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South Africa

A million workers form new trade union federation in South Africa

 

 

May 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal via NUMSA— A new workers federation is being formed in South Africa that is intended to totally change the face of popular organising. Based on the principles of independence, concerted mass action and worker control, the new federation starts with a membership of 1.1 million workers drawn from 51 affiliates.

 

Austerity Gathers Pace in Volatile South Africa

 

South African students protest outside the parliament precinct before forcing their way through the gates of parliament on October 21, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

By Patrick Bond

 

April 6, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project -- A wedge is being quickly driven through Pretoria's political elite, splitting even those who worked closely in the murky 1980s Durban spy scene during the fight against apartheid. Amongst the victims are vast numbers of poor people beginning to bear the brunt of the diverse shakeouts in the ongoing confrontation now underway between the country's two most powerful 21st century politicians: President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki. That battle began in 2005, when Mbeki fired then-Deputy President Zuma following a corruption conviction against a long-time Zuma associate.

 

The revival of their duel comes at a very tense time in South Africa. Student, worker and community protests intensified last month after the December-January summer break. Repeated currency crashes left a 30 per cent decline in value over the past year, prompting the country's financiers and upper-middle class commentariat to universally applaud Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan for maintaining low-grade austerity. A ‘junk’ label by international credit rating agencies, one which appears imminent and will lead to faster capital flight, remains an economic threat to this faction.

 

South Africa: Condemn the murder of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mine

 

‪Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe‬

 

March 24, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe, chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee and a leading campaigner against the Australian-owned Xolobeni mineral sands mine in South Africa was shot dead in his home on March 22. Below we republish statements by the Amadiba Crisis Committee and one signed by 82 civil society organisations condemning the assassination of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe and asking for international support to ensure his murderers are brought to justice. There is also an online petition you can sign onto at the bottom.

 

Amadiba Crisis Committee 2016-03 22: Our chairman brutally murdered

 

We are shocked to tell the public that the chairman of Amadiba Crisis Committee, Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe from Mdatya village in Amadiba, was brutally assassinated tonight outside his house in Lurholweni township, Amadiba area, Mbizana.

 

Our beloved Bazooka made the ultimate sacrifice defending our ancestral land of Amadiba on the Wild Coast.

 

He was murdered at about 7.30 in the evening. The hitmen came in a white Polo with a rotating blue lamp on the roof. Two men knocked at the door saying they were the police. Mr Rhadebe was shot with 8 bullets in the head. He died defending his young son, who witnessed the murder. His son and his wife are now in hospital.

 

John S. Saul on South Africa's struggle for liberation: success and failure

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.

Foreign investment retreats from Africa: Gaming, naming and shaming ‘licit financial flows’

Vast public subsidies may be pumped through the new “Programme for Infrastructure Development for Africa”

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

By Patrick Bond, Durban

August 10, 2015 – a version was first published in TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Foreign direct investment (FDI) is always prefaced with the two words ‘much needed”, my colleague Sarah Bracking insisted last week at a Zimbabwe NGO conference. “Have you ever heard FDI referenced without those two words?” We all shook our heads.

South Africa: Resistance from below -- reclaiming the past, inventing the future?

For more on South Africa, click HERE. More by Dale McKinley. For more on NUMSA.


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)

BRICS bankers will undergird – not undermine – Western financial decadence

By Patrick Bond

July 10, 2015 -- originally published by teleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The main point of the summit of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa this week was host Vladimir Putin’s demonstration of economic autonomy, given how much Western sanctions and low oil prices keep biting Russia. In part this sense of autonomy comes from nominal progress made on finally launching the bloc’s two new financial institutions.

But can these new banks address the extraordinary challenges in world finance? For example, more than 60% of Greeks voting in last Sunday’s referendum opposed the neoliberal dictates of Brussels-Berlin-Washington, thus raising hopes across Southern Europe and among victims of “odious debt” everywhere.

Meanwhile, bubbly Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets were crashing by $3 trillion from peak levels in just 17 days, a world-historic meltdown, at a time Chinese housing prices were also down 20% over the prior year. Beijing’s emergency bail-out measures represent vast subsidies to financiers, just like those used in Washington, London, Brussels and Tokyo since 2007.

Desmond Tutu reminded: 'Stand with Venezuela's right, you choose the side of the oppressor'

By Lucas Koerner

June 16, 2015 -- Venezuelanalysis.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In an op-ed published in the Spanish daily El Pais, titled "Free the Prisoners of Conscience in Venezuela", the renowned South African Archbishop and anti-apartheid militant Desmond Tutu foresakes neutrality in order to unabashedly take the side of the oppressor, namely the United States and the Venezuelan right wing.

World soccer corruption, Africa’s ‘illicit financial flows’ and elite silences

Click for more on sport and capitalism, the soccer World Cup and articles by Patrick Bond

By Patrick Bond, Durban

June 3, 2015 -- originally published at TeleSUR English, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The last week has provided extraordinary examples of how corruption erodes the resources and morals of an entire continent – Africa – in part because villains in South Africa made alliances with wicked brothers in Switzerland, Latin America, the Caribbean and, especially, the United States. We now know more about offshore centres of both reactionary finance and corrupt-corporate soccer. It’s long overdue they are exposed to a spotlight, even if those pointing that light want to leave certain features in the shadows.

On May 21, Africa’s "illicit financial flows" (IFF) looting was partially dissected by Nelson Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, in his urgent-sounding report to the African Union, Track it! Stop it! Get it! Mbeki’s bottom line:

Sudáfrica: Para resistir la xenofobia es necesario abordar sus causas profundas

[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.

South Africa: SRCs of five more universities join academic boycott of Israel

South Africans campaign against apartheid Israel.

Click HERE for more on BDS

May 4, 2015 -- BDS South Africa, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- We gather here today as the Student Representative Council (SRC) presidents of five of South African universities, namely: University of South Africa, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Durban University of Technology, Mangasutho University of Technology and the University of the Western Cape. This day will go down in history as we announce the resolutions adopted by our University Student Representative Councils to join the academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

Today we follow the mandate provided in 2011 by the South African Union of Students (which represents all SRCs in the country) which urged "all SRCs, student groups and other youth structures to strategise and implement a boycott of Israel”. SAUS declared in August 2011 that “all South African campuses must be Apartheid-Israel free zones”.

'Don't moan, mobilise! Don't mourn, organise!' -- Zwelinzima Vavi's May Day message

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.

South Africa: Xenophobia or Afrophobia?

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.

The ticking time bomb of Swaziland

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.

South Africa: Slow-motion disintegration of COSATU likely to continue

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.

South Africa: United Front condemns COSATU's expulsion of Zwelinzima Vavi

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.

South Africa: NUMSA and the troubled ANC-led Alliance

[For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

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.

Mining, energy, climate, capitalism: Why don’t NGOs connect the dots?

Alternative Mining Indaba Feb 2015

Click for more by Patrick Bond.

March 14, 2015 -- Despite making powerful criticisms of multinational mining corporations, an NGO-organised conference in Cape Town ignored essential links with related struggles.

In southern Africa, the Zulu and Xhosa word Indaba is used for important gatherings or conferences. February’s Alternative Mining Indaba, challenging a pro-corporate conference held at the same time, was organised by the Economic Justice Network of the Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa, in assocation with  Norwegian Church Aid, Oxfam, Benchmarks Foundation, Diakonia and the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.

* * *

Intersectionality missing-in-action at Cape Town’s Alternative Mining Indaba

By Patrick Bond

South Africa: NUMSA's message to Australian workers

[For more on NUMSA, click HERE. For more on South Africa, click HERE.]

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.

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