SA’s metalworkers celebrate 63 years of Freedom Charter


By Staff Reporter

South Africa’s radical metalworkers union says the Freedom Charter remains a decisive political programme that represents the aspirations of the working class and the poor 63 years after it was adopted.


Mbuso Ngubane, leftist NUMSA’s regional secretary for Kwa-Zulu Natal, stated in a press release that it is this historic Congress of the People that adopted a revolutionary political programme for a future democratic South Africa post-liberation.


“The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) joins the progressive bloc in celebrating 63 years of the Freedom Charter, as adopted by the Congress of the People, in 1955, Kliptown. It was this historic gathering that adopted a revolutionary political programme as encapsulated in the Freedom Charter for a future and democratic South Africa post liberation,” Ngubane stated. “The Freedom Charter remains a decisive political programme that represents popular aspirations of the working class and the poor. Hence, it served as a glue that kept the nationalists and socialists in an Alliance for decades.”


But Ngubane noted that the fast-fading ANC-led Alliance, since it ascended to power, has failed to champion the key socio-economic demands of the Freedom Charter.


“It is part of this reason that the electoral support of the ANC-led Alliance has declined significantly, on the basis that the current leadership is fixated with championing a neoliberal and right-wing agenda that serves the rich and big business,” the statement reads. “We call on the working class to observe the 63 years of this historic gathering by unifying around a political programme that will give practical action for the realization of the full and radical implementation of the Freedom Charter.”


He said this requires the working class to begin realising that the ANC will never deliver anything that advances the interest of the working class and the poor.


“The ‘New Dawn’ championed by billionaire ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, dressed as a revolutionary programme, is meant to send the working class into slumber, whilst neoliberal reforms are parachuted to squeeze the working class,” Ngubane pointed out. “The ‘New Dawn’ is not different from the ideological fog of a ‘good story to tell’ that was punted by ANC-led Alliance leaders during the last 2014 national and provincial elections. The ‘New Dawn’ will continue to trap the working class and the poor into the fringes of capitalist economy; and push the unemployed further to remain a wretched world, render them street beggars; drug-sniffers; crime-offenders; and cheap laborers, amidst the brutality  of  capitalism.”


NUMSA observed that under the ANC-led Alliance, levels of poverty have skyrocketed; unemployment rate has escalated and corruption has risen to uncontrollable levels.


“Public health-care has collapsed, and public education continues to reproduce cheap labour for capitalist owned industries. This has effectively rendered our country helpless and doomed. This requires a new political leadership that is committed and willing to act in the interest of the best majority,” Ngubane stated further. “Already, South Africa is amongst the most unequal societies on earth, thanks to the ANC-led Alliance government for driving neoliberal reforms as prescribed by International Monetary Fund (IMF); World Bank and Ratings Agencies, as opposed to driving a revolutionary agenda as prescribed in the Freedom Charter.”


Ngubane urged that it was high time the working class, as a class for itself, plays an active role in building the Revolutionary Socialist Worker’s Party, in order to realise its desired future and demands.


“Hence, the ANC’s electoral support should continue to decline sharply, in order for the new to be born,” stated Ngubane. “NUMSA remains committed to the fulfillment of the Freedom Charter goals. It is within this context that NUMSA took a principled stand to withdraw its political support for the ANC-led Alliance government. The ANC has openly failed to act in the interest of the working class and the poor.”




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