Defend the ANC against the imperialist-led onslaught on South Africa

Leave a comment

17/09/2017 by socialistfight

Build a workers’ party based on the trade unions

By Gerry Downing, 17-9-17


Image result for Zuma imagesPresident Jacob Zuma and finance minister Pravin Gordhan, sacked in April 2017 for imposing austerity so harshly on the masses.

Who is the ‘main enemy’ of the SA working class?

Some conclude that the ANC is the main enemy of the South African working class, the poor and oppressed and that any defence of the ANC is a defence of bourgeois rule in SA. But who is the main enemy of the SA working class and who are the SA bourgeoisie?” If we think the main, (or the only, for some), struggle of the working class is to defeat the ANC as the party of big capital then we are not looking at the big, global picture of the nature of the offensive of Anglo-American imperialism since the 2008 economic crash in particular and refusing to take on board the changing situation globally and its reflection within SA. This imperialist offensive is against rival imperialist powers, mainly in Europe, and the BRICS countries, other allied advanced semi-colonial countries and of course all the poorest countries and the two remaining deformed workers’ states of Cuba and North Korea.

Recent history of the ANC: 1. Mandela

Those familiar with the history of SA are quite aware that Nelson Mandela presided over the ending apartheid in a counterrevolutionary manner by embracing the 1991 Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) in a cross-class popular front with the old apartheid ruling class. He then embraced the 1996 Growth and Economic Development programme (GEAR) which was a pro-imperialist neoliberal economic programme which left the black masses worse off in many ways. South Africa vies with neighbouring Namibia and Botswana as the most unequal societies in the world, just behind countries like the Central African Republic, Haiti and China. As Wikipedia tells us

“The country has one of the most unequal income distribution patterns in the world: approximately 60% of the population earns less than R42,000 per annum (about US$7,000), whereas 2.2% of the population has an income exceeding R360,000 per annum (about US$50,000). Poverty in South Africa is still largely experienced by the black population. Despite many ANC policies aimed at closing the poverty gap, as of 2007 blacks are over-represented in poverty, being 90% of the country’s poor while at the same time being only 79.5% of the population. 47% of South Africans are considered impoverished by being under the national poverty line of US$43 per month and the number of people living on less than US$1 a day has doubled from 2 million in 1994 to 4 million in 2006. The remnants of apartheid-era spatial segregation of black Africans to poor, rural areas is correlated with higher levels of poverty among them.” [1]


According to the Oxfam report “Economy for the 99%,” the total net wealth of three South African billionaires equals the total combined wealth of 50% of the population, and the richest 1 percent owns 42 percent of the country’s wealth. Such is Mandela’s legacy. His Government of National Unity had 12 ANC members 6 National Party (the old apartheid ruling class), and 3 from the pro-imperialist Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) of Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The two deputy presidents were Thabo Mbeki and former President F.W. de Klerk.

Recent history of the ANC: 2. Mbeki

Mandela’s presidency ended in 1999 and Thabo Mbeki, his deputy, succeeded him. That 1999 election revealed significant shifts in the electorate. The ANC increased its vote to almost a two-thirds majority. The National Party lost two-thirds of its seats and now the official opposition became the Democratic Party (DP), based mainly on the Cape coloured and white liberals and now already winning the support of some old apartheid supporters and new black politicians. Already back then some imperialists were shifting alliances to the party that contained the political bones of the white liberals Helen Suzman and Harry Schwarz but now included also the followers of Vorster, Botha and de Klerk. The DP became the Democratic Alliance (DA) in 2000 following its merger with the renamed New National Party which only lasted until 2001. But the DA effectively swallowed up most of the NNP, with a minority going to the ANC. The process has gone on apace since then. The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has declined in national elections from 10.54% in 1994 to 2.4% in 2014, reflecting the declining appeal of pro-imperialist Zulu nationalism when there were so many other candidates for that role in the ANC and DA and elsewhere.

Thabo Mbeki’s presidency continued and deepened the neo-liberal policies but he did not have the historical charisma of Mandela to carry out the fraud. Disastrously he denied the link between HIV and AIDS, costing hundreds of thousands of lives by imposing this backward ignorance on the medical services of SA.  He had Jacob Zuma as his deputy and initiated the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) programme in 2003. This essentially demanded privileges for mainly black politicians; it enormously accelerated corruption and the grab for wealth by the ANC leaders, using the bogus excuse that they were thereby helping all black people. They were helping themselves.

On 30 May 2005 Zuma’s financial adviser, Schabir Shaik was pronounced guilty by the Durban High Court of corruption and sentenced to 15 years (he only served 3). His crimes included paying Zuma 1.2 million Rand ($185,000) to further their relationship and for soliciting a bribe from the French arms company Thomson-CSF, as well as fraud for writing off more than R1 million ($154,000) of Zuma’s unpaid debts. Mbeki dismissed Zuma as his deputy because of this obvious corruption in 2005. But because of the dire consequences of the neo-liberal policies for the black population Mbeki became increasingly unpopular, and having escaped jail, Zuma, now with the assistance of the up and coming ANC youth leader Julius Malema, and the trade union federation, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), led by Sidumo Dlamini and the South African Communist Party (SACP), led by Blade Nzimande, began to mobilise within the ANC structures against Mbeki. In December 2007 the government anti-corruption and anti-fraud investigation branch presented Zuma with a formal accusation on counts of racketeering, money laundering, corruption and fraud. A high court judge, Christopher Nicholson, halted Zuma’s trial on flimsy procedural grounds. Of course, incorrect procedure, if such ever existed, can be rectified by beginning the process over when there is so obvious a case to be prosecuted, but there was never a suggestion of doing that. A great escape was planned for Zuma. Chief prosecutor Mokotedi Mpshe abandoned all proceedings against Zuma in 2009.

