of public prosecutions or the provincial director.
    Mpofu said, “I cannot now, with a straight face, say to other people in Nkaneng or the surrounding areas: ‘Oh don’t worry, I’ve organised a combie for you. You can come to the commission next week.’ Because they’ll say: ‘Are you out of your mind? Must I go there and make myself cannon fodder for arrest like so-and-so and so-and-so?’ ”
    Again without evidence, Zenzile Nyenye and Siyakhele Kwazile have also been charged with Bongo’s murder.
    David Bruce of the Daily Maverick interviewed “Bhele” Tholakele Dlunga, a leader of the strike committee, about his treatment by police when he was arrested at 5:30 a.m. on October 25 by five plainclothes officers. They used a black plastic bag to suffocate him while they beat him, before charging him with possession of an unlicensed firearm they had only just found. He was held for six days and repeatedly tortured while being asked the whereabouts of others involved in the Marikana strike.
    Zonke, arrested the same day, had been beaten and suffocated to the point where he lost control of his bowels. All charges have been dropped against him, but the 26-year-old was described by Bruce as “a husk of the energetic, bright young man of two weeks before.”
    The cover-up at the Farlam Commission could hardly be more naked.
    The police claim that the only police film of August 16 is that of Lt.-Col. Cornelius Botha, 41 minutes of footage taken from a helicopter showing nothing of significance. It shows police vehicles and people running in single file, apparently taken after the massacre had taken place.
    It was only after repeated questioning that Botha “remembered” that “Two stun grenades were shot from the chopper I was in”, contradicting his assertion that he had arrived too late to see what had happened.
    Asked how many helicopters were in the air, he said there were four.
    In a related development, last week saw the arrest for murder of Angy Peter, an activist who has spent years exposing police abuses in Khayelitsha township outside Cape Town and who was to be a key witness before a commission looking into such abuses. She recently saved the petty thief and police informer she is accused of murdering, Rowan du Preez, from an angry mob.
    At the moment, the miners have been led into an impasse. The breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has no perspective on which to challenge the conspiracy between the NUM, COSATU, the police, the employers and the ANC. For its part, the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International and playing a significant role in the strike committees, is urging workers to reclaim “COSATU’s class and political independence”, secure its departure from the tripartite government and establish “a single trade union centre with a socialist programme.”
    It has even urged a “joint trade union and strike committee-led investigation into the Marikana massacre.”
    Nothing could be more dangerous than to spread such illusions. Not only did the NUM and COSATU support the police massacre at Marikana, but it was they who called for it to be carried out. The class interests represented by COSATU are those of the bourgeoisie, not in an indirect sense, but because they are capitalists themselves and share in the exploitation of the working class through innumerable Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) schemes.
    Former NUM leader Cyril Ramaphosa is President Jacob Zuma’s running mate in his re-election campaign and is backed by his former union. A series of e-mails released to the Farlam inquiry prove that he played a key role in organising the massacre (see “South Africa’s unions use mass sackings and murder to suppress miners”).
    Ramaphosa, who is worth 3 billion rand (US$365 million), owns a 9 percent share in Marikana, but even that is far from the whole picture. A report by Arthur McKay in the October 28 edition of Zimbabwe’s The Standard alleges that Ramaphosa pockets 100 rand out of the monthly 500 rand wage of every contract worker employed by Lonmin—worth about US$18 million a year.
    He was paid US$304 million in cash by the company in 2010 “in a deal backed ultimately by Xstrata”, McKay writes.
    Ramaphosa bought a 50.03 percent stake of Lonmin’s BEE partner, Incwala Resources, in 2010, but Lonmin put up the US$304 million he needed to do so―realised through a share issue in which Xstrata was the key subscriber. A further US$51 million in credit has been extended to Ramaphosa since then and he is paid US$50 million to provide Lonmin’s welfare and training services―a total of US$400 million since 2010.
    Zuma and the ANC believe that the support of the COSATU union bureaucracy and their other coalition partners, the South African Communist Party, means they can still sit firmly in the saddle. Zuma’s public comments on Marikana have been dismissive and arrogant.
    He described Marikana to journalists last week as “a mishap”. Speaking to the official opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament, Zuma said people should not be pushed by Marikana into thinking that South Africa was returning to an apartheid-like system. He said the Farlam Commission was in the process of discovering the truth about what happened at Marikana. Unlike the “huge cover-up during apartheid times…one incident cannot mean our system is a system that is killing people”, Zuma said.
    He continued with a demand that “violence and intimidation must come to an end in those areas where strikes are still continuing,” referring to the miners and not the police and denouncing a resort to “chaos and anarchy”.
    In reality, Zuma is sitting on a political and social powder keg. A rise in unemployment to over 25.5 percent was coupled with the release of South Africa’s census figures last week showing that black households still earn six times less than white households, 18 years after the end of apartheid. This significantly underestimates the income gap, given that black households are much larger than white. Estimates are that one miner’s wage sustains 10 people in an extended family. The rate of youth unemployment is 33.7 percent for those aged 25-29 and 27.4 percent for those aged 30-34. Mining accounts for 50 percent of foreign exchange earnings and was the second biggest contributor to job losses last quarter.
    Zuma used a meeting of religious groups urging post-apartheid “peace and reconciliation” as yet another occasion to denounce strikes and protests against poverty, declaring, “When workers are on strike, they are very angry, they burn things, they destroy properties. When communities are protesting they actually destroy what they are protesting about that should be delivered to them. That’s an anger that’s abnormal.”
    He is currently embroiled in a scandal over his spending US$28 million of public funds upgrading his rural homestead in KwaZulu-Natal province, one of four residences he owns. Improvements reportedly include a helipad, fencing, bulletproof glass, two AstroTurf soccer fields and elevators serving underground bunkers and the main house. Tens of millions more have been spent on roads in the area.
    Addressing a rally on Friday organised by the South African Unemployed Workers Union, he demanded that people stop calling the ANC corrupt. “People are saying this but it is untrue,” he said.

