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In South Africa, enter stage left: Jacob Zuma’s ‘Radical Economic Transformation’ alternative factoids
February 14, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — South Africa’s two main warring political blocs – the forces of Fiscal Patronage (‘Zuptas!’ in local parlance, referring to the immigrant Gupta family’s curious influence over the president’s family and government) versus the forces of Fiscal Prudence (‘Treasury neoliberals!’ to critics) – are still represented by two men who have begun to stumble on terrain potholed by what a Donald Trump aid terms ‘alternative facts.’
By Patrick Bond
December 9, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Standard&Poors (S&P) gave South Africa a fearful few hours of anticipation last Friday, just after dust from the political windstorm of the prior week settled. The agency downgraded the government’s securities that are denominated in the local currency (the rand) although refrained from the feared junk status on international securities. It was a moment for the ruling business and political party elites’ introspection, but in heaving a sigh of relief they are not looking far enough.
[Original in English here]
Por Patrick Bond
November 14, 2016 — Traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso — Esta semana quizás sea recordada como el punto de inflexión política de Sudáfrica más importante desde que en septiembre de 2008 su propio partido, el ANC, obligase a dimitir al presidente Thabo Mbeki. Su torturador principal era en aquella época Jacob Zuma, que - después de un breve período transitorio - ha gobernado el país de una manera cada vez menos convincente desde mayo de 2009.
By Patrick Bond
November 3, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This week could well be remembered as South Africa’s most important political inflection point since the September 2008 ousting of sitting President Thabo Mbeki by his own party, the African National Congress (ANC). His main tormenter then was Jacob Zuma, who – following a brief handover period – has ruled the country in an increasingly dubious manner since May 2009.
But several contradictions have exploded in Zuma’s face. Political opponents from across the spectrum, radical university students and his own party’s establishment smell the blood, as Zuma’s fabled patronage system is now in the spotlight, apparently in tatters.
Zuma just suffered two major legal defeats: a fumbled state attack on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan which was humiliatingly withdrawn by an incompetent prosecutor on Monday following a national outcry; and Wednesday’s release of the public protector’s State of Capture report on the Zuma family’s corrupt relationships, a report the president and two cabinet colleagues unsuccessfully attempt to quash.
For more on South Africa, click HERE.
By John S. Saul, Johannesburg
August 5, 2015 – University of Johannesburg, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It is true that I’m from Canada and only arrived in Africa, in Tanzania to be specific, in 1965 at the age of 27; nonetheless, it was in Africa that I grew up, at least politically. Not, initially, in South Africa but in Tanzania, where I taught for many years and in working with Mozambique’s FRELIMO in exile; in visiting the liberated areas of a new Mozambique in Tete Province in 1972; and, later, in teaching in a liberated Mozambique at the Universidade de Eduardo Mondlane.
By Dale McKinley
August 2015 -- At Issue e-zine, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Among the most studied and celebrated aspects of the anti-apartheid struggle during the 1980s in South Africa was the breadth and impact of community resistance. (Ballard et al 2006; Buhlungu 2010)
[English at http://links.org.au/node/4401.]
Por Patrick Bond, Durban
10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- En Sudáfrica los símbolos políticos están un día y desaparecen al siguiente, pero la opresiva política económica continua. En la superficie, somos testigos de una explosión de activismo anti-racista entre los sudafricanos más ilustrados – jovenes académicos negros que tratan de romper los restos de poder de un apartheid residual - pero al mismo tiempo, una implosión xenófoba está causando estragos en los estratos socioeconómicos inferiores.
A mediados de marzo, en la Universidad de Ciudad del Cabo (UCT), el estudiante de pregrado de ciencias políticas Chimani Maxwele arrojó un cubo de excrementos a la estatua de Cecil John Rhodes, el gran emprendedor colonial del sur de Africa, catalizando una rebelión contra las estructuras de poder dominadas por blancos en la UCT y otros lugares. Menos de tres semanas después, una revuelta de sudafricanos pobres urbanos en otras dos grandes ciudades del país - Durban y Johannesburgo – escogía como chivo expiatorio un sector igualmente pobre y oprimido: los inmigrantes, en su mayoría de otras partes de África.
May Day 2015 speech by Zwelinzima Vavi, Durban
May 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Today we march in concert with millions of workers all over the world to celebrate International Workers’ Day. We stand with workers in Greece, in Syria, in Bangladesh, in Argentina, in Zambia, in Canada and in every other country of the world to pronounce our determination to step up the struggle against exploitation and oppression. For while the global elite get richer and richer, the working class continues to be condemned to poverty.
In standing together against exploitation we also gather to celebrate our past victories. This includes the victory of the working class in South Africa in winning May 1 as a paid public holiday in 1994. This was not given to us on a plate. It was a struggle started in 1904, intensified in the 1980s, and finally won immediately after our first democratic election.
By Denja Yaqub, assistant secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress
April 20, 2015 -- Vanguard (Nigeria), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Until 1994, for over a century, South Africa was locked against the rest of Africa and indeed the country and her people were not easily accessible to the rest of the world as the white minority used its might to impose racial segregation, which denied the majority black of everything, including quality of life. The rest of the world rose in support of the black majority in popular agitation for the liberation of a country held in the worst and unusual form of domination in all spheres of life.
