By Staff Reporter
South Africa’s working class, united under the socialist revolutionary banner of SAFTU (South African Federation of Trade Unions), have vehemently rejected the ruling African National Congress’ repackaged old neoliberal and austerity programmes that they say have dismally failed for the past 24 years.
Commenting on the outcome of the Jobs Summit held in that country from October 4 to 5, but which SAFTU and its affiliates snubbed, the Federation pointed out that the outcome of the meeting confirmed all its worst fears and vindicated SAFTU’s decision to decline the invitation to attend as an observer and be associated with a sham process.
“It produced nothing but empty rhetoric and no solutions to the catastrophe which has led to South Africa having one of the world’s six highest levels of unemployment; that has left almost 10 million workers with no job. We have the appalling levels of poverty, among both the unemployed and their families and thousands of employed workers as well, almost zero economic growth and the most unequal society in the world,” a SAFTU press release read. “
“’The Summit Framework Agreement, a massive 84-page document released early on the first day of the gathering, was, obviously drafted well in advance – making a mockery of the idea that the event was a platform for a free exchange of views from the Nedlac constituencies. They failed to condemn, or even to acknowledge, that the underlying cause of the crisis was the failure of successive governments, in alliance with white monopoly capital and global financial institutions, to transform the economy from the one which we inherited from the years of colonialism and apartheid. The natural resources of South Africa are still plundered by multi-national corporations to be imported back as finished products, rather than to be manufactured here in a growing manufacturing industry which could have created thousands of new jobs and drawn millions more people into economic activity.”
SAFTU in explaining why it would not attend the Summit noted that business and government were the cause rather than the solution of the crisis.
“They have pursued an economic strategy which started with GEAR and continued with the National Development Plan and which is enforced by the credit ratings agencies, based on neo liberal, pro-market policies which only prioritise the amassing of as much profits as quickly as possible for a super-rich elite,” SAFTU said. “For as long as government stays on this course, there was never any prospect of the Summit deciding on anything that would turn the tide, or to create jobs at the rate required even to reach the National Planning Commission’s newly amended target for unemployment in 2030 to reach a still huge level of 14%.”
South Africa, according to SAFTU, should follow the path taken by ‘jailed’ former president Lula of Brazil who raised minimum wages and social grants.
“This led to an economic boom, as far more money was being spent, which turned the wheels of the economy and created more jobs to meet the higher demand for goods and services,” the Federation suggested in part. “In the long run however, there will never be jobs for all under a capitalist system, which exploits workers in order to amass profits and then discards them when profits fall. The solution must be a new democratic socialist order, with the nationalisation of the mines, banks, and monopoly industrial companies so that the wealth created by the labour of the working class is owned, controlled and shared by the working people and not a super-rich elite.”