21 SEPTEMBER 2017

INTRODUCTION

While the elite are seized with the election fever for the ruling party, and the ridiculous jostling for power in parliament and the opposition party behaving like scavengers; the majority of South Africans are confronted with unemployment, poverty and violent inequality.

There are numerous structural challenges to the economy, with the tertiary industry outgrowing the primary economy leading to job less growth. The I.T. and banking industry have grown exponentially while the mining and agriculture sector have seen a decline in the operations due to local and international constraints.

Locally corruption, lack of skills, poor beneficiation and diversification has compounded growth and development. Internationally, the global economic crisis,

unfavourable trade agreements, current account deficit – where imports outstrip exports margins, shrinking market, low commodity prices have all weakened the economy significantly.

We wonder if the above is informed by the unwillingness or inability of the State to address these socio – economic challenges.

 

THE CHALLENGES THAT FACES THE STATE ACCORDING TO OUR PERSPECTIVE ARE THE FOLLOWING:

1. To build a multi-racial democratic system

2. To have authority of matters of economic policies

3. Bureaucratic incapacity

  1. Economic system that will address deprivation, poverty and social illnesses inherited from apartheid.
  2. How to deal with internal (illicit financial flows, price fixing by multi international companies) and external pressures (globalization of the economy)
  3. How to address a monopolized economy, this can be achieved by socializing the economy
  4. Failed democratic capitalism (capitalist democracy); combination of democratic political system and capitalist economic system
  5. Failure to get rid of racial capitalism you need a redistribution of wealth to major intervention;
  • to develop social enterprises which is corporative;
  • through the State by land distribution for agricultural purposes;
  • capacitating people for renewable energy / eco-tourism
  • this will encourage people to develop their home stead which will

    address the migrant labour system

 

CURRENT KILLINGS

There is a concerted attack on AMCU targeting its leadership particularly in Rustenburg. These killings seem to be a carefully planned, well-funded hit program on AMCU members by trained, armed and well-resourced hit men who have murdered, injured and attacked people. This is informed by the weapons used.

This looks very much like the third force violence the Apartheid state unleashed on the democratic and workers movement during the negotiations for a political settlement.

The current killing it will be difficult for AMCU to divorce it from 2014 AMCU living wage strike whereby the State used expelled AMCU members to form a rivalry union to destabilize and to break the strike.

We know through the testimony and settlement by the state with Thebe Maswabi, of the security forces involvement in destabilizing AMCU. Having failed to set up a rival

union, having failed at reviving NUM and restoring their majority status – is targeting and killing our members their next move?

As AMCU we condemn these killings and decry the weariness shown by the police to resolve these issues. In 2014, we submitted a s77 application based on violence in the Mining Sector and were denied the right to protest and raise awareness on these killings. In the same year, we made representations before the parliamentary portfolio committee related to killings in the mines. However, to date there has been no concerted efforts from powers that be to nip this in the bud.

The recent killings in the Rustenburg area are worrying and seek to destabilize AMCU as a union. These cases have been escalated to the NPA to get to the bottom of this, we encourage the HAWKS and related institutions to prioritise these killings in the same vein as the political killings in KZN. We will do everything in our power to ensure that all those responsible are brought to book.

 

MINING CHARTER

The charter is an extension of the BBBEE Act and its reformist agenda within the prism of radical economic transformation using the developmental state framework. The construct of the charter and the economic framework are at tangent and pulling in different continuums. The charter is a sequel to a failed charter in 2014 which did not have implementation levers.

As a principle position, AMCU will only recognise the importance of the Charter when it has been streamlined with the MPRDA and is enforceable by law. Current the charter regime is an industry best practice and is not regulated as an Act of parliament. This is why employers can violet this charter without consequence. We need to have important aspects of this charter incorporated into legislation for it to make a meaningful contribution to the mining industry.

 

THE JOB BLOODBATH

Retrenchments are regulated by the LRA in s189 with one of the acceptable reasons in law being to make profits for companies.

The economy is struggling to create jobs. The mining industry has been shedding jobs for a long time and this is not related to the 5 months strike. In sectors where there has been no strikes, the companies continue to shed jobs. There are a lot of reasons provided:

  • South Africa are price takers and yet we have a monopoly of commodities
  • Companies plan for retrenchments in order to make profits and get away from liabilities related to the cost of labour for incapacitated workers with numerous non-curable diseases such as silicosis and environmental damage that the State is left to rehabilitate.
  • These companies prefer to go invest in the USA and other countries leaving South Africa.

 

LIVING WAGE

The share of wages in 1994 was higher than the share of profits, while in 2017, the share of profits has outgrown the share of wages. The profit led neo-liberal agenda supported by GEAR has eroded real wages for South African workers.

The inflation related increases which have guided collective bargaining have managed to successfully create a low wage trap for South African workers.

The levels of inequality between high earning workers and low earning workers are too high, with an average CEO only needing 7 and half hours to earn the average annual wage in South Africa.

The fight for a living wage is challenging the hegemonic economic doctrines in South Africa. Our economy is built on a foundation of cheap labour supported by low skills,

high unemployment, lack on innovation, poor manufacturing base and sluggish technological revolution.

A living wage departs from the profit led economic model and seeks to introduce a wage – led growth model by putting money in the hands of the people in order to stimulate local demand and create a local economy leading to aggregate demand.

The National Minimum Wage will not be able to deal with the plethora of challenges faced by workers and the violence of wage inequality in the labour market.

 

TRADE UNIONS

The theory of trade unions requires that they become instruments to unite workers with the ultimate goal to build class consciousness and overthrow the capitalist system. We have to eliminate exploitation which Marx in his labour theory of value alludes to the purchase of labour at a suboptimal value to its real value, thereby introducing exploitation. This has not been achieved and Aluta continua

Trade unions are under threat with the introduction of atypical forms of employment such as labour broking, sub-contracting and outsourcing threatening the organisation of workers. However, this has not reduced the importance of Trade Unions. With the emergence of mechanisation and the fourth economy, workers need greater protection. The advent of vulnerable workers due to precarious employment conditions, reinforce the importance of trade unions in regulating employment relations.

 

THE BASE SUPERSTRUCTURE APPROACH

Every economic system is supported by a political system. The unfolding neo-liberal agenda in South Africa is supported by a constitutional democracy whose mandate is derived from a flowed constitution delayed with sunset clauses that favour apartheid economic dictates.

The constitutional democratic system is characterised by a multi-party democracy with hundreds of political formations competing for power. This plurality of political

formations based on ideology and other influences has compounded the evolution of our democracy towards being a mature democracy.

This has also seen a blotted state with the three arms of government, executive, parliament and judiciary all dependent on a thin tax regime. The challenge with this is that all these institutions require support systems, backroom staff and further erode unavailable resources.

There is a need to review this electoral system and introduce two party system as is the case in mature democracies e.g. republicans and democrats in the USA and labour party and conservatives in the UK amongst other examples.

 

STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES

There is an opportunity for SOE to drive economic growth in the Country. These need to be properly run with qualified people in order to take over downward and upward opportunities to support the mining sector throughout the business value chain. The SEOs can also stimulate growth by investing in South African manufacturing and stimulate local secondary industries which can lead to job rich growth. The SEOs need not be run along political lines. In any developmental state, you need to separate the State employees from their political parties. The board appointments, executive appointments and staff appointments need to be based on merit and not political deployment.