    Copyright © 1998-2012 World Socialist Web Site – All rights reserved
    ——————–

    Strike leaders arrested following testimony before Marikana massacre inquiry
    By Chris Marsden
    26 October 2012
    Four miners who testified Tuesday before the Farlam Commission into the Marikana massacre were immediately arrested by police. They are to be charged with murder.
    Lawyers acting for the families of 21 of the 36 miners killed at Marikana on August 16 have called for their immediate release.
    The four, all strike leaders, were returning home after giving evidence to the official inquiry, being held in Rustenberg, into the massacre of workers striking the Lonmin mine. They were travelling in a taxi carrying 14 people.
    The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) has insisted on their immediate release. According to its attorney Teboho Mosikili, the four—Zamikhaya Ndude, Sithembele Sohadi, Loyiso Mtsheketshe and Anele Kola—were arrested after being pointed out “apparently by, or on the information of, a police officer that had attended the commission’s hearing. Hoods were placed over their heads and they were told not to speak, or they would be shot.”
    “It appears, prima facie, that the arrested persons were targeted because they were assisting us at the commission,” Mosikili said in a statement.
    Threatening to withdraw from proceedings if they are not released by October 29, when the commission reconvenes, the attorney added, “SERI can no longer, in good conscience, provide to the commission, or the parties to it, information relating to the identities of potential witnesses who may provide information and testimony adverse to the police.”
    Mosikili is part of a team led by advocate Dali Mpofu representing the relatives and the 275 miners arrested and those injured. Mpofu told the commission on Tuesday that five of his witnesses, two of them key witnesses, had been arrested.
    The Mail & Guardian was told by English lawyer James Nichol—a partner at the TV Edwards LLP law firm—that a letter has been sent to the England and Wales Law Society requesting it despatch observers to ensure proper legal procedures are followed.
    The letter says of the arrests that “there have been numerous occasions in which the police have used grossly excessive force against the residents of Marikana… In the last few days important witnesses, miners who are poor, live in corrugated shacks and are often unable to read or write, have been arrested and intimidated by SAPS,” the South African Police Service.
    The arrest of the four on Tuesday was the culmination of this campaign of intimidation. It involved “an estimated 30 to 40 police in an armour-plated vehicle, vans and other unmarked vehicles.”
    “The group were ordered out of the vehicle by police wielding pistols and rifles, forced to lie face down in the dirt, and pinned down with booted feet at their necks. The police slapped and beat members of the group, threatening to shoot them if they attempted to look up. One member of the group was warned ‘I will blow your head away!’” Nichols wrote.
    The four strike leaders were identified by police as “the ones that we are looking for.”
    The police response was bellicose and unapologetic. North West police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane claimed the four were arrested for the series of four “mysterious murders” of mineworkers in Marikana since the August 16 massacre. He said they were arrested during a routine vehicle control point search.
    He went on to say that “these criminals are the property of the state.”
    Dismissing any concern for the supposed integrity of the Farlam inquiry, he declared, “Lawyers would understand that a criminal is a criminal but they will have access to these criminals. The laws of the land allow it, the commission allows it, the commission has subpoena powers and the police will ensure that these witnesses appear before it.”

