The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) is alarmed at continued reports that President Zuma is trying to dismiss Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, on the basis of yet another “intelligence report” from anonymous sources alleging that the minister is at the centre of a plot, Operation Checkmate, to overthrow the state and were using their overseas road show to turn international bankers against the South African government.
Such bogus “intelligence reports” have already been used to try to discredit Zwelinzima Vavi, Thuli Madonsela, Julius Malema and Constitutional Court judges.
Reports suggest that Zuma’s desperation to find any such incredible excuse to sack the ministers is that his pay-masters, the Gupta family, face a crisis at the end of the month when the last bank in which they still have accounts is going to close them down, in line with other banks. They want Zuma to appoint a finance minister who will bend the rules and find ways to reopen bank accounts for them.
Zuma is thus handing over the fate of the country to a faction of corrupt, crony capitalists in league with corrupt political leaders, who are solely interested in looting the economy, and enriching themselves, at the expense of the people of South Africa.
This is the reality of the system of capitalism, a system which enriches an elite minority, who exploit their workers and leave the poor majority and humanity as a whole with a crisis of mass unemployment, hunger and ignorance, all of which will continue in perpetuity if this system remains in place.
The ANC government embraced the worst kind of cut-throat free-market capitalist fundamentalism. This arose from the negotiated settlement which led to the democratic breakthrough of 1994 but which also guaranteed the continuation of monopoly, white-owned capitalism and brutal austerity programmes. This neoliberal agenda has been spearheaded by successive presidents, ministers and cabinets, policed by the rating agencies, with their blackmail threats to downgrade the economy and thus dry up investment.
As a result we have become the most unequal society in the world with one of the worst levels of unemployment and 14-million facing hunger. This is at the heart of the ANC crisis of governance, made even worse by the domination of the Zuma/Gupta faction which is hell-bent on creating the worst possible type of corrupt and unaccountable capitalism.
The resultant factional battle within the ANC now threatens to hand over the whole country and liberation project to the most backward elements in society, reflected in the rise of racism, chauvinism, patriarchy, nyaope/wonga drug abuse and crime.
Allowing Zuma and his ANC faction to continue what they are doing will leave us with no future, when our country will have been mortgaged to the Guptas, or to the Russian/French/ Chinese or Americans capitalists through things like the nuclear deal. That is what is at stake now.
But as we fight let’s be careful that our campaign is distinct from any campaigns by the very capitalists who are exploiting workers. We must not fight in defence of those implementing austerity measures and neoliberal programmes, which includes all ANC factions who are responsible for the worsening material conditions of the working class. We are not acting in the interests of any individual but against an economic system which is taking us en route to a form of capitalism in which there is no accountability.
The beneficiaries of our campaign must be the working class and the poor majority. If we miss this chance to bring about real change then we would have acted in the interests of our class enemies.
The working class must lead and their new federation SAFTU is the only weapon workers have! If Zuma and his cronies pull the trigger tonight or tomorrow and any other day and carry through the sacking of Gordhan and Jonas our response will be to symbolically occupy the offices of the Treasury immediately, to block the Guptas from taking over those buildings and to remain until our demands are met.
SAFTU calls on all workers to be ready to act! Time for theorizing but doing nothing belongs to the past! Defend your country! Defend your children’s future! Put on your running shoes and track suits – don’t forget red shirts and red caps