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Cape Town - 3 November 2016
The present protest around state Capture and the conduct of NPA is credible and legitimate and all South Africans should join it. The reason that all South Africans should join it is because it must lead to solutions that address the real concerns of all South Africans. The fundamental concern in South Africa is that the deepening poverty and inequalities are stopping us from becoming a united nation that can embark on a journey of transformation and prosperity. We must unite to stop the theft and looting of our country, by political and business leaders.
The poverty and inequalities that were caused by Apartheid, was exacerbated by the policies that government embarked on after 1996. These policies have seen the Government force Companies to give politically connected BEE individuals 25% of the Company wealth, whilst the workers still earned poverty wages. The BEE beneficiaries did not raise the fact that the workers must earn decent wages, or that the company must beneficiate the minerals before they export it, so that more jobs can be created.
The BEE beneficiaries like Sipho Pityana and Cheryl Carolus, took their new earned wealth and started legitimising the apartheid ownership structure, whilst they lived lavish lifestyles. The BEE beneficiaries conveniently forgot about the liberation value system that was contained in the Freedom Charter. The BEE beneficiaries sought policies that benefited the present economic ownership structure that spurned 30% unemployment levels and greater inequalities than under Apartheid. There was no outrage and indignation about the effect that GEAR policies had on poor people. The BEE beneficiaries sang the praises of the conservative Finance Ministers that advanced a neo-liberal agenda, which benefited the old apartheid economic structure of mainly white ownership, with their black friends.
This fundamental policy and political challenge caused by the ANC Government, has led to black people’s unemployment and impoverishment. The situation of the non- political elite, black people, gets worse every day, whilst the effect of these policies lead to the Mercedes of the whites and BEE blacks getting bigger every day.
Of course the state Capture is a problem, the corruption of institutions is a problem, the theft of money and corruption in the state is a problem. But what is also a problem, is the historical grand theft of apartheid, the domination of whites of the economy, as well as the enrichment of the new BEE elite at the cost of black workers and communities. These developments listed above, lead to the growing levels of poverty and inequality and social strive in South African society
Let’s fix all of these problems, now that we are aware of them and now that we are willing to act against them in a new found unity. But remember that whilst we must unite in this struggle around common values, we cannot be led in this struggle by those who have benefitted from the past impoverishment of our country and people. In the squabble amongst the thieves, no one leads a struggle against themselves. Let’s capture the state through Democracy and use it for the benefit of all its citizens, to bring about a more just and equal South Africa
Tony Ehrenreich is the Provincial Secretary of Cosatu
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