Recent history of the ANC: 3. Zuma

Not only did the white cricketer Nicholson save Zuma from jail but now he effectively put Mbeki on trial saying he believed that there was political interference in the timing of the charges being brought against Zuma. Of course, a judge has no right to proffer his biased opinion in his judgement of a case in such a manner but it was just what Zuma needed to know; the ‘white monopoly capitalists’ were on his side. The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) now forced Mbeki and the majority of his cabinet to resign and they appointed an intern President, Kgalema Motlanthe, because Zuma was not even a member of the legislature by then, who ruled from September 2008 to the elections in May 2009. The ANC NEC had appointed Zuma, a man they knew to be corrupt, for the sole purpose of getting their own hands on the loot; that they were all corrupt themselves is the inevitable conclusion. But ANC youth leader Julius Malema, Cosatu and the SACP painted this as a left-wing opposition to Mbeki’s neo-liberal, market-oriented economic policies. Subsequent events like Zuma’s even more corrupt market orientated policies and the Marikana massacre exposed just how fraudulent the claims of these ‘triple alliance’ leaders were; this was essentially a successful gambit by another wing of the kleptocracy.

But if you can get a friendly judge and an obliging chief prosecutor like Mokotedi Mpshe to drop the charges of corruption in 2009 to allow Zuma to become President you can get another friendly judge and another chief prosecutor to facilitate Ramaphosa’s bid for the presidency in 2016. The High Court declared that he should be charged with 783 counts of corruption, fraud and racketeering. Mr Justice Aubrey Ledwaba ruled on 28 April that the decision to abandon the charges in 2009 had been misguided and that Mokotedi Mpshe, then chief prosecutor, had acted under pressure. The decision to drop the case had been “inexplicable” and “irrational,” and “Mr Zuma should face the charges as outlined in the indictment,” Ledwaba said. The Black judge made no comment on the conduct of the white judge Nicholson back in 2007.

“Today is a great victory for the rule of law and ultimately we believe that Jacob Zuma must face prosecution” said DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Zuma had set up an inquiry when President which naturally found all charges against him to be baseless. Zuma claimed the immunity of his office after the 2016 judgement. If Zuma’s ex-wife Dlamini-Zuma is elected leader of the ANC in December and she becomes President in 2019 she is expected to pardon Zuma. But she may not and Ramaphosa may be elected and then he will face a long prison term.

Massive discontent bubbled away under the surface because of all the frustrated revolutionary aspirations of the Black masses and the later broken promises, reflected in the crime statistics. The Economist reports the killing of approximately 1,500 white farmers in attacks since 1991. According to them, an estimated 250,000 white South Africans emigrated between 1994-2005. South Africa has consistently the highest incidents of rape, sexual abuse and car hijacking in the world.

To examine the context of today’s struggle against Zuma and the ANC we need to examine the power structures of the world and South Africa in some detail.

Who are the SA bourgeoisie?

If you view the Wikipedia lists of the ten wealthiest individuals in the world since 2000 you will see that between 2000 and 2004 the US had between 6 and 9 of the top 10 billionaires, between 2005 and 2012 it had declined to between 5 and 2 (in 2008) and from 2013 it has increased again from 5 to 8 today; 8, 7, 8, 8 in the 4 years since 2003. The USA remains the global hegemonic imperialist power; its great finance houses in Wall Street and its allied transnational corporation dominate the globe, including allied imperialist powers mainly in Europe and Japan, whatever their objections.

This relative decline of the USA in financial terms has been reversed by class struggle victories by the capitalists reflected by the constant neo-liberal shifts of wealth from poor to rich in the metropolitan countries, led by the USA, and by wars for regime change in Iraq in 2003 and since 2011 in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and cultivating agents in the semi-colonial word for pro-imperialist ‘colour revolutions’ by middle class and petty bourgeois forces and constitutional coups in Ukraine and many others and fostering relations with pro-American political parties in rival imperialist countries.

BSA has only eight dollar billionaires. Depending on which list you follow Johann Rupert or Nicky Oppenheimer is No. 1 with $6 or $7 billion ranking 199 to 237 in the world order.  BusinessTech listing the top 20 richest South Africans includes Ivan Glasenberg at number 4 but he is no longer an SA citizen, so other lists correctly ignore him. All are white apart from only two Blacks, Patrice Motsepe, a billionaire mining magnate at No. 6 or 7 at $1.8 or $2.5 Billion depending on which list you follow and No. 10 Cyril Ramaphosa on $487, $675 or $700 billion depending on the list. That top 20 SA list also has two women, at No 18 we have Wendy Appelbaum with $259.3 million, the only daughter of South African tycoon Donald Gordon, and at No. 20 we have Irene Charnley with $150 million, a former trade unionist with a net worth of $150 million. She spent 13 years as a negotiator for the South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), quite a good location to be when the goodies began to be gleaned by the usurpers after 1994. [2]

