SA — still awaiting a workers’ party By Terry Bell

22 May 2019 — Terry Bell Writes

(Inside Labour column – first published in City Press, May 19)

One interesting result of South Africa’s May 8 national and provincial poll was the effective demolition of an enduring myth, beloved of many bosses and union-bashing free marketeers: that union bosses call the shots and members blindly follow. This is a claim trotted out at the time of almost every major strike.

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South Africa: What about the workers? By Terry Bell

8 May 2019 — Terry Bell Writes

While there has been much media debate about what “black middle-class” voters will do today, there has been nothing about where the votes of unionised workers may go as South Africa completes its sixth non-racial election. This is perhaps because it is widely assumed that, in terms of labour voting patterns, nothing much has changed in the 25 years since the transition from apartheid.

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Cyril Ramaphosa relaunches neo-liberalism By Prof. Patrick Bond

23 February 2018 — Pambazuka News

After Jacob Zuma’s firing, South Africa risks budget austerity and even renewed BRICS “poisoning”. 

Cyril Ramaphosa’s soft-coup firing of Jacob Zuma from the South African presidency on 14 February 2018, after nearly nine years in power and a bitter struggle to avoid resignation, has contradictory local and geopolitical implications. Amidst general applause at seeing Zuma’s rear end in the society, immediately concerns arise about the new president’s neo-liberal, pro-corporate tendencies, and indeed his legacy of financial corruption and class war against workers given the lack of closure on the 2012 Marikana Massacre.

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South Africa: COSATU: In the eye of the storm By Jay Naidoo

27 April 2014 — Daily Maverick

All these years later, I still sometimes go back to the intoxicating days of 1985. The workers of South Africa had a dream. They dreamt that one day we would walk out of the cold night of apartheid’s tyranny. They dreamt that the sun would shine down on the new democracy. We dreamt of a time when workers would never again be seen as commodities, but as valuable citizens of our rainbow nation. And yet, today we are our own worst enemies, our own worst nightmare.
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Video: New Working Class Leadership and the Prospects for Socialist Politics in South Africa

23 March 2013 — Leftstreamed

The dramatic upsurge of popular grass-roots protest in South Africa’s townships and rural areas in recent years has been well-termed as marking a virtual “rebellion of the poor” in that country. The working-class itself has also been assertive there, prompting the ANC-led state’s orchestration of an horrific massacre of dissident mine-workers at Marikana in 2012. Until recently, however, leading trade unions have themselves been cribbed and confined within the tri-partite governing coalition of the ANC, the South African Communist Party and COSATU, the country’s largest trade union central body. Now NUMSA – the country’s National Union of Metalworkers with over 340,000 members – has begun to break that mould, under the leadership of its General Secretary, Irvin Jim, a longstanding socialist militant in the union. At its Special National Congress in December it heralded a new socialist political direction for South Africa.

Toronto — 6 March 2014.

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Numsa's Big Fat United Front: social movements, mineworkers welcome – maybe even the EFF By Ranjeni Munusamy

3 March 2014 — Daily Maverick

So it has finally happened. The militant metalworkers union Numsa is now actively campaigning against the ANC government and has issued a call to South Africans to join its “United Front” – a mass movement for socialism and radical economic change. Numsa will soon be hosting provincial consultative conferences to bring together left-leaning organisations and social movements, and this will culminate in a national summit. Numsa will also ratchet up the pressure on the ANC government through a national strike on 19 March. If you read through Numsa’s demands and objectives and somehow hear the echo of Julius Malema’s voice, you are not alone. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY. Continue reading

Mandela Eulogies: Reinventing His Disturbing Legacy By Stephen Lendman

15 February 2014

Mainstream praise is unanimous. It ignores reality. It got short shrift. It reinvents Mandela’s disturbing legacy. It turned a Thatcherite into a saint. A previous article discussed it.  Editorials, commentaries, and feature articles read like bad fiction. Tributes are overwhelming. They reflect coverup and denial.

The true measure of Mandela is hidden from sight. It’s willfully ignored. Illusion replaced it.

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South Africa: “Manifestos and Reality”

14 February 2014

A Presentation to the Cape Town Press Club by NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim

I speak to you today with a powerful and united mandate from 341,150 metalworkers. They made their views extremely clear in our workers’ parliament in December last year – the parliament we called the NUMSA Special National Congress. In that parliament there was vigorous debate. Every delegate knew that they would have to account to their constituency. We are justifiably proud of our democratic heritage. We know that what we decide has the backing of our members. We don’t have to change decisions after the Congress has spoken, as some do, even though there are those who would urge us to “come to our senses” and take NUMSA in another direction from the decisions of that Congress.

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South Africa: Forging a New Movement – Numsa and the Shift in SA Politics By Leonard Gentle

28 January 2014 — SACSIS

The decision of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) to cut ties with the African National Congress (ANC) has received poor analysis. Comment has tended to focus on the possibility of a new political party in 2019 or whether all this means that Zwelenzima Vavi will get his job back. As such, the greater significance of the biggest trade union in the country throwing in its lot with a growing movement in opposition to the neo-liberal order, and thus to the left of the ANC, rather than the line up to the right (which includes the newly merged Agang and Democratic Alliance who want more of the same), is being missed.

Red tide rising: Numsa in attack mode By Ranjeni Munusamy

27 January 2014 — The Daily Maverick

Elections 2014 will come and go, the ANC will be top of the pops, and a new bag of Liquorice Allsorts will fill the parliamentary benches. The great shake-up in South African politics looks set to happen after the elections – and metalworkers’ union Numsa is likely to play a big role in the new alignment. Numsa and a group of other Cosatu unions will put their federation on notice this week on a number of issues. Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim is also taking on the government’s enforcer, Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, for police killings during protest marches. And even before the split in Cosatu happens, workers from other sectors are seeking to join the Numsa movement. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY. Continue reading