    Copyright © 1998-2012 World Socialist Web Site – All rights reserved

    ———————————

    Beyond the ANC: A new UDF or a mass workers’ party?

    Jane Duncan

    2012-11-05, Issue 605

    http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85243

    cc C M
    It seems likely that more South Africans who really care about the future of the country will move beyond the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and start the difficult, protracted affair of building political alternatives. Some already are.
    For decades, the ANC has represented the concretisation of significant transformation gains for many South Africans and because of this, mass support for the party has had a rational and objective basis. But this basis is being eroded.

    It is clear that the ANC does not have a way out of the morass that South Africa currently finds itself in. Its politics have led to it managing rather than transforming the capitalist system. The deeper social structure inherited from apartheid remains largely intact and as a result, the country is becoming increasingly unstable.

    So where to beyond the ANC? Already, there is growing evidence of a search for a new politics and new political forms and in this respect, two options that have been floated recently merit serious debate.

    The first involves the re-establishment of a ‘new UDF’, referring to the United Democratic Front (UDF) that was launched in 1983 and that was at the forefront of many of the struggles against apartheid in the 1980s. The second involves the establishment of a Mass Workers’ Party (MWP). Although both are new initiatives, both have their roots in older, established, political currents.

    The new UDF was re-launched in Cape Town in August. In its new incarnation, the Front claims that it does not aspire to become a new political party or provide an opposition to the ANC. Rather it aims to build networks of autonomous peoples’ power in the wake of the widespread failure of government to tackle society’s chronic problems. The new UDF also champions the Freedom Charter, whose ideals it feels have been betrayed by the dominant political tendencies.

    Initiatives that attempt to exercise power from below are important, as potentially they can build capacities for self-activity and self-organisation.

    But is a new UDF what South Africa needs to pull itself out of its downward spiral? Answering this question requires an analysis of the political strengths and weaknesses of the old UDF.

    The old UDF was enormously impactful in uniting a range of organisations against apartheid and ensured that its demands for a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa became the dominant ideas of post-apartheid society. During the height of repression, it kept the political traditions of the Congress Alliance alive. Many of its activists made great sacrifices in pursuit of these ideals.

    But the UDF was a multi-class popular front, uniting the broadest possible opposition to apartheid. In spite of its mass base being firmly rooted in the working class, in time it became dominated by middle class elements that steered the front into a reformist direction.

    Many former UDF activists have argued that the reason why the ANC made the compromises it did in the transition to democracy was because it demobilised the UDF, leaving it without the mass base to keep it on the ‘straight and narrow’. Rarely is South Africa’s compromise transition understood partly as a consequence of the UDF’s own political trajectory.

    The UDF’s approach to the national question was also highly problematic, relying as it did on the assumption inherited from the Freedom Charter that South Africa consisted of four ‘races’: black, white, coloured and Indian. This assumption took for granted that ‘races’ existed as valid biological entities and that as a result, there was nothing wrong with organising ‘racial groups’ separately.

    This meant that the UDF’s non-racialism was, in effect, multiracialism: a political approach that did nothing to counter ‘race thinking’ in society, including in its more progressive elements. If the main liberation current was unable to divest itself of the notion that races actually existed, then it is unsurprising that the society that it gave rise to in part is unable to transcend race as a dominant social identity, with all the attendant dangers for social stability.

    Then there was the authoritarian character of UDF, in spite of its mass democratic credentials and ideological pluralism. The UDF was extremely tolerant of different political currents, providing they were within the UDF. Influenced by the dogma of the Third Communist International (the Comintern), which was transmitted into South African politics by the South African Communist Party, the struggle had to pass through distinct stages to ensure that society was at the necessary level of development to achieve socialism.

