The South African Federation of Trade Unions joins the millions of angry South Africans who are demanding that Parliament passes the motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma on 8 August 2017.
Zuma, his cabinet and his cronies have forfeited any right to hold any office, as the evidence mounts daily of their crimes which have plunged the country into by far the biggest crisis since the end of apartheid. Their record is outrageous. They have:
Stolen billions of rands in corrupt and illegal transactions, masterminded by the Gupta family, who have bribed a network of ministers, public servants, state-owned enterprise executives and private businesses to channel pubic funds into their pockets. We see so many new revelations every day that it is impossible to calculate just how much has been looted, but it is clearly an enormous amount.
Appointed ministers and civil servants and replaced them with compliant stooges who use their position to facilitate corruption and channeling of funds into the Guptas’ accounts and getting rid of any who refuse to co-operate.
Subverted constitutional structures like the Hawks, NPA and Secret Service agencies which are supposed to be independent, in order to block any legal action against any of the corrupt network and to threaten and spy on whistleblowers and anyone who stands in their way.
Turned the whole country into into a mafia-style, lawless kleptocracy, in which the rule of law and democratic accountability are dead letters.
Bankrupted state-owned enterprises like Eskom, Prasa, SAA and many others by bribing officials to pay out billions to Gupta-linked front companies who get paid for delivering useless goods and services, or for doing nothing at all, and then laundering the money into a bank account. This has directly his workers, consumers and the whole economy which they are supposed to serve.
Transformed the African National Congress from being the leader of a national liberation struggle into a a cringing apologist for a corrupt leadership.
Betrayed all the ANC’s principles of democracy and accountability and a bias towards the workers and the poor by pursuing neoliberal, capitalist economic polices which have led to a deep economic crisis of mass unemployment, poverty and inequality, made even worse by the removal of non-compliant ministers, which was used as a pretext for credit ratings agencies to relegate the economy to junk status and drive South Africa into an even worse economic catastrophe.
Misappropriated revolutionary ideas and slogans from the ANC’s earlier days, such as the categorization of ‘white monopoly capitalism’ and the call for ‘radical economic transformation’ and turned then into empty, demagogic phrase-mongering to try to sound radical, when in practice they are implementing exactly the opposite policies, thus making it harder for genuine revolutionaries to re-legitimise these genuine and relevant ideas.
Discredited the case for public ownership as a result of their mismanagement and bankrupting of SOEs, which has opened the door to privatization, which is on the ANC’s agenda and which will create even more openings for looting.
The ANC leaders in Parliament are desperately trying to herd their MPs into voting against the motion. SAFTU appeals to them to have the courage to vote for what they know is right, regardless of whether the vote is open or secret. They should not have to hide behind secrecy. They are voting for the future of both the country and their own party. They must vote not for the ANC stolen by Zuma and the Guptas, but the ANC they joined, the ANC that voters cast their votes for and above all for the democratic and progressive principles which their leaders have spat on.
This applies even more to the SACP. When its leaders wear their SACP hats they roundly condemn corruption, call for those guilty to be dealt with and demand Zuma’s resignation, but these will be seen as empty rhetoric if their members in Parliament and government vote against the motion of no confidence.
At a time of such a blife-and-death crisis for the people of South Africa it would be outrageous for ‘communists’ to hide behind the feeble excuse that they were elected on an ANC ticket to justify keeping in power a leader now exposed as a corrupt, greedy crook.
SAFTU however has always emphasized that the epidemic of corruption’s is not confined to a small coterie of Zuma, the Guptas and a few cronies. The are just a particularly blatant bad example of the structural corruption which is entrenched in the capitalist system.
Our view has become more and more vindicated, as new evidence appears in the emails, that several large multinational corporations – Bell Pottinger, McKinsey and Company, KPMG and two German giants – have been accused of collusion with Gupta companies in their corrupt deals, and more names are likely follow.
And it spreads beyond the Gupta deals. By coincidence this week a case was reported about a firm – Stuttaford’s Van Lines – which has no known connection with the Gupta family but shows very a very similar modus operandi.
The Competition Commission charged Stuttaford Van Lines with 649 counts of collusive tendering relating to hundreds of government tenders issued for furniture transportation. This included tenders issued by the Presidency, Parliament, the SA Secret Service, the SA Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, SA Revenue Services, the Reserve Bank, the Department of Justice, the Public Protector as well as State-owned enterprises and private companies. Does that not sound familiar?
This is only the latest of a stream of cases brought before the Commission over the last few years into collusion in bread production, dairy price fixing, road construction contracts, data costs, bank charges and the giant multinational Unilever.
In another high-profile case British American Tobacco is being investigated by British authorities over allegations of serious corruption in its operations in African countries.
At least one major capitalist, Magda Wierzycka, said to be the richest woman in South Africa, has been honest in writing that “SA’s economy is drowning in a sea of corruption. It has become an institutional way of doing business, both in the public and the private sectors.”
SAFTU is therefore concerned that many of those most vocal in the #Zumamustfall campaign fail to see this wider picture and thus foster the illusion that if Zuma and the Guptas are prosecuted and punished we shall be able to return to a ‘normal’, law-abiding and constitutional but still capitalist society.
This applies particularly to the march by opposition parties on Tuesday. In SAFTU’s view none of these has any real alternative to the corrupt capitalist system and in the case of the DA enthusiastically support it. The same applies to many of those groups marching on Monday. They are just marching for a return to ‘the status quo’ and delude themselves that the problems of the Zuma era will be resolved by a return to ‘nomal’ capitalism or ‘business as usual.
The underlying problems of a monopoly capitalist system, including its inbuilt corruption, and in South Africa its domination by whites, will remain in place. Workers will continue to be exploited by employers who steal the surplus value created by the workers and constantly try to increase the amount they steal in order to increase their profits.
The solution lies in the very slogan hijacked by the corruptors – ‘radical economic transformation’, but it needs to be changed to ‘socialist economic transformation’ if we are to really transform the economy, the country and people’s lives, through a program of democratic nationalization of the mines, banks and major monopolies under workers control, and a democratically planned society.
Zuma must fall!
Capitalism must fall!