If we look at the wealthiest top 10 politicians the opposite picture emerges, nine of these are black.  At No. 1 is Cyril Ramaphosa at $700 million; in 2011 Ramaphosa paid a 20-year master franchise agreement to run 145 McDonald’s restaurants in South Africa. Over and above the more than R76 million Ramaphosa accumulated in company shares, the documents showed that the former trade unionist and businessman owned 30 properties in Johannesburg and two apartments in Cape Town. The register also confirmed Ramaphosa’s resignation from Lonmin, a directorship for which he was criticised in during the Marikana Massacre in 2012. [3]

At no. 8 is Frederik Willem, the only white politician to make it. With $46 million he was the last head of the South Africa state under the apartheid era. At No. 9 is current President Jacob Zuma with $20 million and at No. 10 is former president Thabo Mbeki with ‘only’ $10 million; it’s clear who won that tussle. These nine, including white woman Irene Charnley (former NUM bureaucrat), and many others, made their money very rapidly from favours conceded, under BEE from 2003, in grateful appreciation by ‘white monopoly capital’ for having betrayed the revolutionary potential of the late 1980s and early 1990s, via CODESA after 1991 and GEAR etc. after 1994. [4]

But still, the Black usurpers of the revolutionary Black masses have gleaned only 10% of the nation’s wealth.  The population is 80.2% Black, 8.8% Coloured, 8.4% White, and 2.5% Asian.

The Guptas and Zuma

“Zuma is controlled by the Guptas. Once you have a weak institution like the ANC and a government that is institutionally captured‚ you only have to win control over a few individuals like Jacob Zuma and you control everything.” – DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

The Guptas consist of brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh (also known as Tony) Gupta, all in their 40s, who relocated to South Africa from India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh in Saharanpur in 1993. They were small businessmen back home but their parent company Sahara Group – which has no links to the Indian giant of the same name – now has an annual turnover of about 200m rand ($22m; £14.3m) and employs some 10,000 people. [5]

The Sunday Times of London in December 2016 puts Atul Gupta at No 7 in the SA rich list, uniquely of all lists and puts his wealth at R10.7bn, which is $813,528,383, not even a dollar billionaire, unless this decimal is misplaced as was another on the same list. Their list is just not credible and inconsistent with all other lists as we do not know what criteria they have used to calculate it. Nevertheless, they tell us that:

“South Africa’s rich list makes for fascinating reading. Although black economic empowerment is in full swing and entrepreneurs who don’t qualify as black complain that the laws are weighted against them, the list of South Africa’s 10 richest men indicates that the wealthy elite is still white – except for a notable exception. The Sunday Times puts Atul Gupta, one of the Gupta brothers at the centre of state capture allegations as growing enormously wealthy in a short space of time.” [6]

In other words, nor even The Sunday Times of London seeks to prove that Zuma and the Guptas as the real power in South Africa today. And ignore the rest of the Black usurpers who grew “enormously wealthy in a short space of time” after 1994, with Cyril Ramaphosa in the first place.

Who are behind the push to oust Zuma?

Those who mobilise against Zuma are gathered around rejection of the old ANC term, “white monopoly capital”, and the allegation that the Guptas have used Zuma for “state capture”. Of course, it is true that monopoly capital has no skin colour; like all capital, it is a social relationship between the capitalists who own the means of production and the working class who have to sell their labour power to live. And, of course, the state has never been “captured”, it is, and was, a capitalist state, ruling on behalf of the dominant section of that class. The point here in conflict here is who is to benefit from capturing the state executive; its government which administers the state on behalf of Anglo-American imperialism from the days of apartheid and after 1994 to this day.  And even if we accept the notion of the Guptas capturing the state then we must also accept that Nelson Mandela “captured’ the state in 1994 and Cyril Ramaphosa was a far bigger beneficiary of that “state capture” than the Guptas are today.

A week ahead of the (SACP in July) conference, Ramaphosa criticised the use of the phrase white monopoly capital and said it was an invention of a highly paid public relations company to “protect their clients” accused of state capture. [7]

But of course, this might seem shadow boxing where no one says what they really mean, but each knows what the other does really mean. And the reason for the extreme caution in terminology is that all are aware that a third force is listening in, a sleeping giant in chains and the incautious use of language might arouse that giant via a class-conscious vanguard and sweep them all away. The truth is that Zuma and the Guptas are small fry robber capitalists who are using the state resources to enrich themselves as Mandela and Mbeki did before him. The partisans of Ramaphosa are accurately described as the “white monopoly capitalists” who represent 90% of the wealth of South Africa, those whom the old apartheid ruling class represented, along with the new rising Black bourgeoisie.

On 13 September 2017 the City A.M. newspaper, which pitches to the City of London, headlined Sun sets on Bell Pottinger, reporting the demise of the great public relations firm whose great crime was to use the term “white monopoly capital” and to quote a youth leader of the ANC threatening class war against it. It was expelled from the Public Relations and Communications Association for this great crime, demonstrating that Anglo-American imperialism would not tolerate any opposition to its project to oust Zuma from within its own ranks. And the Indian government of Modi was pressed into service to force the Bank of Baroda to withdraw services from the Guptas and a major accountancy firm is next in line for the treatment, we learn. The message from Anglo-American imperialism is unmistakable; Zuma must go and so must the ANC in its present form. It is an obstacle to the further super-exploitation of the Black masses.