    Activists who failed to recognise the UDF as the sole and authentic representative of the oppressed during this first stage, and who opposed Comintern orthodoxy, placed themselves at serious personal risk. Many were attacked and some necklaced.

    In this regard, the authoritarian turn in the country’s politics should be understood as a continuation of a distinct political tradition in Congress politics – rather than a deviation from it – as this less than savoury political tradition has placed an unmistakable imprint on the post-apartheid state.

    In weighing up the argument for a new UDF, there is a need for a more balanced assessment of the front’s political legacy, because a failure to learn the lessons of history may lead to this history being repeated, warts and all.

    Another alternative that has been proposed by organisations such as the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) is the establishment of a MWP. The DSM has signalled its intention to register such a party for the next elections.

    The MWP is an old idea in South African politics. In response to the Stalinisation of the workers movements globally, Trotskyite organisations argued for the establishment of workers’ parties. This led to the formation of a South African Workers’ Party in the 1930s, which was subsumed into the Non-European Unity Movement.

    The need for a MWP was raised again just before 1994 elections and then again in the early 2000s, but at those stages the conditions did not exist for the idea to take root. The DSM has raised the idea again in the context of the recent mineworkers’ strikes and massacre at Marikana, and this time the idea seems to be gathering momentum.

    While potentially being a purer expression of working class aspirations than more populist parties or movements, MWPs are not without their problems. After the collapse of communism, actually existing workers’ parties such as the Brazilian PT, which always had a strong middle class current, shifted to the right.

    Another problem is that the concept of a MWP dates from an earlier period in industrial history, when workers were the motor of revolutionary change. However, the workers’ movement has been weakened, partly because of the rise of mass, permanent unemployment. In South Africa, with its 40 percent unemployment rate (according to the expanded definition), it is doubtful whether a MWP that focuses on the labour movement only will succeed.

    Furthermore, struggles are not taking place at the point of production only, but at the point of consumption too. This reality raises a further challenge of organising not only workers, but those engaged in struggles at their places of residence, in schools, hospitals and other sites of ‘service delivery’. But on the upside, the global economic crisis has created the objective conditions for the building of a MWP, and this time the idea may actually catch hold.

    In the wake of Marikana, there is a political vacuum in progressive politics. This vacuum opens up opportunities for a fundamental rethink of South Africa’s political trajectory, and the new political forms needed to take the country forward. In this regard, no matter how grim the current period seems, it is also pregnant with great promise.

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    * Professor Jane Duncan is Highway Africa Chair of Media and Information Society, School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University.

    This article was first published by The South African Civil Society Information Service (www.sacsis.org.za).
    ————————————

    South Africa’s striking Amplats workers throw out latest offer

    by Ken Olende

    More than 30,000 striking miners at the Amplats platinum mine near Rustenberg in South Africa rejected the firm’s latest pay offer last Saturday.

    The firm had offered a one-off payment of 4,500 rand (£325) and an agreement to negotiate on wages next year. The workers are demanding a rise of 4,500 rand a month.

    Management said the offer would lapse if workers did not return to work on Monday morning. Previously it had sacked 12,000 of the striking miners.

    Strike leader Evans Ramokga said, “The strike continues. We are not happy with the conditions on the offer like the final warnings and threats of disciplinary actions for dismissed workers.”

    Between 10,000 and 12,000 workers attended a strike rally at the football stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday. Workers from other mines joined the Amplats strikers, including ones from Lonmin’s Marikana mine, where workers won a major increase when their strike fought on despite a police massacre.

    A representative from Numsa, the Cosatu-affiliated metal workers union spoke at the rally in support of the strike.

    This was significant. The Cosatu trade union federation has remained largely hostile to the recent unofficial strike wave across South Africa.

    Amplats striker Tumi Moloi will be speaking at the Unite the Resistance conference in central London this Saturday 17 November.

