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On 3 September 1984, the Vaal Triangle, which is located southeast of Johannesburg and was part of the industrial heartland of South Africa, exploded into unrest. A general stay-away from work was called, schools were closed, buses and taxis stood idle and militant protest spread across the country. It was the most significant and large-scale rebellion of the black working class since the Soweto Uprising of June, 1976, and signified one of the final nails in the coffin of apartheid and white minority rule.For the black working class living in the townships across the Vaal Triangle, such as Sharpeville, Sebokeng, Evaton, Bophelong, Boiketlong, Zamdela and others the conditions were very similar to those of today. A slump in the steel industry had led to many workers being retrenched, there were evictions of rent defaulters and bribery, corruption and self-enrichment of local councillors was rife. Councillors’ election promises went unfulfilled and township residents demanded their resignation; allegedly threatening that they would set fire to their houses should they fail to do so.
Thirty-one years later, on 21 April 2015, the Sebokeng Magistrate’s Court in the Vaal sentenced four community activists from Boiketlong to sixteen years in prison each for allegedly setting fire to the local ward councillor’s house and cars during a protest action.
Karl Marx once said that history repeats itself, first as a tragedy then as a farce. A case in point is that in South Africa sections of the left are once again calling for a mass workers’ party (MWP) to be formed to contest elections – this they believe will bring us closer to revolution. History says otherwise.Of course the new calls for a MWP stem from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) breaking from the African National Congress (ANC). As an outcome NUMSA is exploring the possibility of setting up a MWP to contest elections. Many Marxist and leftist influenced organisations, but also cadres within NUMSA, are therefore providing reasons why activists should be interested in such a party.
There has been much hype, amongst the media and sections of the public, in the run up to this year’s provincial and national elections in South Africa and, for some, the arrival of new parties to the electoral arena has renewed their faith in the possibility of an electoral solution to the myriad of problems facing South Africa. Politicians from across all parties have been using this hype and a seemingly renewed faith in the ballot box to their advantage.The question, therefore, is: can equality, socialism, national liberation or ‘economic freedom’ – or even a respite from state violence – for a majority be brought about through parties and activists entering into the state or through voting for parties that promise not to use the state for violent or oppressive means; or will this only lead to a dead-end for the working class yet again?
southern africa / migration / racism Sunday December 15, 2013 23:39 by Shawn Hattingh and Lucien van der Walt
The destruction of the apartheid state form, with its odious policies of coercion and racism, was a major triumph for the working class in South Africa and elsewhere, showing that ordinary people can challenge and defeat systems that seem quite unbreakable. Mandela did play a heroic role, but was also the first to admit that “It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people, the workers, the peasants, the doctors, the clergy." And indeed, it was the black working class, above all, that through struggle tore down many features of apartheid by the late 1980s, such as the pass law system, the Group Areas Act and numerous other odious laws and policies.
Umthetho sisekelo walelizwe uthembisa amalungelo epolitiki nokulingana kwabantu. Kucacile ukuthi osozimali nosomapolitiki bazenzela umathanda. Banyathela ubuso babantu baseMzansi. Isibonelo esidumile esamaphoyisa ebulala abasebenzi bezimayini zaseLonmin Marikana.Abantu! Kumele sibhekane neqiniso. Uhulumeni we-ANC nezikhulu zosozimali yibona abashaya isicathulo. Indlela yokwenziwa kwezinto eMzansi yenza abanemali neziqumama bakhukhumale. Abasebenzi nabahlupheki bazabalaze. Asinasisekelo. Uyasebenza, kodwa awukwazi ukuphila. Amanani okudla ayanyuka ngala. UGESI uyanyuka ngale. Kumele sikhokhe? Ngani? Mesizabalaza sigqugquzelana, siyadutsulwa.
Sat 10 Oct, 20:35
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