By Staff Reporter
National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) General Secretary Irvin Jim says the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as President of South Africa shall reinforce ANC government’s pursuit for neoliberal capitalist policies that are oppressive to the working class.
And Jim says it is also important to note that the humiliating removal of Jacob Zuma as republican President was well deserved.
In a statement yesterday following the election of Ramaphosa as President on Thursday, Jim called on the workers to remain vigilant as the neoliberal materialist culture of grotesque inequalities, conspicuous consumption and corruption would continue.
He warned that only this time under President Ramaphosa, the disguises would be much more effective.
“NUMSA views the appointment of Cyril Ramaphosa to the position of President of the Republic of South Africa, as a new era in the war against workers and the working class majority in the country,” he stated. “Ramaphosa as president is not a victory for workers. We must expect a more diligent, effective and ruthless pursuit of neoliberal capitalist policies by the ANC government”.
Jim said the revolutionary labour union was under no illusions about what a Ramaphosa presidency means for the working class as he was most favorable to South African white monopoly capital and imperialism.
“Furthermore, Ramaphosa is personally responsible for the mass murder of 34 striking miners in Marikana in the North West in 2012. With a simple email he used his influence to sentence the workers at Lonmin mines to death for daring to protest against inhuman living and working conditions,” he said.
Jim said at the time, President Ramaphosa was a senior executive at Lonmin and as one of those who founded the National Union of Mineworkers and could have used his negotiating skills to de-escalate the tensions at the mine between workers and management, but he chose instead to defend capital at the expense of workers.
He said President Ramaphosa may manage to create a semblance of unity between the black capitalists who were created and survive by stealing from the government through tenders, those who are beneficiaries of “shares” from imperialism and White Monopoly Capital like himself.
“The trouble, however, is that poverty, unemployment and inequalities suffered by the majority black and African working class will deepen. Make no mistake, he is ruthless,” Jim said.
He said President Ramaphosa and his capitalist ‘gang of looters’ would sustain neoliberal capitalist South Africa by among other methods, driving legislation to limit the right to strike by the workers while introducing a national minimum wage of R20 per hour.
“They want to create a permanent pool of cheap labour which will not have the power to strike for better conditions. Legitimate demands for a living wage will be ignored,” Jim said.
He also warned that there would be increased use of the police to regulate, violently, the behavior of impoverished striking workers and their communities and increased use of state surveillance, the army, and all sorts of laws to diminish even the little liberal freedoms the working class secured for themselves through the 1994 “negotiated settlement”.
Jim warned that a clever combination of these measures would see the country easily sliding into some kind of fascist state in which brute force will be key to sustaining the capitalist class.
He urged the working class to mobilize themselves as a class for themselves this time around, if they are to win the war against their oppression and exploitation from South African capitalists of all colors in alliance with imperialism.
“NUMSA will intensify its contribution to this struggle. Already chronic mass unemployment of working class youths has engineered violent crime in all our working class communities and reduced our lives into a state of undeclared civil war,” he said. “We suffer from inferior education, substandard housing and the majority continue to be denied basic social amenities. We die from the most easily curable diseases and we suffer starvation and hunger. These conditions will worsen, from now on”.
Jim said President Ramaphosa was the president of austerity measures and had been driving a neo-colonial agenda describing him, “a Trump of our time.”
He warned that radical economic transformation would continue to be a myth, despite the desperate need to transform the economy to benefit the working class majority.
“Instead Ramaphosa and the ANC will continue to endorse macro-economic policies which will concentrate and centralize wealth in a way which will reflect our racist past. This is why Ramaphosa is the ‘Darling’ of the business world. He negotiated the original CODESA deal which sealed our fate as the working class through a bourgeoisie constitution,” Jim said.
He called on the working class of all races in South Africa to unite and organize themselves into a socialist conquering force, a revolutionary socialist workers party, to uproot South African capitalism.
“If we fail to do this, poverty, unemployment, everyday violent protests in our working class communities and civil war will continue,” Jim said.
And Jim said Zuma’s inglorious exit from power is fitting punishment for his treacherous betrayal of the African working class.