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=29975
    ——————————-

    PRESS STATEMENT: PROGRESSIVE YOUTH MOVEMENT MARCHES AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE IN KHAYELITSHA: 10 NOVEMBER 2012

    The Progressive Youth Movement (PYM) is marching to the Harare police station (Khayelitsha) to submit grievances about the behaviour of local police. The march will take place as follows:
    Date : Saturday, 10 November 2012
    Time : 10h00
    Where : from the mini-circle at SST section (Lansdowne Road, Town Two)
    to the Harare police station

    Since the PYM has been leading local community struggles for jobs and service delivery at the SST section many of our activists have faced sustained harassment by the local police. In August, a number of our members were unlawfully arrested. In October, many of our activists were tortured by the local Harare police. Our comrades have had been arrested for fighting against poor service delivery. Our comrades today are living in fear and some are hiding because the blue uniform want torture and arrested for fighting their rights. We are marching tomorrow to expose this unbecoming conduct of the police. We are marching to demand an end to police suppression of protest. Our struggle will not be stopped by this police intimidation.

    We are deceived by the leaders of different political parties and state officials that police are fighting crime to ensure our safety. We are told that the police make our lives to be in harmony. This deceit is echoed by those who want remain in power at expense of the working people, working class. But we are not told that the police must protect the interest of wealthy people, capitalists, profiteers; we are not told that the police are here to suppress the working people and toiling masses.

    The killing of Andries Tatane in April 2011 has proved that the police are not for the safety of working people and toiling masses, but against these poor, oppressed and exploited masses. The Marikana massacre has proved that capitalist country like ours: will always favor and protect the interests of propertied people, capitalist and profiteers, by deploying it state machine, the police crush the innocent toiling masses for demanding a wage increase only; for demanding better working conditions. It is nature of capitalist state like ours to use excessive force suppress working people and toiling masses in the name of ‘public order’.

    Even today people of Marikana, people of Khayelitsha, people of Umlazi, people of De Doorns and so forth, are living fear of intimidation, harassment, disappearing by the police, of whom they are supposed to ‘protect’ us from the crimes, and yet, they are the criminals themselves. The Marikana massacre has also taught us a lesson that under the capitalism even if the country claimed to be democratic like ours: the working people and toiling masses will be crushed if they dare to stand up against bosses and government. And it does not matter which political party rules.

    We the Progressive Youth Movement condemn the harassment by police. We condemn to be arrested for fighting for our rights. We say no to torture of our comrades. We demand real security in our communities’ not fake security that arrests our comrades. We demand real solutions and not part-political ploys such as the commission that was established by the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille.

    ENDS

    For more information contact:

