South Africa

The longest strike in South Africa’s history has ended. For nearly five long months, platinum miners affiliated to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) held out against the arrogance and intransigence of the platinum mine bosses. On Thursday the business press  broke  the news that an “in principle agreement” had been reached between the platinum mines and the union. The markets and the national  currency made strong gains in response. On the same day the workers indicated at mass rallies in Rustenburg that they would accept the latest offer of the mining houses. The companies and the union are expected to sign the agreement soon.

An explosive situation is once again building up in the platinum belt around Rustenburg, as a four month old strike over wages by 70,000 miners has seen the dramatic escalation of tensions in the last few days. Just in the last few hours the state has dispatched the army to assist the already large police contingent in a desperate attempt to break the strike.

The the South African national elections of 7 May resulted in a clear victory to the African National Congress. However beneath the surface the mood is one of anger and disillusionment with the corrupt right-wing leadership of the party through which the masses overthrew the Apartheid regime.

On May 7th, South Africa will hold the 5th national and provincial elections to take place since the downfall of apartheid. This year marks the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections. However, the elections are not marked by a jubilant mood. The past few years have seen a very sharp increase in the class struggle. At the same time the political establishment is stumbling from one crisis to another. This is a reflection of the sick nature of capitalism.

A group of ANC veterans led by anti-apartheid stalwart Ronnie Kasrils are urging disgruntled ANC voters, rather than staying home, to either spoil their ballots at the May 7 elections or tactically vote for some of the small opposition parties. They are unhappy with their political home, but don’t have an alternative. The veterans are urging voters to spoil their paper rather than abstain because, in their view, this will send a clear message to the politicians.

On Friday 4 March, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled in favour of the metal union NUMSA’s and Zwelinzima Vavi’s application for the latter’s suspension as COSATU general secretary to be lifted. Vavi had been illegally suspended as the federation’s General Secretary on 14 August 2013.

Yesterday, 19 March 2014, South Africa’s largest union, the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) held a one-day strike and national day of action to denounce the policies of the African National Congress (ANC) government which it accuse of “subsidizing capitalists” with tax payers’ money.

The South African metal workers union, NUMSA held its much awaited special national congress in Boksburg from 17-20 December to discuss its future and, by implication, the future of the entire South African labour movement after a long period of infighting in the labour federation COSATU and fierce class struggle in South African society. This was the first time ever that the union has had to hold a special congress and signifies the extent to which relations in COSATU and the Tripartite Alliance (ANC, COSATU, and SACP) have deteriorated.

The Nelson Mandela national memorial day turned out horribly wrong for the bourgeoisie, the ANC, and President Jacob Zuma as the masses completely upset the applecart and took center-stage. Around 90 heads of state, presidents, prime ministers, kings, business tycoons and foreign dignitaries from all over the world came to attend the memorial service of former president Nelson Mandela. But these "respectable people" came face to face with a defiant, emotional and raucous proletarian crowd of over 60,000 at the FNB stadium in Soweto. The result was a massive embarrassment for these "respectable people" and especially for President Zuma who was booed amidst an outpouring of raw emotion by

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Nelson Mandela is no more. At about 20:50 on Thursday, 5 December Nelson Rohishlahla Mandela passed away peacefully after a long illness. The news was announced by President Jacob Zuma to a worldwide audience. He was 95 years old.

Thousands of workers, poor people and trade unionists marched from 12-14 November in cities and towns across South Africa against the implementation of anti-worker laws and counter-reforms that have created outrage across the country. The national days of action were called by the trade union federation Cosatu against the implementation of the e-toll system, labour-brokering and the youth wage system.

The National  Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is in the process of gathering the views of its members in preparation for the union’s extraordinary national congress to be held in December. The congress of NUMSA will be held in Ekhurhuleni and will give the union a mandate on how to deal with the ruptures inside the trade union federation COSATU, as well as giving the leadership directions on the way forward. The NUMSA congress will be held ahead of the COSATU extraordinary congress to be held at a later date. Earlier the president of COSATU, S’dumo Dlamini, reluctantly wrote to the affiliates confirming that the congress will be held.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) will hold a special national congress to deal with divisions that have ravaged South Africa's largest labour federation for the last period. The announcement came on August 19th after the three day meeting of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting that was held in Johannesburg. This was after nine affiliated unions wrote to the CEC, requesting such a congress. This represents a step in the right direction for the federation. COSATU's constitution states that for a special congress to be held, at least one third of affiliates (seven) must make such a request. The president of the federation then has 14 days to deal with the

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On Wednesday 14 August South Africa's biggest labour federation, Cosatu is scheduled to hold a special meeting of its Central Executive Committee to discuss the future of its General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. This is only the latest instalment of a series of divisive events that have engulfed Cosatu. At bottom, this reflects a struggle between the right wing and the left wing of the movement.