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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Ronnie Kasrils on South African Election

15 May 2019 — Rebel News

Ronnie Kasrils on South African Election

Ronnie Kasrils joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1960 after Sharpeville and later played a leading role in Umkhonte we Sizwe, the ANC’s armed wing. He served for a number of years as a minister in Nelson Mandela’s post-apartheid government as Deputy Minister of Defence and as Minister for Security. He has since become a major left critic of the ANC and its embrace of neo-liberalism. He is also known as an outspoken opponent of Apartheid Israel. Rebel is pleased to publish his assessment of the recent South African election here.

The best aspect of South Africa’s sixth national election since democracy in 1994 was that it was extremely peaceful, virtually incident free, fair, and credible. The top marks go to the 16 million who cast their votes, many in difficult rural terrain and some in cold, rainy conditions. The downside was that this was the lowest turnout of registered voters since that first seminal democratic election.

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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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Labour, socialism & the search for a party By Terry Bell

5 April 2019 — Terry Bell Writes

[South Africa may be thousands of miles away but the debates on the left taking place there, are directly connected to the kinds of debates taking place here within and about the struggle for socialism. WB]

What will workers decide when faced with the confusion of 48 political parties listed for the national and provincial poll on May 8? Many clearly did not register to vote, some have said they will abstain, others remain uncertain about who to support.

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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’s ANC’s “Internal Presidential Elections”: Ramaphosa Rises as Lonmin Expires By Prof. Patrick Bond

20 December 2017

Workers, Women and Communities Prepare to Fight, Not Mourn

Monday night’s internal African National Congress (ANC) presidential election of Cyril Ramaphosa – with a razor-thin 51% majority of nearly 4800 delegates – displaced but did not resolve a fight between two bitterly-opposed factions. On the one hand are powerful elements friendly to so-called “White Monopoly Capital,” and on the other are outgoing ANC president Jacob Zuma’s allies led by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, his ex-wife and former African Union chairperson. The latter faction includes corrupt state “tenderpreneur” syndicates, especially the notorious Gupta brothers, and is hence typically nicknamed “Zupta.” (Zuma is still scheduled to serve as national president until mid-2019.)

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In South Africa’s fight between hostile brothers – the “Zuptas” and “White Monopoly Capital” – a new consensus appears By Patrick Bond

5 October 2017 — Pambazuka News

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and super-consultant Iraj Abedian, two solid bourgeouis representatives, have made an unusually passionate case against what is sometimes termed White Monopoly Capital. Th[i]s surprising breakthrough indicates that corporate-state degeneracy is now so extreme, that the truth will out.

Last week a conceptual barrier carefully constructed by elites since 2015 was suddenly cracked at the University of the Witwatersrand Great Hall by two of South Africa’s leading economic personalities: Pravin Gordhan, who served as a pro-business Finance Minister for seven years until being fired in March, and super-consultant Iraj Abedian, who in 1996 had co-authored the country’s post-apartheid homegrown structural adjustment programme. Two more solid bourgeois representatives would be hard to find.

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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