    Zama Timbela: 0767316157
    Mabhelandile Twani: 0838861831
    ————–
    WHERE TO START NECESSARY TRANSFORMATION
    It can be argued today that trade unions are more necessary than ever; that the organisations that played major roles in improving the political and economic lot of people around the world, have a huge task ahead of them. Yet much of the labour movement internationally is in a state of flux or stagnation and, in South Africa, there are signs of considerable disarray.
    At the same time, gains of the past are being clawed back in some regions. Unions that helped to win the vote for the sellers of labour and so gain a modicum of democracy for the masses have sometimes seen even this gain eroded. But where strong unions exist or have existed, the wages and conditions of workers generally have improved, along with the overall standard of living.
    This is certainly the case in South Africa where unionised workers earn markedly more than their non-unionised counterparts and where their improved wages have improved incomes overall and have provided a marginal, if unofficial, social welfare safety net for unemployed dependents. But, without apparent irony, the spin doctors of capital claim that unionised workers are an elite, pricing the unemployed out of work; that they are, effectively, self destructive.
    This spurious argument is again reaching something of a crescendo following the wage gains in the wake of bloodletting at Marikana and the subsequent strike wave. It is the political barrow being pushed by the owners of capital and their managerial, advisory and political beneficiaries.
    But this is not the only narrowly focussed and sometimes cynically manipulative barrow that has crashed onto the post Marikana scene. And like the other barrow pushers, the mine owners will certainly seize, opportunistically, any chance to advance their interests.
    However, contrary to widespread belief within the labour movement, this is not to eliminate trade unions. The wish of most employers is to weaken strong union organisation and, if possible, to bring unions under a degree of control, either directly or through legislation.
    Only the most bigoted and constitutionally blinkered business people tend to support the elimination of trade unions. A return to the almost underground unionism of 40 years ago is the last thing business wants: “How do you negotiate with a voice phoning from a call box?” was the reported reaction in 1973 of one strike-bound factory owner.
    So the battle, from all sides, is about the type of union organisation that should exist and what role the unions should play. Along with business, the other barrow pushers
    range from the South African Communist Party (SACP) to various trade union and political leaders as well as groups professing different “socialist” orientations.
    They are all now involved in the post Marikana turmoil that has threatened the power of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and so weakened the influence of both Cosatu and the SACP. This, in turn, created the opportunity for other union and political groups to try to gain or increase influence and support among miners and the broader labour movement.
    However, this could also be an opportunity to reassess the nature and role of trade unions and their relationship to political parties and so perhaps help to revitalise the defensive ranks of the sellers of labour. But what now seems more likely is that current developments will be seized on opportunistically in the hope of furthering individual agendas.
    Until Marikana, Cosatu, through NUM, held unchallenged domination throughout most of the mining sector. And, because of its dominance at a bureaucratic level in Cosatu and NUM, the SACP was the only serious political influence.
    But there has been evident disgruntlement with NUM in recent years and Marikana should have been a major wake-up call to the union, the federation and the SACP. As Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi noted at a rally in Rustenburg on October 27: “We must be honest about our own weaknesses, and build on our strengths to address them.”
    Sound rhetoric, but so far, there is little evidence of any serious attempt to address weaknesses or to seize the opportunity to reassess the nature and role of trade unions and their relationship to political parties. Instead, the SACP has led a divisive attack on all who dare challenge its view that only it, NUM and Cosatu provide the true, revolutionary way forward. Any who do not support this view are “counter- revolutionary”, enemies of the working class.
    Yet the official Cosatu position is apparently for maximum unity in diversity. Vavi spelled this out in Rustenburg: “We need a united working class response…..We know that a piece-meal approach…..will be incapable of changing the system and its poverty wages and insecurity.” He went on to call for a “strong, united federation”.
    In principle, almost every union in the country and all four federations agree with Vavi’s call. They would also agree that it is necessary to “mobilise for the fundamental transformation of the mining industry at all levels”.
    However, only a few voices have been heard calling for a fundamental transformation of the trade union movement at all levels. Yet this is the source of much of the disgruntlement expressed by many NUM members in Maikana and elsewhere on the platinum belt. It also lies behind the “plague on all your houses” approach of many
    striking miners who turned their backs on existing unions and formed their own democratic forums and committees.
    A critical stage has now been reached as workers, including those at Amplats still on strike, contemplate the future. They want job security with decent work for decent pay for all while the owners and managers of mines, farms and factories demand both stability and profitability. Yet both are impossible in a world where technological innovation has made millions of workers redundant.
    This is the fundamental problem, acknowledged by a labour movement that demands the transformation of the mines and the system as a whole. But since the unions are part of the system, perhaps that is where transformation should start.

