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 the masses.

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 logistics of holding the congress, including setting a date.

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.

Two weeks have passed since thousands of vineyard farm workers from the area of De Doorns in the Western Cape went on strike. They are demanding that their daily slave wage be doubled to a minimum of 150 rand ($17) per day; currently they are earning R69.39 per day. But there is more behind this genuine issue of low wages. In our “democratic era” since the fall of Apartheid, this is and will probably be the longest period on strike for these farm workers in this region.

Floyd Shivambu was a leading member of the South African Students Congress (SASCO) as well as a leading member of the Young Communist League (from which he was suspended in 2010). As a leading member of the ANC YL he played a key part in developing this organisation’s stance on the need to nationalise the mines which has now become a central issue of the political debate in the revolutionary movement in South Africa.

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