SAFTU MOURNS THE KILLING OF ELVIS NYATHI
The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) calls on the poor and marginalised working-class community of Diepsloot – and all other townships and villages – to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands. There should be no basis for vigilante groups, not even when government fails to provide safety, jobs and decent education system.
SAFTU is disappointed that the working class is now turning against each other instead of directing its anger against the ANC government that has betrayed them, together with the
capitalist system that is by design reproducing unemployment, poverty, inequalities and endemic corruption.
We mourn the dreadful and the horrendous killing of Elvis Nyathi. He was an innocent, poor migrant who lived in Diepsloot with his wife. We also mourn the killings of scores of other Diepsloot residents over a long period of time, as a result of degenerating safety conditions. In our view, these killings epitomises the daily experience of South Africans, 58 of whom die every day in our streets.
We appeal to the working class not to be sucked into shifting blame away from the government and the capitalist system, onto other equally desperate African citizens who are dealing with – and in many cases escaping – similar crises in their own countries.
We call for unity of the working class across our region and continent, so that we all direct our anger against those who have failed our country’s black majority.
SAFTU condemns movements like Operation Dudula and #PutSouthAfricaFirst for scapegoating migrant labour for the economic and social ills of the country.
SAFTU argues that even if these rightwing forces were to succeed in driving out the estimated 2,5 million migrant workers, the crisis of unemployment which now officially stands at nearly 50% of society – and far higher ratios of black people, youth and women will remain intact. Inequalities that have made us the most class-divided society in the world will not be solved by driving migrants out, nor will xenophobia against fellow Africans
lower the levels of poverty, crime, unemployment and inequality.
In the Police Ministry’s 2020/2021 report, we learned that there are 143 471 commissioned and non-commissioned officers and staff. In the same period, the SAPS had lost a net
5 200 employees, and according to reports early this year, it was reported that they are going to lose a further 13 000 cops (11 000 non-commissioned and 2 000 detectives) in
the next three years (including 2022).
Using the 2020/2021 financial year’s report, the police to population ratio is 1:418. This ratio reveals an incapacitated police force. And SAPS budget cuts have also affected the
maintenance of police vehicles and stations, procurement of equipment, and even the ability to communicate. We must object to how incapacitated the SAPS is to fight criminality
– both white collar and street crime – but instead of uniting the working class to fight budget cuts, opportunists use the anger of our people to generate anti-migrant sentiments.
SAFTU reiterates, our problems are not caused by African and Asian immigrants, but are created by capitalism — a system that is predicated on enriching the few at the expense of the majority.
Capitalism has failed us and simply cannot deliver the goods, whether in terms of the labour market, the housing market, the township retail market, and our region – since the devastation other countries have faced in the world economy has caused some of the migration, with South Africans partly to blame in the extractive industries and other sites. A new form of migration we anticipate much more of is climate refugees – and again, we
must also look to the cause at South African capitalism, whose vested interested in highcarbon electricity is a major factor in climate catastrophies such as cyclones, droughts and other extreme weather. Neighbouring Mozambique is the fourth-worst hit country on earth over the past twenty years, according to the main “climate risk” index.
We call on unemployed workers and youth of Diepsloot and other working-class areas to redirect their anger from immigrants – who clearly are used as scapegoats by the ideological apparatus of capitalism – towards the capitalist system and its puppet
governments, like Pretoria.
Migrants are not causing our social woes. The failures of our government and the failures of the capitalist system are responsible for our socio-economic woes. Progressives in our
communities must join hands in combating misinformation and deception that seek to paint immigrants as the cause of all our social problems.
To address communities’ legitimate concerns against crime, Finance Minister Enoch Godonwana must reverse his budget cuts, not only for policing but for all other social
Even during the ongoing pandemic, Godongwana is making vast cuts in health services the next few years: a 4.3% annual reduction after adjusting for anticipated inflation. What
this means in concrete terms is a massive reduction in funding per healthcare user: R5 267 in 2021/22; R5 036 in 2022/23; R4 538 in 2023/24; and R4 465 in 2024/25.
Rahima Moosa Hospital in Johannesburg’s Coronationville neighbourhood recently came into the spotlight when a video of pregnant women sleeping on the floor was shared publicly. The Johannesburg city council politician responsible, Ashley Sauls, tried to scapegoat the incapacity of the hospital on patients who are “foreign nationals,” forgetting to mention the Treasury’s brutal austerity.
We insist on a transition to socialism, not only because this is how our own humanity and respect for all life can be expressed – but because it is abundantly evident that South African capitalism is so utterly unsuited for this country, as the new labour statistics and ongoing community service delivery grievances prove yet again.