10 Marikanas per day- the banning of Ivermectin in South Africa
On the 15th August 2012, the then board member of Lonmin, Cyril Ramaphosa, urged the police, in an email, to launch ‘concomitant action’ against ‘criminals’, strikers who were gathered in an open field outside of company premises. On the 16th August 2012, 34 mineworkers were shot down by tactical units of the police drawn from around the country. The current net worth of Ramaphosa is estimated to be R6.4 billion ($450 million). The effect of the Marikana massacre was to demonstrate clearly, that in time of crisis, when workers are demanding their democratic rights to a living wage, the ANC-SACP-Cosatu alliance and the ANC in particular, stands on the side of monopoly capital, for the profits, even over the dead bodies of the working class. The ANC stands for the continued enslavement of the working class. The annual declared profit of Lonmin is about R4.5 bn. The annual profits of the large companies in SA is more than R1 trillion or more than R1000bn.
The Department of Health in SA reported a further 300 covid 19-related deaths on the 24th Jan 2021. This is roughly equivalent to 10 Marikana massacres occurring daily.
Yet there is an immediate prophylaxis (preventative) and treatment that could drastically reduce the numbers of deaths and the numbers of infections. Ivermectin. It is a very cheap treatment, costing virtually nothing, that has been thoroughly tested over the past 35 years, with minimal side effects and its impact and limitations are well established. It has recently been scientifically tested and there is overwhelming evidence of its usefulness to fight covid-19 infection. . The Front Line Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) recently made a submission to to the National Institute of Health in the USA on ivermectin. As a result, the National Institute for Health, NIH, changed its designation from being ‘against’ to being ‘neither for nor against’. This is a profound change as it puts ivermectin on a par with convalescent plasma (purified antibody extract from survivors of covid 19) which can both now be recommended on prescription by Doctors in the USA. This is such an important step as the cost of a tablet of ivermectin is less than R10. This fight has important international significance as a victory in SA can help open up assistance to the masses throughout the world who are currently being terrorised by the giant pharmaceutical companies and the international banks that control them. Health care is a public good and should be in public hands not in the hands of capitalist companies. On the other hand, the suppression of ivermectin shows that the ANC protects the interests of the international banks.
All the scientific evidence has been presented to the SA government and its health authority, SAPRHA. Saphra not only refuses to authorise ivermectin, but any attempt to import or prescribe it has been criminalised. Hospitals that have tried to use it for treating covid patients have been raided by the police. The supply is very limited and the product price has shot up by 150 times and it is only available on the black market. This means most people do not have access to it. Hundreds of thousands of health workers who could have had access to it as an immediate prophylaxis, are denied and remain at risk. The 10 daily Marikanas from covid 19 could have been drastically reduced, however the government remains firm that ivermectin remains banned for human use in the fight against covid 19.
Despite research  that the current trial vaccines may not work effectively on the new SA strain of the novel coronavirus, the SA govt has signed multi billion Rand deals with major vaccine manufacturers (Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson, Sinovax) for trial vaccines that may already be out of date. Ivermectin would cost next to nothing but here again we have the ANC government standing for the profits of the international banks and monopolies, no matter the lives of many could be saved right now. 10 Marikanas per day is acceptable to the ANC government.
The agreement by Wits University and the University of the Free State to run trials on ivermectin is just a delaying tactic by the SA government. The trials may take a minimum of 3 months, which means a delay of at least 6 months for the publication of findings and a further few months, if not years, before approval. There is already a large body of research including randomised trials. See the FLCCC site . So there is not any reason for delay. The FLCCC has also challenged the ethics of universities running placebo trials when ivermectin should be the baseline treatment for covid 19. This is a breach of the Helsinki Declaration that the SA govt is a signatory to, which guarantees the right of any patient to choose their medication. 
So why is there a deliberate delay which will result in the continued 10 Marikanas per day? The answer simply lies in the profit from the shares that ANC leaders have in the companies, Biovac, which will do the distribution of the multi-billion Rand contract for trial vaccines, and Aspen, which will locally manufacture the Johnson & Johnson trial vaccine. There is not much money to be made from ivermectin which is cheap and could be freely available. Not even the death of ANC leaders moves them to consider immediate and more effective alternatives.
The role of the IMF and World Bank
The policies of the IMF and World Bank that the SA government has been following since 1996 and arguably before then too, has resulted in the cutting of over 40 000 health care jobs and the closure of thousands of hospital beds since 2000. Nursing colleges have been closed. Teachers colleges have been closed and thousands of teachers have been retrenched since 1994. There is massive overcrowding at schools, with rising stress levels.
Nurses, drs and other health workers as well as teachers are massively overworked making them susceptible to disease and death from covid and other communicable diseases. In fact, due to the high rate of poverty, with over 35 million being immunocompromised, there are 150 000 deaths due to flu, TB, HIV and pneumonia, every year, before the pandemic. This at a time when 2020 was a bumper year for food crops, there was mass starvation everywhere and food prices increased by more than 20%. The state sat on their hands and allowed 10 million tons of food to be dumped every year, mostly by the large commercial farms and major retailers (Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite, Woolworths, Spar). The rate of starvation is due to the absolute control by imperialism over SA, it is still a neo-colony. The masses need to be kept in permanent starvation so that the maximum profits are extracted, mostly from SA being kept as an exporter of unprocessed minerals and raw agricultural goods.
