Wave after wave of community protests have been taking place in South Africa. People are angry that after twenty years of so-called freedom they are still confined to living in shacks, having to defecate in communal toilets, and having essential services terminated when they can’t afford to pay.
by Philip Nyalungu
A sharp increase in fuel prices on Wednesday 6 September will hit the working class and poor hardest. The official reasons for the price hike are rising crude oil costs and the weak Rand. Government tax is also rising. Energy Minister Mamoloko Kubayi claims 4.6 cents a litre will go towards salary increases for petrol station workers.
The reality is rising prices get passed directly onto ordinary people by, for example, increases in taxi fares and food prices.
Note on adherence to international solidarity against the criminalization of poverty and protest in South Africa
The Brazilian Anarchist Coordination repudiates the cowardly criminalization of South African fighters and social fighters and their persecution.
In February 2015, four community members were sentenced to 16 years in prison for participating in a protest in their community. After a brief period of provisional release, two of the four militants were again sent to jail on June 19, 2017.
On February 6, 2016, Papi Tobias, the father of three children and a community leader struggling for housing and social rights in his community, disappeared as he went out to watch a football game at a bar. He was seen leaving a bar in the presence of the local police commander, Jan Scheepers. He is missing until today.
The South African ruling class has often used criminal laws and expeditions from the apartheid era to condemn the black and poor working class and criminalize the activities of militants and social fighters.
As in Brazil (Rafael Braga and many others cases), the ruling class in South Africa uses the justice system and its racist armed apparatus to promote the criminalization of poverty, protest and racism.
The continuity between state terrorism and its apparatuses continues regardless of the government it assumes, in South Africa or in Brazil!
Freedom for Dinah and Sipho!
Justice for Papi!
Faced with the repression that is unleashed against the South African people, from
Uruguay we demand justice and the immediate freedom for the comrades of Boiketlong
and the immediate appearance of Papi Tobias alive, of course.
We hold the South African government responsible for the lives and physical integrity
of our comrades and demand the cessation of repression of the South African people’s
movement, which remind us of the darkest years of apartheid and the military
dictatorships that ravaged the Southern Cone of America.
In several areas of the world, the criminalization of poverty and protest is increasing as
neo-liberal policies that condemnmillions of human beings to hunger and despair.
In Africa and Latin America, the Resistance lives and develops itself in the struggle of
the people !!
Justice for our comrades !!
Down with repression !!
Arriba los que luchan!!
RESISTANCE AND SOLIDARITY
(ROE – Resistencia Obrero Estudiantil, Student-Worker Resistance)
In February 2015, four community activists from Boiketlong in the Vaal, south of Johannesburg, were sentenced to 16 years in prison each following a community protest. This is a very severe sentence and the conviction was based on shaky evidence. The ‘Boiketlong Four’ were arrested for allegedly attacking the local ANC ward councillor and setting fire to her shack and two cars during a community protest. They were convicted of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, arson and malicious injury to property. This is an example of a terrible injustice perpetrated against black working class activists and could have dangerous repercussions for future struggles of the black working class and poor in South Africa if it is not fought. People need to be aware of the facts and take action to demand justice and to fight the criminalisation of poverty and protest.
The labour movement has been unable to de-link itself from its archenemy: capital. As its structures bureaucratise, as its leaders become career unionists, as it opens investment companies and pays staff increasingly inequitable salaries, it increasingly mirrors the very thing it is fighting. If the South African Federation of Trade Unions is to meet its promise, it must be fundamentally different from the organisation it was born out of.
Let us learn from our past struggles, in the USA and in Malaysia. May Day should be an occasion to reflect not jubilate, to engage not agonize, to demand not relent, and to organise, not complain. We need systemic change that can guarantee equality, fraternity, self-management and socialisation of the commonwealth, guided by a bottom–up approach to decision making. We need a labour movement that is multicultural and international, feminist, active in urban and rural struggles, and that prizes reason over superstition, justice over hierarchy, self-management over state power, international solidarity over nationalism. We need to fight for a universal human community, not parochialism and separatism. The organisational power and strategic location of the Malaysian union movement provides an excellent point of departure for building this counter-movement. This is our appeal and message as we celebrate this May Day, on the eve of dark days in which the storm clouds gather over humanity – but in which the light of hope of a better future can break through, if we arm ourselves with the correct ideas and approaches. May Day began as an example of globalisation-from-below. Let us rally to it. Let us take back its original vision: liberty, equality, unity.