    Terry Bell
    ————

    South Africa: Latest ANC/police attack on militant miners condemned

    SACP’s Blade Nzimande leads COSATU members prior to clashes with striking Anglo Platinum miners. October 27, 2012, Rustenburg, North West. Photo by Greg Marinovich, Daily Maverick.
    Statement by the Democratic Left Front (South Africa)
    October 29, 2012 — The Democratic Left Front condemns the police for shooting workers in Rustenburg on October 27. Two workers who work at Amplats were hit by live ammunition, and one, hit in the chest, is in a critical condition in hospital. Eleven other mineworkers were injured by rubber bullets. The DLF also condemns Blade Nzimande, SACP general secretary and minister for higher education, for condoning this shooting by the police. This so-called “Communist” defends the shooting of workers in the interests of the capitalist bosses.
    The rally of the Tripartite Alliance of the African National Congress, South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions was called by COSATU leaders supposedly to “reclaim Rustenburg” from the mineworkers who have been on strike against mining bosses since September with a demand for at least a 12,500 rand living wage. While the workers are opposed to anyone speaking on their behalf, COSATU leaders aimed to try to reinstate the [pro-ANC] National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as the mineworkers’ union in the town. This was an extremely provocative action.
    It was well known to the COSATU leadership that the mineworkers had rejected the NUM because of its failure to represent their interests. Through its actions, including shooting workers in Marikana in August and identifying strike leaders to police, the NUM leadership has in fact revealed itself as a union that sides with the bosses against the workers and its own members. The rank and file members of NUM must rescue the union and lead it back to its fighting and anti-capitalist traditions. Otherwise it will be increasingly be seen amongst mineworkers and the broader working class as a bosses’ yellow union. Already at other mines COSATU general secretary Vavi had failed when addressing workers to get them to allow an NUM representative to speak.
    Contrary to Nzimande’s lying claims, the mineworkers did not try to disrupt the rally. Some 5000 Amplats workers got to the stadium before COSATU arrived because they wanted to hear Vavi speak, who most still regard as a leader with integrity. They expressed their anger at the government by burning some of the ANC and COSATU banners and posters. When the police asked them to leave the stadium, they complied and waited by an entrance. This was not an “occupation” as reported in the media. Some 600-1000 COSATU members then arrived in a march.
    As they entered the stadium through another entrance some broke away and attacked the thousands of mineworkers, who were waiting to return to the stadium to hear Vavi speak. The COSATU members ripped off T-shirts, which had the demand for a R12,500 living wage on them. In the course of this attack one DLF member had his T-shirt and trousers removed by NUM members and was arrested by police. Strikers went to aid those attacked.
    It was clear by this time that the attempt by COSATU to “reclaim Rustenburg” had failed dismally. At this point the police attacked the strikers with live ammunition, rubber bullets, birdshot, tear gas, stun grenades, horses and water cannon, but left the COSATU attackers unmolested. In the course of this 13 mineworkers were injured, one critically, hit by a live bullet.
    The ANC government and its police once again, as in Marikana on August 16, 2012, has defended the interests of the bosses by shooting workers. Unfortunately COSATU and SACP leaders echo the government. The Tripartite Alliance, as mineworkers say, are all “mealies of the same bag”. Workers say that they are done with the alliance, because “they are no longer singing the same song as us”.
    The actions of the police on October 27 go along with a police campaign of harassment of the Marikana community, including the intimidation and arrest of worker witnesses to the commission of enquiry into the events of August 16. All this indicates that another massacre like that in Marikana cannot be ruled out. Only the most massive popular mobilisation can prevent this.
    The DLF calls on all members of COSATU to unite with the striking mineworkers to condemn the provocation of the rally and the actions of the police. It is time also for all union members to win back their unions from a labour bureaucracy that stands in alliance with the bosses and the state. What is needed is unity against the bosses and the government to struggle for R12,500 minimum living wage, and against the mass dismissal of workers by the bosses, through the calling of a two or three-day general strike.
    @ http://links.org.au/node/3071

  43. Sel Cool says :

    Mambush Noki

    @ africamineworkersunite@gmail.com

    Mokonyane is not the lord of Gauteng.

    She must stop demolishing the houses.

    The ANC government is the new National party, in fact they are the new DA.

    As mineworkers we are with the masses who had their homes bulldozed.

    Jeff Radebe calls us illiterate but we know right from wrong.

    To the farm workers, we are with you- form committees, control the unions and control your struggle, don’t let Cosatu leaders dictate to you.

    Stay united.

    On Amplats, the workers are united- let no one try to divide us.

    To Namibian teachers, let the other sectors join, let no one try to intimidate you or the strike leaders- we are watching.

    The Swapo and ANC govt drink tea together but we are with you.

    Bramage Sekete

    interim spokesperson
    Mine Workers Committees

    ph 0710248768
    ——————–

    http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/labour/2012/11/13/farm-worker-strike-grows-in-western-cape

    Farm worker strike grows in Western Cape

    13.nov.2012 | Carol Paton
    Western Cape farm worker organisations to picket major routes in the Boland, West Coast and Overberg regions in solidarity with strikers in De Doorns

    FARM worker organisations from around the Western Cape say that workers will on Tuesday picket major routes in the Boland, West Coast and Overberg regions in solidarity with strikers in De Doorns.

    A coalition of several independent trade unions working on farms, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), affiliated Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and nongovernment organisations and lobby groups yesterday in Stellenbosch announced a campaign of “rolling mass action” in support of the demand to raise the minimum wage for farm workers to R150 a day from its present level of R70.

    This is the demand of the De Doorns strikers, who last Monday barricaded the N1 highway and have been on strike over wage demands ever since. The campaign begins with Tuesday’s one-day strike action.