And it is correct to charge the ANC with gross opportunism in using the term “white monopoly imperialism” in the first place against the apartheid regime. But serious Marxists understood that the game was to formally end apartheid discrimination against Blacks whilst saving capitalism itself from the threat of social revolution by simply blaming white people. Once Blacks were in charge all oppression would end, they implied in the Peoples’ Charter and in instituting the Democratic Revolution now and the socialist revolution later once industry and commerce had developed sufficiently under the benign guidance of the ANC together with their partners in the SACP and Cosatu.

Image result for Blade Nzimande Marx cartoonImage result for Blade Nzimande Marx cartoon

The South African Communist Party and Blade Nzimande

This Triple Alliance of the ANC, the SACP and Cosatu are held together by the SACP under the guidance of the 59-year-old SACP general secretary since 1998, Blade Nzimande. He is Zuma’s Minister for Higher Education and Training since 2009. He frequently calls for taxing the rich to pay for education. Back in 2007, before his appointment his new ministry the Mail & Guardian claimed that his salary was equivalent to that of deputy ministers, between R700,000 and R800,000 a year. Now in 2017 his salary is R2,211,937, $167,280.94. The British Prime Minister gets £150,402, $204,283.52, Cabinet minister get £141,505, $192,199.17 and ordinary ministers are on £96,375, $130,901.34. The average wage in South Africa is R224,244, $16,958.78, Black African workers earn about 20% of what white workers earn. Nzimande lived “in a large home in the upmarket Johannesburg suburb of Emmarentia” in 2007, the Mail & Guardian tell us, and he “has been known to have up to four luxury vehicles in his garage. He is most commonly seen in his black Grand Jeep Cherokee, for which he has a driver”. [8]

And he did not forget himself when it came to transport in his new ministerial post in 2009.  The Department of Higher Education purchased a new R1.1 million BMW 7501 for him. The Politicsweb blog quotes him as saying:

“…Nelson Mandela Day must also be a re-affirmation of the values he has come to represent – that of social solidarity, selflessness, dedication, equity and fairness! It is through the consistent inculcation of these values that we can roll back the greed, corruption and selfishness of capitalism.”

Two months later he has approved over R1 million for a luxury car, for his personal use – which is self-indulgent, unnecessary and extravagant. So much for rolling back the greed and selfishness of capitalism. It appears that only the very best will do for the leaders of the working class. [9]

He came out strongly against proposals for nationalisation at the COSATU conference in June 2011, stating that it is not “inherently progressive” as it depended on which class interests were being advanced.

The SACP has called for Zuma to resign but it instructed its 17 MPs who are also ANC members, not to vote for the no-confidence motion of the DA on 8 August, so we must assume they were not amongst the 30 ANC members who did so. The SACP is careful how it handles the ouster of Zuma, and the fight for the election of Ramaphosa in the December 2017 conference of the ANC which will decide its leader and therefore its presidential candidate in 2019.

Up to now all post-1994 ANC leaders have become SA President in the following elections and all ANC leaders have been on the SACP Central Committee, although Nelson Mandela was a secret one whose membership was not revealed by the SACP until after his death in 2013. Cyril Ramaphosa was never a SACP member but the SACP are now supporting him for leadership of the ANC and for President. Zuma, their former CC member, was not invited to speak at the SACP Conference in July; that place was granted to his deputy Ramaphosa. It is another dilemma for them what to do if Ramaphosa fails to win the leadership of the ANC in December, which is entirely possible. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zumas’ ex-wife (he has two exs and three current wives), may well win the nomination in December.  Will the ANC finally break with the ANC and the Triple Alliance to continue to support Ramaphosa then? They have already decided to stand candidates against the ANC in 2019, but surely breaking from the ANC would entail too great a risk of alienating their Black membership.

Image result for Zuma's wives  imagesPresident Jacob Zuma and his four wives, from left: Bongi Ngema-Zuma, MaNtuli Zuma, Tobeka Madiba-Zuma and MaKhumalo Zuma. File picture: GCIS. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is not here, as she is an ex and so is one of the above four, the older woman on the right, obviously his first wife who looks so disgusted at his carry-on, whom he ‘set aside’ because he claimed she tried to poison him. Would you blame her?

The party’s spokesperson Alex Mashilo said that the no-confidence motion, which was sparked by Zuma’s late-night Cabinet reshuffle in April after the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was dismissed. This caused the Rand to tumble in the international markets as Gordhan was infamous for his rigorous pursuit of austerity to satisfy the international money markets. The motion was not brought by the SACP or the ANC but by opposition parties which, he said, were seeking to get rid of the liberation movement along with its allies and not just the president:

“These opposition parties have said that in fact, their objective is not the removal of the president, their objective is the removal of the ANC all together with the alliance. The DA said that yesterday. In fact, it proposed that there (new?) elections [must be] held.  He added that EFF leader Julius Malema had continuously called ANC members of parliament (MPs) “cowards” while pushing for the voting in the motion to be done by secret ballot. “The main objective is not to remove president Zuma, but it is to remove the whole of the ANC and the alliance,” he said. Mashilo said even though he did not know what decision the SACP office bearers and MPs would decide, they were in the National Assembly as representatives of the ANC. “I am sure you are aware that the SACP, being an alliance partner of the ANC at present, will never ever form part of any agenda to remove the ANC. He added that as long as the SACP was in an alliance with the ANC, there was no way they could support the removal of the governing party.” [10]

