National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it is not celebrating Freedom Day because the working class has little to celebrate. Numsa says the hope that followed the 1994 first democratic elections that centuries of colonial subjugation and suffering would be brought to an end, has been dashed.
“We believed that democracy would mean equality and freedom for us and for our children. Unfortunately, history has shown how wrong we were. Twenty-seven years after the working class paid the ultimate price with their blood to end the Apartheid system, the African majority remains enslaved by the bondage of poverty, unemployment and crippling inequality,” says the union in a statement.
The union laments the fact that South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world.
“It is a country where according to Oxfam, the average white male CEO earns the same as 461 Black women in the bottom 10 per cent of earners, and where the richest 20% control, 70% of the country’s resources. Almost half the population lives in abject poverty, according to Stats South Africa 49.2% of the population over the age of 18 falls below the upper-bound poverty line. This has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds Numsa’s Phakamile Majola-Hlubi.
According to Stats SA, during the pandemic at least 1.4 million workers lost their jobs, raising the expanded definition of unemployment rate to a staggering 42.6%.
“Included in those stats are job losses at SOEs like SAA where more than 3 000 workers lost their jobs, and at Eskom where at least 2 000 have jobs have been cut. More job losses are expected because SOEs are being actively being restructured for the benefit of private capital,” says Numsa.
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Numsa went on to blame governing African National Congress (ANC), calling it an absolute failure.
“The governing ANC has been a dismal failure in addressing the most important challenge facing our country, namely unemployment, poverty and inequality, and this was the case before covid-19 arrived on our shores,” says Numsa.
It accuses the ANC of having betrayed its historic mission in order to pander to the demands of neo-liberal factions of capital.
“Treasury is leading the attack against the working class by implementing an austerity budget with drastic cost cutting measures which are directly targeting ordinary working class families,” it concludes.
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Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)