    On Monday, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and organised agriculture held talks in Pretoria to discuss the principle of sectoral bargaining over agricultural wages and the raising of the minimum wage.

    Agricultural wages are set by sectoral determination, recommended by the Employment Conditions Commission and legislated by the labour minister. The outcome of the talks was not yet known Monday night.

    On Saturday, talks between unions, the government and labour resulted in an offer from the South African Table Grape Industry, which was affected by the De Doorns strike, to raise the minimum wage to R80. The offer was rejected by workers at report-back meetings on Monday, said Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich.

    While Cosatu, Fawu and a range of small independent trade unions are now trying to co-ordinate the labour activity on Western Cape farms, the strikes originated without the involvement of organised labour, led by workers themselves.

    While Western Cape premier Helen Zille has claimed the strikes are “politically motivated”, union representatives on Monday said they were following the lead that had been set by workers and they were convinced the strikes were completely “self-organised”.

    Mr Ehrenreich said the actions had strong echoes of Marikana in that trade unions had found themselves playing catch-up with workers. “We have circumstances where workers are going out on their own. They are unhappy with the minimum, they are taking action on their own because of their difficulties of making ends meet on slave wages,” he said.

    Trevor Christians of the Commercial Stevedoring Agricultural and Allied Workers Union said: “Workers have gone in front; this is a strike against low wages. Not just the DA’s low wages but also the low wages of the Department of Labour that legislated them.

    “Who can live on R70 a day? Who can even live on R150? The demand for R150 shows how desperate they are,” he said.

    Union activists said farm workers had been inspired by Marikana and by mineworkers who had been on strike for two months.

    “They are also making the point that agriculture is the wealth of the nation; like mining, it belongs to everyone. They are making the same plea as the mineworkers for a decent salary and a share of the profits ,” Mr Ehrenreich said.
    ——————-

    http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/labour/2012/11/13/amplats-mineworkers-intimidated-by-outsiders-says-union

    Amplats mineworkers ‘intimidated by outsiders’, says union

    13.nov.2012 | Monde Maoto
    National Union of Mineworkers says miners are being prevented from reporting for duty at Amplats’ mines in Rustenburg

    MINEWORKERS are being intimidated and prevented from reporting for duty at Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats) mines in Rustenburg by people who do not work at the mines, National Union of Mineworkers spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said on Monday.

    “The little-known fact about the strike is that non-employees could very well be involved,” he said.

    “The continuing intimidation at Amplats tells us the strike is no longer about wages…. It shows that those who are not employed at the mine are preventing mineworkers from returning to work,” he said.

    Amplats, the world’s largest platinum producer, has extended Monday’s deadline for workers to report for duty by another 48 hours, after 12,000 workers who embarked on an unprotected strike in August failed to report to work.

    With talks at a stalemate, the miner has moved the new deadline to Wednesday.

    Amplats has been losing about 3,600oz of platinum a day during the nine-week strike at Rustenburg Amandelbult and Union operations.

    Gaddafi Mdoda, a member of the strike committee, said he has not seen workers wanting to return to work being intimidated, but blamed the company for calling people back to work while there were still outstanding issues.

    “We have tried to hold a meeting this morning (Monday) with the comrades about there being no intimidation, and they responded positively,” Mr Mdoda said.

    Mr Mdoda said the striking workers were still rejecting the offer made by Amplats after the miner proposed a revised offer last week.

    The new offer consists of a one-off allowance of R4,500 to be paid to each qualifying employee, comprising a R2,000 loyalty or hardship allowance and a R2,500 safe start-up allowance which will be paid two weeks after the employees have returned to the mines and have re started actual work.

    Amplats management said it had been approached by Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in an effort to explore options to facilitate the return to work of employees.

    Cosatu would engage with the strike committee and recognised unions during the discussions, which would focus solely on exploring options to encourage employees to return to work, the company said.

    The discussions would include wage negotiations, it said.

    Should the discussions not be successful, Amplats would proceed with the dismissals and the company would also finalise the disciplinary hearings at the Union and Amandelbult operations, which could lead to additional dismissals, Amplats spokeswoman Mpumi Sithole said on Monday.

    “We appeal to our employees who are part of the illegal strike action to respect the dignity and human rights of their fellow colleagues,” Ms Sithole said.
    —————-

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