The SACP are faced with a dilemma. If we look at the growth of its membership since 1991 we will begin to understand what it is. In 1991 it had 10,000 members; 1995 – 75,000; 2002 – 19,385; 2007 – 50,000; 2012 – 150,000; 2015 – 213,551 and we must assume the membership continues to grow. And these members are overwhelmingly Black and, whilst there will be a fair number of opportunist careerists amongst them who are seeking an alternative to the unseeing scrabble for office and privilege in the ANC, nonetheless, the bulk of the rank and file are clearly left moving workers and quite poor. The ANC’s membership is moving in the opposite direction, dropping from just over 1.2-million in 2012 to 769,000 in 2015. It got 62% of the vote in 1994, it increased to 68% under Mbeki in 1999 but was back to 62% in 2014 and to 54% in the local elections of 2016. The DA got a record 26.9% then, the EFF increased to 8.2% and Buthelezi’s Inkatha Freedom Party got 4.25%; these all are locally concentrated so resulted in many seats. The ANC lost control of three metropolitan municipalities; Nelson Mandela Bay, City of Tshwane and City of Johannesburg. The decline in ANC support was most significant in urban areas, with the ANC losing its outright majority in 4 of the country’s 8 metropolitan municipalities for the first time since 1994. The loss of the votes of the urban working class is a very bad sign for the ANC and surely here is where the SACP will step in with the most to gain. [11]

Those who mobilised to oust Zuma in the secret vote on 8 August 2017 include; the African Christian Democratic Party‚ the African Independent Congress‚ the African People’s Convention‚ the Congress of the People‚ Agang SA‚ the Democratic Alliance‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters‚ the Inkatha Freedom Party and the United Democratic Movement‚ together with the Freedom Movement and Save SA. Also, Cyril Ramaphosa himself and his supporters, the CP Youth League (CPYL), the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), the ANC Women’s League and the Youth League.

Image result for Julius Malema in court on corruption charges images20 June 2013. Julius Malema took time away from his new political party to face fraud and corruption charges. – image –

Julius Malema and the EFF

Malema, as CP youth leader, worked hard for the ouster of Mbeki in 2008 but was rewarded by Zuma by getting expelled himself in 2012, for corruption. Some dub him “a reckless populist”; he was convicted of hate speech in March 2010 and again in September 2011. In November 2011, he was found guilty of sowing divisions within the ANC and, in conjunction with his two-year suspended sentence in May 2010, was suspended from the party for five years. In 2011, he was also convicted of hate speech after singing “Dubula iBunu” (“Shoot the Boer”). On 4 February 2012, the appeal committee of the African National Congress announced that it found no reason to “vary” a decision of the disciplinary committee taken in 2011, but did find evidence in aggravation of circumstances, leading them to impose the harsher sentence of expulsion from the ANC. On 25 April 2012 Malema lost an appeal to have his expulsion from the ANC overturned. [12]

He was in court in November 2012 to face charges of fraud, money-laundering, and racketeering. The case was postponed until 23 April 2013, and then again to 20 June and then to 18 to 29 November 2013. That trial never went ahead “for procedural reasons” and several more dates were set and abandoned by a very ‘understanding’ National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The whole thing is ‘ongoing’ and its result obviously rests on Malema’s political fortunes as with Zuma himself; this is the way with the very corrupt SA court system.

The NPA, however, did eventually get around to seizing a farm that they deemed Malema owned as the proceeds of crime. The farm was publicly auctioned and the proceeds paid into the Criminal Assets Recovery Account the NPA told us in August 2015 but the 5 years waiting for his trial for his criminal activities goes on. [13]

Terry Bell, in his talk to the Weekly Worker forum on Sunday 10 September, observed:

“At the same time, within parliament, the Economic Freedom Fighters are making the biggest running. But unfortunately, most of the very fragmented left, led often by the Socialist Workers Party franchise, Keep Left, supports Julius Malema and his EFF, which they regard as ‘left-wing’. The EFF talks socialist, it talks about seizing the land without compensation, but it is national socialist… The interesting thing about him as an individual is that he is the “commander-in-chief” of the EFF, whose structure is totally militaristic. Malema was expelled from the ANC Youth League, of which he was the leader, but how does someone who in that capacity earned R20,000 a month end up with a tax bill of R16 million? What I am trying to say is that he does not exactly have a good, clear, honest background. But the EFF is the main, so-called left opposition in parliament.” [14]

He later went on to say that the EFF were fascists, “Three of us wrote about it and we said that we are seeing the emergence of our first, native-grown, modern fascism; we were castigated, mainly from the left. However, our line was taken up by the Communist Party!” This is nonsense; if we are to see any genuine fascist forces emerge it will be from the old National Party membership in the DA, as in the past.

Malema made a big fuss of supporting the Marikana miners after the 16 August 2012 massacre, as did Numsa, and thereby exposed the criminality of the ANC, Ramaphosa, the NUM and Cosatu nevertheless his unprincipled populism and corruption now sees him in alliance with right-wing forces like the DA and others who are worse in the push to oust Zuma. But the CWI’s Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) are also following the EFF. It is noteworthy that the EFF leader, Julius Malema, and the DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, are close friends.

