2 April 2020

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in KwaZulu-Natal condemns the Capitalist government led by the ANC for the murders of three people who were killed as a result of the heavy handedness of police during the lockdown. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating three cases of murder against law enforcement officers in Gauteng and in the Western Cape. On Sunday Sibusiso Amos was one of those who was shot and killed by police at his home on the veranda, unfortunately four children were also wounded during the shooting incident. We have also seen footage of police officers and members of the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) harassing and humiliating members of the African working-class majority whilst patrolling our neighbourhoods. For this they must be strongly condemned. 

We are also deeply disturbed by reports by Abahlali Basemjondolo whose members have been evicted several times since the Lockdown was implemented last week Friday. Yesterday more settlements were viciously attacked resulting in five people being injured after they were shot with live ammunition. These attacks took place in Azania settlement in the presence of children and the elderly. Shacks have been destroyed and families’ have been left homeless. The eThekwini municipality has defied the national call for social-distancing during the state of disaster issued by President Cyril Ramaphosa. They have also gone against the Minister of Justice who has called for a moratorium on all evictions, and they have gone against the call by the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing to ban evictions worldwide during this crisis. So far the evictions were carried about by the notorious Calvin Security, an organisation that consistently acts violently towards poor black people. They are brutal and act with impunity. Evictions are taking place without court orders being produced. The state is simply terrorising the most vulnerable sectors of our society.

This government continues to do all it can to protect white wealth. It should have nationalized all private hospitals at this time and offered free testing and treatment for all those who are infected with coronavirus. But instead, it deployed the army and the police onto to the streets to respond to a virus and criminalize the poor and the destitute. This is a tactic we are very familiar with, these officers are also used against our members whenever they embark on strike action to demand improved conditions and wages. Our members are teargassed, shot at with rubber bullets, and arrested during peaceful demonstrations.

These acts are very disturbing because they bring back terrible memories of the brutal Apartheid police who used to roam the streets of black townships terrorizing locals, beating and killing our people because they were part of the oppressive machinery of the racist state. We see now that under the so called ‘New Dawn’ the same oppressive tendencies are being meted out against the African working-class majority. But we are not surprised. After all, Ramaphosa still has blood on his hands from the massacre of thirty-four mineworkers at Marikana in 2012. We must never forget that President Ramaphosa and the ANC he leads chose to protect the profits of the elite mine bosses, and sacrificed the lives of mineworkers at Marikana who were simply demanding a better life and improved living conditions. Black life is still cheap in South Africa, more than two decades after the end of Apartheid.

The private healthcare sector will make a fortune from this pandemic, and we can expect thousands of people, to die simply because they do not enough money in order to access better treatment facilities because they are poor, black and working class. The capitalist state is a brutal machine and all its institutions including the healthcare and criminal justice system, serve the interests of the wealthy elite.

The only way we can end the suffering of the working class is through class struggle. We must create class consciousness in the working class so that they can act in unity to overthrow the capitalist system which has normalized hunger and homelessness for the poor. It is only through the hard work of ordinary workers that these CEO’s and captains of industry have managed enrich themselves. Like parasites they feed off the suffering of the masses.

We must defeat this system which has normalized the abnormal and allows the wealthy to get richer during a global pandemic. The capitalist class are like vampires sucking the lifeblood of the working class, hoarding the wealth for themselves, and forcing the working class to fight for crumbs for survival. The only way to end the cycle of violent brutal exploitation is to destroy the Capitalist system and to replace it with a caring Socialist system.

We stand in solidarity with Abahlali Basemjondolo and we will defend them. We urge all our comrades locally and abroad to come out in defense of the most vulnerable sectors of our community. We condemn the Capitalist ANC state, and we demand that the eThekwini Municipality must stop their vicious and violent attack on the working class and the poor immediately! What we need now is unity of the working class so that we can defeat our common enemy.

Aluta continua!

The struggle continues!

Issued by Mbuso Ngubane

NUMSA Regional Secretary KZN