The South African Federation of Trade unions warmly welcomes President Jacob Zuma’s resignation. This is long overdue!
Zuma betrayed the working class of this country. He conned many into believing that he had the working class’s interests in his heart, but he proved through his actions that he is the most self-centered and self-serving leader only concerned about his self-preservation.
We are encouraged by the recent activities of the Hawks and call on Cyril Ramaphosa to waste no time in appointing a credible Director of Public Prosecutions and to launch a concerted campaign to dismantle the networks created during the Zuma presidency.
As we close the Jacob Zuma chapter, SAFTU is fully cognitive of the reality that the nightmare the working class faced remains! Unemployment was a huge problem during the colonial and apartheid era; it is a problem that worsened under the 24 years of the ANC rule.
Jacob Zuma inherited a catastrophic unemployment rate at 23.7%, when only counting workers actively searching for work. He worsened that already terrible situation, leaving office when the unemployment is 26,7%. This alone underlined the correctness of the SAFTU position that we have a ANC problem and not necessarily a Zuma problem per se. Zuma is a creation of the ANC, not the other way around.
Poverty was a huge problem facing the black working class during the colonial and apartheid era. But poverty worsened during the 24 years, not 10 years, of ANC rule. In 2011, 27 million South Africans were living in poverty. In 2015 that number increased to 30 million. This can’t be possibly blamed on one member of the ANC who enjoyed a total and unconditional support from his party throughout his misrule.
Colonialism and apartheid created inequalities as a deliberate policy to the subjugated black majority., yet inequality worsened over the past 24 years of ANC rule. Today we have the infamous title of being the country with worst inequality in the whole world! This has little to do with the disastrous Zuma presidency, but ANC policies that produced these conditions.
Workers face the reality of a deepening deindustrialisation. Farmworkers face the reality of R1380 minimum wage; informal sector workers return to their pauper status. Overall it’s business as usual. Those with property and land keep their positions and those facing property hunger and landlessness face that reality.
The introduction of minimum wages of R20 an hour, R18 for farm workers, R15 for domestic workers and R11 per hour for EPWP workers is a reality we will continue to face. The threat to undermine the hard-won right to strike remains.
Working people will go sleep in their gang-infested townships and villages where justice is a pipe dream. They will wake up to the reality of the lack of public transport system that is reliable, accessible, safe and affordable. They will continue to be asked to pay for using the best infrastructure through e-tolls!
Their children will continue to attend dysfunctional public schools. The reality of the dysfunctional public health that results in many preventable deaths as we saw in the Life Esidimeni saga will continue.
It’s not yet uhuru for the working class! That’s why we have called on them to remain mobilized and in discussions on how we should respond to this worsening situation!