The South African Federation of Trade Unions demands the immediate resignation of President Jacob Zuma and his entire cabinet.
This follows the shocking revelations in the report on “How South Africa Is Being Stolen” and the emails published in the Sunday Times and City Press, which both provide conclusive proof of undemocratic manipulation of government appointments in order to facilitate the systematic looting of South Africa’s wealth by a network of government leaders and capitalist businesses, led by Zuma and the Gupta family.
Zuma has previously complained to his critics: “If I am not told what I have done wrong, I cannot correct my mistakes because I don’t know what I have done wrong.” But he cannot hide behind this plea any longer. We now know that the Gupta family:
• Were sent Mosebenzi Zwane’s CV a month before he was appointed minister of mineral resources;
• Intervened to have the powers of the then communications minister, Faith Muthambi, strengthened and were forwarded a presidential proclamation detailing her powers by Muthambi herself before it was signed by Zuma;
• Received confidential information on cabinet meetings from Muthambi;
• Paid for Des van Rooyen’s trip to Dubai after his appointment to the cabinet in December 2015;
• Arranged for Denel director Dan Mantsha to be chauffeured around Dubai;
• Paid for a deluxe suite for Matshela Koko – subsequently appointed acting CEO of Eskom – at the luxurious Oberoi Hotel in Dubai;
• Were asked by an SAA board member to get him onto the board of Transnet;
• Had staff coach Zwane on how to handle media conferences, including questions about his relationship with the Guptas. He flew on a Gupta jet to Dubai and they picked up the tab for his accommodation; and
• Had their company’s CEO, Nazeem Howa, prepare notes for ANC Youth League president Collen Maine advising him on how to respond to media questions.
No more evidence is needed to prove that Zuma and the Guptas have been lying to the people of South Africa and deploying their accomplices into key positions in government and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in order to manipulate tenders in order to enrich themselves and their families.
They have bankrupted institutions including Eskom, SAA , PetroSA, SABC and Transnet and the down-grading of the South African economy to junk status. They have undermined institutions which are meant to protect democracy and human rights, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks, by deploying and rewarding malleable and compromised individuals who will make sure the looters are safe from prosecution and have dismissed those who refused to co-operate.
The biggest victims of this, as always are the working class and the poor. These corrupt politicians and business people have stolen millions of rands worth of resources which are desperately needed to improve service delivery, create jobs, build schools, provide healthcare and increase social grants so as to fill their own pockets.
The ANC leadership on the national executive committee have yet again spinelessly refused to take any disciplinary action against any of those involved in this looting, despite their actions being a clear violation of the ANC’s own disciplinary code. The have called for a commission of inquiry into the allegations contained in the former Public Protector’s “State of Capture” report, but know that only Zuma himself can call such an inquiry.
The is why SAFTU demands that the resignation of the President and the cabinet, though recognizing that corruption is a much wider problem. It is not confined to the Zuma/Guptas but is inherent in a capitalist system which is based on the exploitation of workers and consumers by a wealthy elite who are driven by a ruthless pursuit of profit regardless of the damage this inflicts on society.
The authors of “How South Africa Is Being Stolen” link the phenomenon of what they call a “silent coup” to the ANC government’s adoption of neoliberal free-market capitalist policies and its ditching of the Freedom Charter, the 1969 Morogoro Declaration, and the RDP.
In particular they identify outsourcing of public services as a key factor. “Over the last 20 years the value of goods and services that government purchases, largely from the private sector, has grown to between R400 and R500 billion a year. This figure is testament to the near complete outsourcing of government’s core functions… Essentially government has become a massive tender-generating machine.”
This, they say, “constitutes the core of what could in theory be a system for allocating beneficial rents to drive development. In reality it has provided many opportunities for entrenching clientelism and patronage networks that become dependent on the favour of those who make the decisions at the top of the pyramid.”
These capitalist policies have turned villains into millionaires, impoverished the people, disrupted service delivery and turned education and healthcare into a privilege. The ANC government has created the environment for double-dealing, for institutionalised theft, for undermining oversight, for disempowering our people, and for allowing unfettered looting.
Zuma and his allies have tried to portray their criminal acts as part of a move to promote black economic empowerment and attack “white monopoly capitalism”, but this is empty demagogy which they have done nothing to take forward.
23 years after the ending apartheid, white males still dominate the highly monopolized capitalist economy and they first captured the state in the years colonialism and apartheid, a dominant position which was guaranteed in the 1994 settlement and the 1996 constitution, But Zuma’s government has done virtually nothing to break their power and dominance and have only now, 23 years later, identified it as a problem.
Zuma has not only failed to end white monopoly capitalism but, on the contrary his government embodies all the worst features of the system they pretend to be fighting. The only difference is that the white capitalists hide behind the constitution to defend their power and privilege while Zuma and the Guptas are happy to subvert it and act outside the law.
There is thus a faction fight between two gangs of rich exploiters, neither of whom have any interest in improving the lives of their workers, poor communities or the country as a whole. The same factions now have their proxies within the ANC leadership, with Cyril Ramaphosa as the representative of the mainstream, white capitalist class against the corrupt pro-Zuma “premier league” capitalists.
SAFTU supports neither faction but recognizes that we have a vacuum which must be filled with a new leadership defending and promoting the independent interests of the working class and the poor, one committed to the full implementation of the Freedom Charter and genuine radical socio-economic transformation so that the people shall share in the country`s wealth.
SAFTU wants to address the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality by transforming the structure of our economy, through decisive state intervention in key sectors of the economy, including nationalisation of the banks, mines and monopoly industries, the de-commercialisation of existing SOEs and the use of macro-economic and other levers at the state’s disposal, to drive industrialisation, sustainable development, decent employment creation and regional development, and to break historical patterns of colonial exploitation and dependence.
All this must be done democratically, with the full involvement of, and accountability to, all the people, with all workers directly employed by all SOEs and with no place for any people who want to get rich from tenders and contracts.
Patrick Craven, Acting SAFTU Spokesperson: 061 636 6057