The "support" given by the rest of the world was not because it was South Africa. It was because a part of humanity with legitimate rights to their land had been deprived and decimated only because they have resources of global economic values and not just because of the colour of their skin. Everyone saw the anti-apartheid struggle as a liberation struggle, an integral part of the global struggle against oppression, all forms of oppression.
South Africa's ANC President Jacob Zuma gives Swaziland tyrant Mswati III the red-carpet treatment.
For more on Swaziland, click HERE.
By Terry Bell, Cape Town
April 19, 2015 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), campaigning groups and labour-supporting members of the European parliament this month launched protests about the continued harassment and jailing of trade unionists and democracy campaigners in Swaziland. ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow has noted that, in Swaziland, “Violations against the fundamental rights of workers have become systemic.”
But apart from a few verbal sallies from non-governmental groups, there has been silence from South Africa. And this should be deeply worrying to those who are concerned about deepening democracy on the continent and in ensuring that a wealthy, often corrupt — if not entirely melanin deficient — elite do not continue to dominate.
COSATU's highly respected national spokesperson, Patrick Craven, announced his resignation, after Vavi's expulsion noting: 'I could not defend the indefensible.' Several other senior COSATU figures are also discussing whether to take a similar step."
By Terry Bell, Cape Town
April 6, 2015 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The fact that COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has refused to accept his dismissal from the federation should have come as no surprise to readers of this blog. This column has pointed out for months now that the central executive committee (CEC) of COSATU has no constitutional authority to finally dismiss, suspend or expel any office bearer or affiliate; that only a national congress may do that.
COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has been expelled from the federation by its pro-ANC leadership.
Read more about recent developments in South Africa HERE.
March 31, 2015 -- United Front, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As expected, yesterday the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) decided to expel Zwelinzima Vavi from his position as its general secretary. The United Front (UF) regards this decision as the final nail in the regrettable terminal decline of what was once a mighty, principled, independent and militant federation of workers’ trade unions.
March 20, 2015 --The Bullet, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The expulsion of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in November 2014 was a watershed moment in the post-apartheid labour movement. The expulsion was a product of, and has deepened further, the crisis in the Alliance between the African National Congress (ANC), Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), as well as the internal crises of each of the three component parts of the Alliance.
NUMSA national treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo's address to the Australian Workers Union, Australia
March 3, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I greet you in the name of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA). I am here to give you an update since our general secretary, Irvin Jim, addressed your 2013 conference. I am happy to report that, despite the shrinking of South Africa's manufacturing sector, NUMSA has continued to grow.
In 2013 we reported to you a membership of 300,000. Today it stands at 360,000. We are the biggest union in the history of the African continent. Despite massive deindustrialisation in our country, during which hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have been destroyed, NUMSA's membership has grown by nearly 65% over the last six years. NUMSA is truly a dominant force.
The key development since Comrade Jim's address to you in 2013 was our Special National Congress at the end of 2013.
For more on South Africa, click HERE.
Group of eight COSATU unions statement
March 1, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- South Africa continues to be ravaged by the crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality and the black and African working class are its worst victims. Black working class women and youth are in a state of hopelessness, desperation and despondency. Increasing numbers of school leavers are swelling the accumulating pool of the unemployed.
We are fighting for a militant, independent trade union movement
The congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is in a state of paralysis and that has given our government an opportunity to pursue its neoliberal policy direction, as articulated in the National Development Plan. This was not going to be easier for the state if the federation remained the militant defender of the working class that it has been throughout its history.
The leaderships of the eight unions have consistently refused attempts to turn COSATU into a passive and non-campaigning federation. We have rejected all attempts to get COSATU becoming a conveyor belt and an apologist of neoliberal policies.
South Africans protest against fracking for coal seam gas.
By Patrick Bond
February 18, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After an explosive start to his State of the Nation Address, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma turned to nuclear, coal, fracking and offshore drilling projects – but what about the country’s free sunshine, wind and tides?
On February 13, in Cape Town’s parliament hall, South Africa’s newest and cheekiest political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), fought gamely but lost their two dozen seats for the evening. They were expelled during the State of the Nation speech when making what they termed a “point of order”: asking whether President Jacob Zuma would “pay back the money” (about $20 million) that the state illegitimately spent on upgrading his rural mansion. As police ushered them out with extreme force, seven were hospitalised, one with a broken jaw.
January 28-30, 2015 -- Real News Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this three-part interview, Irvin Jim, leader of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) -- the largest trade union in South Africa with 340,000 members that is calling for a return to the principles of the Freedom Charter -- describes his early life and radicalisation and explains why his union withdrew its support for the governing African National Congress (ANC).
Workers must build a united front to implement the Freedom Charter, which includes participating in electoral politics, and fight for socialism. The workers movement can't just be about marching, he says.
The full rough transcript continues below the videos.
January 11, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA), South Africa's largest trade union, has toured the United States to report on the fight for socialism in South Africa. He delivered this presentation on January 11, 2015, at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 offices in New York City.
This was video recorded by Ken Nash of WBAI Pacific Building Bridges radio show, a production of the Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org.