Image result for Mmusi Maimane in Church    imagesMr. Buchan (whom Maimane supports) not only promotes a “Christian Government”, but also pledges support for the “normalisation” of South African society to a religious fundamentalism based on his interpretation of Christianity. This includes the concept of a religion-based education system, vilification and “treatment” of homosexuality, the promotion of violent discipline of children, the subjugation of women and their rights, and the denigration and exclusion of other faiths and beliefs.

Mmusi Maimane and the DA

Terry also made very light of the blue political colouration of the DA:

“The biggest opposition party, of course, is the Democratic Alliance – the equivalent of the Tories without the kicking boots. Traditionally the DA has always had wealthy, white liberal support, although now its leader, Mmusi Maimane, is getting a degree of mass support on the ground among black people, who are just hacked off with the ANC.” [15]

He ignored the incorporation of the old Apartheid NP whose supporters he said went mainly to the ANC. Mmusi Maimane is the first Black leader of the DA and a fundamentalist Christian supporter of Israel. He resigned from the ANC following the ouster of Mbeki in 2008 and joined the DA, moving up rapidly in its ranks to become leader in May 2015. He has a Master’s Degree in Theology and regularly preaches at the Discovery Church in Randburg along these lines:

“Let me tell you, leaders need to hear God’s word. They need to hear a word from God. Your politicians, you don’t have to be a politician to influence politicians, you’ve just got to get in and say, ‘I have a word from God and I have got to share it’. I know of Christian leaders who are involved with the president and their main job is to go to the president and say ‘thus sayeth the Lord’. That’s influence, prophetically! Now as a church we can never neglect our prophetic mandate.” [16]

In An Open Letter to the DA from Concerned Secular Citizens (following Angus Buchan Meeting) the South African Secular Society on 29 April 2017 said:

“It is of great concern to us that several prominent Democratic Alliance Party members, including the Party President Mmusi Maimane and Provincial Leader Patricia Kopane, have promoted and attended the “It’s Time” gathering organised by Angus Buchan of Shalom Ministries… Mr. Buchan not only promotes a “Christian Government”, but also pledges support for the “normalisation” of South African society to a religious fundamentalism based on his interpretation of Christianity. This includes the concept of a religion-based education system, vilification and “treatment” of homosexuality, the promotion of violent discipline of children, the subjugation of women and their rights, and the denigration and exclusion of other faiths and beliefs. [17]

On 11 January 2017 Maimane visited Israel and met Netanyahu. The meeting, which defied advice from Zuma, met with a ferocious response from the ANC and from the Embassy of the State of Palestine to South Africa in Pretoria which said:

“The Embassy of the State of Palestine to South Africa, would like to point out that the DA did not inform the embassy about Mr. Maimane’s visit to the State of Palestine, and that the embassy became aware of the DA leader’s visit through the South African Media. The embassy categorically did not have any role in the recent visit, besides that, the embassy communicated with the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Ramallah city and was officially informed by the Ministry that no one of  PA officials or leadership were to meet with Mr. Maimane. Media reports and statements by the DA delegation make no reference to actual names of Palestinian Authority officials or what titles/offices they hold. In fact, it is offensive that one would travel to the occupied Palestinian territories as a guest of the occupier and on a trip facilitated by the oppressor.

“We highly respect and honour the speech given by H.E. President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the ruling party’s 105th anniversary celebration on the 8th January 2017 when he “firmly discouraged travel to Israel for causes not related to fostering peace in the region.” We welcome solidarity and impartial fact-finding visits to our country and to our people. We also believe that the correct official channels should be followed and respected. The Embassy of the State of Palestine is humbled and welcomes all the support and solidarity given to our people from the Government, people, organizations and political parties of South Africa.” [18]

The Daily Maverick opined that the ANC has long linked South Africa’s struggle for freedom to that of Palestinians and during its visit to the Middle East the DA was accused of misrepresenting South Africa’s position abroad, flaunting diplomatic protocol, and snubbing Palestinians in favour of Israelis. The latter carries particular weight in local politics. Given how the conflict between Israel and Palestine is framed in SA, the criticism means the DA chose the oppressor over the oppressed. It means the DA, long accused of being a party representing white interests, will locally choose the oppressor over the oppressed, will favour white over black. [19]

Numsa and SA Federation of Trade Unions; Irvin Jim and Zwelinzima Vavi

As we wrote in SA: ‘White monopoly capital’ turns the screw on ANC:

In South Africa, it seems only the forces around the biggest trade union, the left Stalinist dominated National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa, are now willing to do that and to them, all serious revolutionists in South Africa must rally in the first place with political transitional demands for the struggle. Without in any way neglecting addressing the mass working class base of both the ANC, the SACP and the EFF. But we must acknowledge that only the forces of Numsa have the real ability to do that. As we pointed out in No to the Ouster of Zuma:

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is the biggest single trade union in South Africa. It was expelled from COSATU on 8 November 2014.

