Africa

The expulsion of NUMSA from the COSATU trade union confederation, is one of the most significant events in the African class struggle in the whole of the past period. It clearly exposes the reactionary character of the present COSATU leadership who are willing to tear the union apart rather than allow a militant union to remain within its ranks, even if this means paralysing the workers’ movement in order to preserve their own privileged positions.

As a party that purports to stand for the unity of workers, one expected that the South African Communist Party (SACP) would do its utmost to avert the implosion that is tearing the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) asunder.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, 8 November, the Central Executive Committee of South Africa's largest labour federation, COSATU, voted by a margin of 33 to 24 to expel its biggest affiliate, NUMSA from the federation. This decision will have far-reaching consequences not only for COSATU, but for the liberation movement and the direction of the class struggle.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) announced on Monday that it is severing ties with the tripartite alliance of the ANC, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and COSATU, the trade union federation. It also announced that it is setting up its socialist "United Front" on 13-16 December this year.

As a result of the increased domestic production of shale oil, the US has slashed crude oil imports from a peak of almost 14 million barrels per day in 2006, to slightly above 7 million barrels per day. Crude oil imports from Nigeria, one of the principal sources of light crude, were also slashed from more than one million barrels per day in 2010 to zero in July 2014.This figure is unprecedented since Nigeria started exporting oil about 40years ago.

The 5th parliamentary term has been unlike any of the  others in the last 20 years of bourgeois democratic rule. In the four months since the elections in May,  parliament has suddenly become a real focal point of attention.

On Tuesday, 1 July, hundreds of thousands of metalworkers went out on strike in the engineering and metals sectors, bringing the industry to a complete standstill. The strike involves small, medium and large companies, with more than 220,000 workers at about 10,500 workplaces. Some of the big companies that are affected includes Bell Equipment, Dorbyl, Murray and Roberts, Scaw Metals and Reunert.

The longest strike in South Africa’s history has ended. For nearly five long months, platinum miners affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) held out against the arrogance and intransigence of the platinum mine bosses. On Thursday the business press  broke  the news that an “in principle agreement” had been reached between the platinum mines and the union. The markets and the national  currency made strong gains in response. On the same day the workers indicated at mass rallies in Rustenburg that they would accept the latest offer of the mining houses. The companies and the union are expected to sign the agreement soon.

In 1998 a number of students were arrested at the University of Ilorin for organising protests against hikes in student fees. They were held in prison for over a month and this website campaigned for their release at the time. One of the students involved in that struggle was Rasheedat Adeshina, a leader of the student union. The price she paid for daring to protest was that although she passed all her exams brilliantly, her degree certificate was never released by the authorities. It has taken 14 years, but finally she has won.

The abduction by the Islamic fundamentalist Boko Haram group of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok in the north of the country and the way the Nigerian government has reacted to it has highlighted the truly corrupt nature of the regime. It has revealed its utter cynicism in the face of the real suffering of the masses.

An explosive situation is once again building up in the platinum belt around Rustenburg, as a four month old strike over wages by 70,000 miners has seen the dramatic escalation of tensions in the last few days. Just in the last few hours the state has dispatched the army to assist the already large police contingent in a desperate attempt to break the strike.

The dramatic events that have unfolded in this country in the past few weeks – among them the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram – confirm more than ever the complete impotence of the inept and extremely corrupt Nigerian ruling class, and also the rottenness of the country's armed forces, in the face of the insurgency.

The the South African national elections of 7 May resulted in a clear victory to the African National Congress. However beneath the surface the mood is one of anger and disillusionment with the corrupt right-wing leadership of the party through which the masses overthrew the Apartheid regime.

On May 7th, South Africa will hold the 5th national and provincial elections to take place since the downfall of apartheid. This year marks the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections. However, the elections are not marked by a jubilant mood. The past few years have seen a very sharp increase in the class struggle. At the same time the political establishment is stumbling from one crisis to another. This is a reflection of the sick nature of capitalism.

A group of ANC veterans led by anti-apartheid stalwart Ronnie Kasrils are urging disgruntled ANC voters, rather than staying home, to either spoil their ballots at the May 7 elections or tactically vote for some of the small opposition parties. They are unhappy with their political home, but don’t have an alternative. The veterans are urging voters to spoil their paper rather than abstain because, in their view, this will send a clear message to the politicians.

On Friday 4 March, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled in favour of the metal union NUMSA’s and Zwelinzima Vavi’s application for the latter’s suspension as COSATU general secretary to be lifted. Vavi had been illegally suspended as the federation’s General Secretary on 14 August 2013.

On February 27, 2014, the Boko Haram sect entered into a Federal Government Secondary school in Yobe and massacred over 60 harmless and innocent school children in their sleep.  It was reported that the army stationed to protect the young students walked away from the gate a few minutes before the attack took place.

Yesterday, 19 March 2014, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) held a one-day strike and national day of action to denounce the policies of the African National Congress (ANC) government which it accuse of “subsidizing capitalists” with tax payers’ money.

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