29 August 2014

South Africa: Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim On Nkandla and Public Protector

press release

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has noted the sustained, savage and vicious attacks directed at the Public Protector from the ANC and the SACP.

The attacks have now assumed very dangerous conspiratorial connotations: that the Public Protector may have deliberately timed her letter to the President, and its leaking to the media, to coincide with the EFF's legitimate demands for straight answers from the President in Parliament.

There can be no better measure of the degree of rot, corruption and complete loss of revolutionary morality in the ANC and the SACP than the fact that in a country in which:

Average household size is 3.4, but is roughly 5 for African households;

Among Africans 55% live in dwellings with less than 3 rooms and 21% live in 1-room dwellings;

At least 50% of White households lives in dwellings with no less than 4 rooms;

Over-crowding and squalid conditions of existence are the order of the day for the Black and African working class; and

For the majority of the South African population, they live in small houses that are not consistent with household size!

Every day, across the country, there is violent conflict among the Black and African working class communities for access to houses, and these conflicts are compounded by the manipulation of housing lists and corruption in the allocation of the RDP houses. Meanwhile the President has had built and installed for himself mere “security upgrades”, and not the actual homestead, at an extremely extravagant cost of more than a quarter of a billion rands!

We further know that in 2010 more than 50 000 RDP houses had to be rebuilt because of poor workmanship.

In these circumstances, the President of the African National Congress and simultaneously President of South Africa has had a quarter of a billion Rands spent on “upgrades” on his village kraal at Nkandla.

Kindly note that “upgrades” should not include the actual cost of erecting all the structures in this homestead, at Nkandla!

The Freedom Charter says:

“All people shall have the right to live where they choose, be decently housed, and to bring up their families in comfort and security.”

The ANC and its alliance are supposed to be implementing the Freedom Charter for all the people of South Africa and not for one family!

Why is there no one in the ANC/SACP/COSATU alliance willing to openly condemn not just the looting and corruption by government officials and those corruptly involved in the so called “security upgrades”, but more importantly, to openly and publicly condemn the President of the ANC and South Africa for this kind of extreme abuse of state resources for one person and his family when 4 000 000 (four million) Africans cram into one roomed “houses” 20 years after our “democratic breakthrough”?

More than 25 million Africans cram into houses with less than three rooms. And the President of the country, with the full knowledge of the intelligence and police ministries, spends more than R250 000 000 (two hundred and fifty million Rands) on his homestead, and we all must believe he was neither aware nor involved in the financing of his homestead.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa condemns in the strongest terms the vicious attacks directed at the Office and person of the Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonseila. She is, and has simply done her job very well, courageously, professionally and as stipulated by both the liberal Constitution and relevant laws of South Africa.

The Public Protector's recommendations are very clear: among other things, the President simply must pay back the money spent on the structures he report accurately identified as having no relationship to security upgrades. This is what ALL SOUTH AFRICANS must be demanding from the President.

Threats to impeach the Public Protector, and linking her to party politics are malicious, insulting to the collective intelligence and wisdom of all South Africans of good will, and may signal an irreversible slide into lawlessness by the ANC and its government.

Most astonishing is the claim made by the ANC Secretary General that;

• The Public Protector was seen in the precinct of parliament on the same day as the EFF made the call for the RSA President to pay back the money. According to the PP, at the time she was in a meeting with the Minister of Communications in Pretoria. What informed this fairy tale of the ANC SG?

• The latest claptrap of the SACP's 2nd Deputy General Secretary in the recent Umzebenzi Online further reinforces the idea, in the public domain, that the PP (more than White Monopoly Capital) has become enemy number one in blind defence and loyalty to the misconduct of the RSA President.

• No-one in the SACP or the ANC has had the courage of their conviction to tell the South African citizens why security of the RSA President would include a chicken-run, fire-pool, cattle kraal, spaza-shops/tuck-shop, amphitheater, etc. Has the intelligence of the South African citizens now been reduced to low level consciousness to that of kindergarten kids?

The working class cannot, and must not, allow either the victimisation of the Public Protector or the establishment of impunity by letting the President of the ANC and South African government get away with this so blatant and extremely reckless abuse of state resources.

We the Black and African working class, are the ones who have been robbed: we must demand that the President pay back what belongs to us. He simply must pay back the money, as the EFF so correctly demanded in Parliament.

We must combat the culture of extreme conspicuous consumption, which is sustained by super-exploitation of workers, and whose roots lie deep in our untransformed Colonialism of a Special Type.

Our post 1994 class project are simply emulating the worst aspects of South African capitalism - extreme appetite for luxuries by a tiny minority in a vast sea of extreme poverty! Fanon correctly warned us, about our post-colonial comprador bourgeoisie.

Should the attacks on the Public Protector continue, and should the President not indicate soon enough when the money will be paid, Numsa reserves the right to mobilise for mass action to compel the President to do what is right, what the progressive aspects of the Constitution and laws of South Africa demands of him.

Irvin Jim

Numsa General Secretary

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