Karl Cloete, Deputy General Secretary of Numsa indicates that they are refusing to go along with this move against Zuma:

“Which class forces stand to gain the most from this important site of struggle? … In as much as we must analyse the class forces at play, we must also use the crisis and popular feelings of ordinary people to concretely benefit the working class and build working class hegemony… Not staying aloof from inter class struggles and alliances, the working class should however never aid an agenda that replaces one butcher with another. The world knows all too well what Cyril Ramaphosa’s role was in Marikana and the mass murder of mineworkers by the South African Police Services in 2012. The cold reality is that some who are calling for Zuma to fall are actively campaigning for Ramaphosa to become the next South African President. Ramaphosa has the backing of COSATU and the SACP, and perhaps even Save South Africa and others are also supportive of him.”

We should not support this constitutional coup against Zuma; we should identify Cyril Ramaphosa and the DA and their allies in the SACP as the representatives of the main enemy of the South African masses, US-led global imperialism. [20]

On 21 April Zwelinzima Vavi launched the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) with a claimed membership of 700,000. This makes the second largest union federation after Cosatu who claim 1.8 million members but that is declining. Numsa, under Irwin Jim, makes up over half the membership with the Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu), who left Cosatu in 2016, as the second largest. There were ‘at least’ 22 other trade unions present and 1,394 voting delegates. SAFTU have failed so far to win over the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), the union who represented the slain Marikana miners against the very corrupt NUM. It is one of their main objectives now.

They proudly announced the presence of ‘#FeesMustFall’ movement leader Mcebo Dlamini. In fact, the perspective of adopting as a model the Marikana worker communities, “which united with the community’s women, and the worker-student alliances that emerged during the #FeesMustFall student protests and the #OutsourcingMustFall/ #EndOutsourcing campaigns offer exciting models”. SAFTU can also look to  CSAAWU, a small but militant agricultural union working to build migrant worker forums in the rural Western Cape.[21]

The Jacobin tells us that the language was very militant and ‘Marxist’:

“The new federation promises to “give the South African working class a new home, a real revolutionary home” and aims to be a “democratic, worker-controlled, militant, socialist-orientated, internationalist, Pan Africanist from a Marxist perspective” organization that will “struggle for the total emancipation of the working class from the chains of its capitalist oppressors.”… Numsa and Vavi united in their criticism of the ANC, arguing that the party had failed to deliver on its promises of pro-poor economic and social policies. They pointed to the Marikana massacre — in which police killed thirty-four platinum mineworkers at Lonmin Platinum Mine on August 16, 2012 — as the final straw. As Numsa deputy secretary general Karl Cloete explained in 2014: “Do we continue inside COSATU to reclaim COSATU or has the time arrived to close shop and draw a line in the sand and to move towards the formation of a new independent militant, democratic worker-controlled federation?” Three years later, these activists launched SAFTU, promising to unite workers in their daily struggles and move them toward socialism.”

The draft constitution states that the general secretary and deputy general secretary will not earn more than the wage of a skilled worker, which is very refreshing in the poisonous atmosphere of corruption throughout the labour movement, the SACP and the ANC since 1994. And also they promised that they would not participate in the National Economic and Labour Council (NEDLAC), a group set up in 1994 to bring labour, capital, and the state into dialogue on economic and labour policy. The federation has promised not to “trap ourselves into deal-making with capital.” The working class has already had twenty-three years of class collaboration on its back; SAFTU might represent a break with this system, the article concludes.

The Congress also noted that “more than three-quarters of the country’s working class do not belong to any trade union” and so they pledged to “to build a home for all workers: “unemployed, in factories, in government offices, in schools, hospitals and clinics, as policemen and women, on farms, slaving on the streets in our towns and cities in informal trades, slaving in homes as domestic workers.”

That and the pledge Forced unity — partly a legacy of the anti-apartheid struggle in the face of violent repression — became the dominant political culture within the trade union movement. Further, as Gavin Hartford points out, the SACP, rooted in Stalinism, required loyalty and compliance. Its politics opposed critical thought and political plurality, a viewpoint also deeply embedded in the ANC and COSATU. The federation will have to decisively break from this tradition if it wants to develop into an independent and democratic federation.

Further, in order to build a culture of democracy and independent thought, the federation will have to work against “big man” politics, rooted in the mythology surrounding the men who liberated the country. This destructive culture demands acquiescence to a few dominant — and almost always male — leaders at the expense of building collective agency among ordinary workers. [22]

Of course, we know that Congress pledges and aspirations may come to very little in the end but at least this is speaking the right language and orientating in the right direction. As the article points out, “A number of trade unions support Numsa’s plan to build a workers’ party, and SAFTU must avoid reproducing a top-down relationship between the party and the trade unions”.

“Will leaders welcome internal debate? Will workers take control of their organization? Will the focus return to working-class struggles, linking unionized and non-unionized laborers to community struggles? Will the federation spark a new, emancipatory common sense? While many questions remain unanswered, SAFTU’s launch represents a moment when alternative trade unionism could finally emerge in South Africa” [23] 

is the concluding comment in the article and, as the WASP outlined above, the launch of a workers’ party was continually postponed by Irvin Jim since the 2013 pledge. But we feel the comrades were wrong to abandon the orientation to Numsa and now the SAFU in favour of an opportunist orientation to the Malema’s EFF and the #ZumaMustFall unprincipled popular front class collaborating line they have followed.