The SA government wants to make loans from the same imperialist agencies that keep the masses in slavery and starvation. Billions will flow out to the international banks that own Pfizer, Astra Zeneca and Johnson &Johnson. A few hundreds of million will go to Aspen and Biovac, with most still going out to imperialist agencies. Biovac is owned by the Litha group, which is owned by the Swiss company Acino International AG, which in turn is owned by Acrobat Holdings one Sarl, based in Luxembourg.
Having already had our public services collapsed and having trillions in company profits leave the country every year, massive debt through the Eskom scam means that the masses are permanently enslaved and have to pay R200bn each year just in interest alone. Now, to add insult to injury, more debt will be squeezed out of the masses through higher taxes to pay for the questionable trial vaccines.
By the time new trial vaccines are made for the new variant, the virus would have mutated again. This means every year, or every 6 months, we will have taxes increased to pay for the latest questionable trial vaccines. Meantime 10 Marikanas will continue to happen, every day, in addition to the 150 000 or more dying every year from communicable diseases.
In addition, the Lancet reports that adenoviruses used by some manufacturers as the base to carry their trial covid vaccines, may lead to greater susceptibility to HIV infection.  . Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson have to answer these concerns as they use adenovirus carriers as part of their trial vaccines.
The Pfizer trial vaccine has a number of missing data,which raises a huge question mark over their claims.  .
The African Centre for Biodiversity has called for a public debate and also raised concerns over the Astra Zeneca trial vaccine. Their submission was prepares by an epidemiologist  . The government has rejected this. We support the call of the African Centre for Biodiversity for a public debate on all measures to end the pandemic.
The way forward
- There must be immediate steps to allow drs to prescribe ivermectin for covid , at minimum, on a par with the NIH in the USA.
- All frontline staff, medical workers, teachers, support staff, food workers, cashiers, transport workers, including taxi drivers and guards and all who are currently working should receive the prophylaxis level of ivermectin and where they are currently ill, they should receive the treatment level doses as recommended by the FLCCC, in addition to other recognised medical care and treatment.
- There should be immediate employment of the 40000 health care workers cut since 2010 and all community health care workers should be made permanent. Immediate construction of whatever field hospitals and clinics are needed.
- All data of the trial vaccines must be made available and independently checked. Bearing in mind that these trial vaccines have been tested on healthy people; once they have been independently checked to see if they are effective in combating the new variant, they should still be carefully rolled out. They should be rolled out on a conditional approval and not an emergency basis. This sets a higher level for accountability and would allow the vaccine companies to be sued in case of severe negative reactions including death that may result from their trial vaccines. There should be no indemnity to any vaccine manufacturer. Vaccines should be a public good and should not be made for profit. In all cases where trial vaccines are rolled out there must be emergency support available at all times in case of severe negative reactions. In the case of severe negative reactions consideration must be given to halt the roll out such trial vaccines. To only produce a register of reactions is totally inadequate. Short term and long term safety of the masses must be at the centre of any broad health programme.
- All private medical companies, hospitals and medical aids should be nationalised under the control of the health care workers. Without compensation to the capitalist.
- Immediate manufacture of sufficient ivermectin and sharing with our fellow African sisters and brothers on the rest of the continent.
- Sign the petition for the immediate right to use ivermectin to help combat covid 19 .
- Stop the annual dumping of the 10 million tons of food; provide nutritious and anti-inflammatory food to the masses right now. If the large retailers and large commercial farms refuse to stop dumping the food, the unemployed should get organised and enter the stores to fill their trollies in protest. Food for all, the dumping must fall. Limit and lower the price of price of food that assists the fight for better nutrition and higher immunity (eg garlic, ginger, tomatoes, spinach, nuts, fish,etc). Set up worker and community price committees to monitor all food prices and other prices of basic goods. Open the borders and pool resources of the entire Southern Africa. There is enough for all.
- Raise the taxes on company profits, for annual turnovers of more than R10 million, from the current 28% to the 48% that it was in 1994. This should raise at least R200bn annually
- Stop all the illegal transfer pricing by the mining monopolies; reclaim all the funds stolen by the mining monopolies over the years. The theft has been put at a minimum of R200bn per year.
- Stop the manipulation of the currency by all the banks; reclaim the many billions lost due to devaluation, from these banks. Open the books of the banks and publish all the international agreements with all banks including the IMF and World Bank.
- Cancel the apartheid debt and reclaim the odious debt paid to the banks.
- Shorten the working day without loss of pay and share all the work among all who can work; stop retrenchments and form workers committees to take over companies closed during the past year. Occupy. Jobs for all or a living unemployed benefit. Pensions and grants at a living level.
- Mass public works for decent housing and related infrastructure. Employ the youth.
- Open all the thousands of empty buildings and hotels to those who are sick and in need of quarantine and recovery and also to those in need of decent housing. Get organised in community committees and occupy. Singabalapha (we all belong here). Stop all evictions.
- Help set up health action committees in every street and block as well as at every workplace, to share information on combating covid 19 and take practical measures to support the campaign for ivermectin. Saftu is calling a general strike for the 24th February 2021. We should consider linking up with this to force the government to meet our demands. Extend the strike to all unions and those un organised. Strike committees , irrespective of union or political affiliation or religious belief. Occupation of workplaces and teach-ins, not a stayaway.