The nature of the leadership of those seeking to oust Zuma leaves no doubt that this is a reactionary gambit which will only be beaten by a mass mobilisation of the Black masses.  It is not just Zuma that is targeted but the whole ANC and the SACP is aware of this. Whilst giving no political support to Zuma or Jim all serious socialist in SA now, including the WASP and SWP’s Keep Left must demand that the SACP/Cosatu and Numsa/Saftu come out in opposition to Ramaphosa, the creature of “white monopoly capital”.  This will be particularly important depending on the outcome of the ANC December Conference. If Zuma wins and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma becomes the ANC leader we must demand that the SACP critically supports her against Ramaphosa. The ANC may then split and Ramaphosa may ally with the DA, the EFF and IFP. If Ramaphosa wins then the ANC may also fracture to the left and the question of a workers’ party would then be posed with renewed urgency.

Whilst the SAP wrestles with its dilemma; an opportunist capitulation to white monopoly capital and fear of alienating their mass working class Black base the Numsa are also caught on the horns of their own dilemma; if they do not mobilise the Black masses by forming a workers’ party then Ramaphosa may win and impose far greater exploitation of their membership; if they do form the workers’ party they may not be able to control the mases and stop them demanding the overthrow of capitalism itself. The WASP made serious and correct criticisms of Numsa’s failures to implement the decisions of the December 2013 Special National Congress where, for just these reasons, as WASP’s Weizmann Hamilton tells us:

The SNC adopted resolutions committing Numsa to building a United Front (UF), Movement for Socialism (MfS) and a workers’ party to be launched in time for the 2016 local government elections. Three years later, unfortunately, none of these have been built. It is now legitimate to ask the question: has the “Numsa moment” passed?

The Stalinist leadership of Numsa took fright at the growing influence of the ‘Trotskyist’ WASP and furiously manoeuvred and bureaucratically delayed and frustrated the mass movement that had developed after Marikana until the dead hand of Stalinism was once again firmly in control.  The control of the mass base of both the SACP and Numsa must be seriously challenged whatever the outcome of this vitally important December Conference of the ANC. All serious socialists in SA now, including the WASP and SWP’s Keep Left, must demand that the SACP/Cosatu and Numsa/Saftu form a workers’ party to mobilise the class and challenge a collapsing ANC and a rising Maimane, DA /Ramaphosa/Malema, EFF/ Buthelezi, IFP reactionary bloc.

And as we begun we must end with the confident assertion that the main enemy of the SA working class and Black masses is global finance capital led by the imperialist hegemonic power, the USA and their British allies and that Anglo-American imperialism has no permanent friends, only permanent interests and it can ditch the ANC to the detriment of the Black masses if it sees better representatives in a coalition led by Cyril Ramaphosa. We contend that is what is happening now.

No to the ouster of Zuma!

Break the class-collaborationist Popular Front Triple Alliance!

SACP/Cosatu and Numsa/Saftu must launch a mass workers’ party with a socialist programme based on the trade unions!


[1] Wikipedia, Inequality in post-apartheid South Africa,

[2] Buzz South Africa, Top 20 Richest People In South Africa: You Won’t Believe Who Worked Hardest This Time,

[3]  Cyril Ramaphosa -South Africa’s Billionaire And Chairman Of Shanduka,

[4] Top Richest, The world’s Billionaire people, Top 10 Richest Politician of South Africa 2017,

[5] BBC News, 2 November 2016, The Guptas and their links to South Africa’s Jacob Zuma,

[6] Ibid.

[7] News 24, 5-7-17, Ramaphosa vs Zuma: Battle over white monopoly capital far from over,

[8] The Mail and Guardian, Vicki Robinson 13 Jul 2007, Red Blade’s bourgeois life,

[9] Politics web, 2-9-2009, Blade Nzimande gets R1,1m BMW 750i – DA,–da

[10] News 24, 2017, 2-8-17,  SACP will never align itself with anything anti-ANC,

[11] Wikipedia,  South African municipal elections, 2016,,_2016

[12] Wikipedia, Julius Malema, Strangely the website has not been updated since 2013, so the details of his current wrong-doings and the obvious state collaboration with these, are not easily available.

[13] Politicsweb, Luvuyo Mfaku, 6 August 2015, Accused no. 5’s sick-note scuppered Malema trial – NPA,–npa

[14] Weekly Worker, Where next for the ANC?, Are there hopeful signs amidst the poverty and corruption? South African socialist, author and journalist Terry Bell addressed a London Communist Forum on September 10,

[15] Ibid.

[16] Chemedzai Gumbochuma, 8-4-16, Mmusi Maimane South Africa’s New Breed of Pastor-cum-Politician, Do I want Christians to be in charge of our nation? Yes, I do.

[17] South African Secular Society,

[18] Statement by the Embassy of the state of Palestine to South Africa, 16 January 2017,

[19] Daily Maverick, 17 JAN 2017, Maimane in Israel: DA defends visit while attacks mount,

[20] ‘White monopoly capital’ turns the screw on ANC,

[21] The Citizen, South Africa 21.4.2017,  Vavi launches new SA trade union federation,

[22] The Jacobin, Thembi Luckett and Naadira Munshi, 05.15.2017, South Africa, Rebuilding a Workers’ Movement,

[23] Ibid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WRP Explosion

WRP Explosion

WRP Explosion

%d bloggers like this: