Why we do not support the ANC
The ANC claims as its main purpose is the advancing of the National Democratic Revolution. This term however comes from the SACP (and its predecessor, the CPSA, during its stalinised period). A similar content has been used by stalinised Communist parties around the world. A revolution should imply fundamental change. ‘Democratic revolution’ should imply a radical implementation of democratic demands. Let us examine the claims of the SACP on the content, form and purpose of the ‘National Democratic Revolution’ (NDR). There are many documents where the same concept appears. We examine the Path to Power (1989) as it came at a crucial stage in the struggle when the working class were in revolutionary uprising and the possibility existed of an overthrow of the apartheid regime. Thereafter, we examine the essential features of slave capitalism and critically evaluate to what extent they have been overcome or not and the reasons for it. This forms a backdrop from which we expose the claims of the ANC 2016 local government manifesto.
We quote extensively from the SACP on its Path to Power on the aims of the NDR:
‘The main content of this revolution is the national liberation of the African people in particular, and the black people in general….The main aims of the national democratic revolution are outlined in the Freedom Charter, which has also been endorsed by the mass democratic movement representing millions of our struggling people. South African Communists consider that the achievement of the aims of the Charter will answer the pressing and immediate needs of the people and lay the indispensable basis for the advance to socialism…..
The state will guarantee the basic freedoms and rights of all citizens, such as the freedoms of speech and thought, of the press and of organisation, of movement, of conscience and religion and full trade union rights for all workers including the right to strike.
It must be one of the basic policies and aims of the national democratic state to raise the living standards of the people, and in particular, to eradicate the centuries-old injustices perpetrated against the black majority. This applies to wages and job opportunities, education, housing, health and other amenities….
In order to satisfy the needs of the people and ensure balanced and rapid development of the economy, it will be necessary to ensure popular control over vital sectors of the economy. This will entail the continual strengthening of the state sector in mining, heavy industry, banks and other monopoly industries…
To fully eliminate the system of colonial domination, it will be necessary to ensure democratic ownership and control over decisive aspects of the economy….
This applies equally to land distribution: there is an imperative need to restore land to the people. This will take a variety of forms, including state ownership of large-scale farms, redistribution of land among the land-hungry masses and state assistance to them, the setting up of co-operative farms, and guaranteeing the freedom of movement and settlement. It will also entail the task of overcoming the enormous economic under-development of many rural regions. ’
(Path to power, SACP, in the section on the National Democratic Revolution)
Indeed, the main elements of the Freedom Charter, on housing, unemployment, education, health and other areas are contained within the Constitution.
On class alliances between the working class and the capitalist and middle class, this is what the Path to Power states:
‘ In our situation, the unity in action of the oppressed and democratic forces around the basic national democratic demands constitutes the most powerful revolutionary weapon against the ruling class. To weaken this unity by placing the attainment of socialism on the immediate agenda would, in fact, be to postpone the very attainment of socialist transformation….
The ANC does not represent any single class or any one ideology. As the head of the liberation alliance and prime representative of all the oppressed, the ANC welcomes within its ranks all - from whatever class they come - who support and are ready to fight for the aims of the Freedom Charter. The overwhelming majority and most strategically placed of our people are workers. The ANC therefore recognises the leading role of the working class. Workers, participation in its ranks is one of the important ways in which our working class plays its role in the democratic revolution….
The organised involvement of trade unions in the revolutionary struggle helps reinforce the dominant role of workers as a class…. Workers, political leadership must represent the working class in its relation to all other classes and to the state’
The SACP first argues that the working class should not take power as it would lead to a postponement of Socialism.
Secondly they argue that the ANC as a multiclass alliance, should lead the NDR and that workers should join the ANC as the way to ensure the leadership role of the working class. The ANC government would thus be an alliance of the different classes in the ANC, the SACP and the working class, ie Cosatu. Thus an ANC government would be a government of the working class and the black middle class and to an extent, the black capitalist class. However, the ANC political leadership would represent the working class interests in the state. This is the same bloc of classes that Stalin proposed for struggles in colonies and semi-colonies around the world, namely that an alliance of the middle class and working class should be formed but leadership of the struggle for democratic demands is left in the hands of the middle class. According to Stalin, the struggle for Socialism is then postponed to the indefinite future. This is the essence of the National Democratic Revolution.
What were the essential features of slave capitalism (apartheid) in SA?
The total domination by imperialism capitalism and the suppression of independent capitalist formation;
The maintaining of reserve pools of labour, primarily of the Black African working class , chiefly for the supply of cheap labour to the mines, the farms and other monopoly-controlled industry; the migrant labour system and the system of chiefs;
Lack of freedom to sell labour power (pass laws);
Maintenance of an economy based on the export of raw, unprocessed minerals and agricultural products;
Thus deliberately limiting education, housing, employment, health care to the needs of imperialism capitalism and its form of oppression and exploitation;
Granting of privileges to Afrikaner capital and the white middle and working class in exchange for the role of suppression of the rest of the masses;
The creation of separate group areas as pools of reserve labour and of dividing the masses;
The suppression of basic democratic rights such as the right to vote, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of movement;
Dispossession of the masses from the land;
The use of the military to suppress the masses in Southern Africa and protection of imperialist assets and control.
Evaluating the gains of the 1994 transition and the role of the ANC
On the right to elect representatives in parliament:
Now everyone who is 18 or older have the right to vote. This is a step forward. However the right to vote is limited in a number of ways:
The Constitution has a private property clause that prevents parliament and government from expropriating without compensation to the capitalists; the constitution guarantees to monopoly capital that expropriation has to be with due compensation, even though the monopolies gained their wealth through theft and violence. Parliament has limited instruments to seize back the wealth stolen by imperialism capitalism;
The ANC has imposed huge election deposits so that poorer organizations of the working class are excluded from running for national and provincial parliament;
In municipal elections the weight of the middle class and the rich is bigger as they have greater number of councillors per area even though their population proportion is relatively less;
There is no mechanism for instant recall by the masses; delegates to parliament and half that in the metros are chosen by parties, not directly by constituencies; thus, for example when parliament endorsed a fraudulent report on Nkandla, there was no mechanism for the masses to exercise their right to instantly recall any of the representatives; Even further, when parliament adopts an anti-worker policy, the masses have no immediate mechanism to hold it to account. Every time the ANC has adopted an anti-working class programme, such as Gear, New Growth path and NDP, the masses were/are unable to directly recall their representatives. When the masses in Tshwane revolt against a mayoral candidate being imposed they are demanding their democratic right to choose their own representative and to exercise a measure of control over them. That the conflict took the form of a revolt shows how frustrated they are at the betrayal of their struggles by the ANC. That some small traders were also targeted shows a lack of class consciousness to some extent as well as the influence of nationalism and chauvinism of the ANC tradition.
Continued plunder by imperialism capitalism and the suppression of local capital formation
The 2016 Budget Review gives the tax income from company profits in 1998/9 at R108 bn. This increased each year to R561 bn in 2014/15. In 1993 company tax was 48%. The ANC government reduced this to 28%. Thus in 1998/9 the profits of companies (after tax was deducted) was about R280 bn, which rose to R1.4 trillion by 2014/15. In 1998 the exchange rate was R5/dollar while in 2016 it is about R15/dollar. Thus the profits (after tax) were about R280x3= R840 bn in 2016 Rand terms. Thus it would be a reasonable estimate to average company profits after tax over the past 22 years at approximately R1 trillion per year. This gives a total of profits of R22 trillion which the monopoly capitalists earned, after tax. [we do not even allow for the depreciation of the dollar over the past 22 years, which means that the R22 trillion is an under-estimate. Remember this is just the reported profits of monopoly capital. Their real profits are much higher.
The philosophy of the reduction of company tax was to make companies richer so they would invest more and create more jobs. This approach was a massive fraud as most of the R22 trillion was just taken offshore by imperialism capitalism. Just R2 trillion could have built decent houses for all and have provided free education. Just R11 trillion, would more than have provided free education, free, quality health, decent housing and met all the needs of the masses, with the monopoly capitalists still taking R11 trillion in profits too. We do not even include the more than R100 bn each year since long before 1994 and since then that has been stolen by the mining monopolies through transfer pricing that the ANC government is not pursuing at all. (in 2007 alone about R600bn was stolen through transfer pricing, the highest recorded for SA).
The World Bank paper on Structural Transformation in Africa in July 2016 (Enache, Ghani, O’ Connell) showed that for the past 40 years that there has been a continuing trend of a decline in agriculture. In the 1970’s and 1980’s there was a slight trend towards industrialization; in the 1990’s up to 2010, the rate of de-industrialization in Africa was greater than the rest of the world. Overall there has been an increased trend of increase in the service sector. [from 2000 to 2010 there was a decline of 10% in the labour force in agriculture while only a 2% increase in manufacturing and a 10% increase in the service sector. This increase in employment has been in retail and hotels and tourism].
Across Africa, the share of employment in agriculture from 1970 to 2010 has dropped 11% from 70%; mining only made up 1.38% in 1970 and this has contracted further by 0.72%; manufacturing was 6% in 1970 but only 6.5% in 2010; Construction has increased from 1.64% to 2.57% while personal services has increased from 4.71% to 5.17%, while services has gone from 20% to 30.6%.
In other words, by 2010, Africa remains an exporter of raw minerals and agricultural products and that the relation of imperialism to Africa remains that of plunder and suppression of any development of local industry.
The carrying offshore of most of the R22 trillion in monopoly profits over the past 22 years shows that the same trend in the rest of Africa, is present in SA. This is continued plunder of the continent by imperialism capitalism and the deliberate under-development of the continent. In other words, Africa continues to subsidize the profits in the imperialist centres. None of the industries have been taken under social control; on the contrary, there has been greater privatization.
According to the 1996 Census 12,6 million out of a population over 5 years old, of 34,2 million, were attending an education institution then, while by 2016 the numbers had grown to 17,2 million, this was out of 49,5 million over the age of 5 (Community Household Survey, CS 2016). Thus the proportion attending an education institution has dropped from 37,4% in 1996 to 34,7% in 2016.
The number of private schools have increased from 800 000 in 2001 (Census, 2001) to 1,5 million by 2016, which is about the same increase as in the Western Cape, where the private schools went from 69 700 to 142 000 over the same period. Thus both the ANC and DA governments are following the same pattern of privatization of schools instead of building up quality free, public schooling. The number of private universities have also increased.
Although the number of people without any education has dropped from 3,7 million to 2,2 million, the proportion of the population over the age of 5 who have only primary or no education has increased from 40% to 50%, from 1996 to 2016. In 1996 about 13,7 million had primary or no education. In 2016 about 24,7 million have only primary or no education.
The number of graduates with Bachelor degrees have increased from 400 000 to about 1,2 million. This is an increase from 1,1 % of the population over the age of 5 having degrees in 1996. This has gone up to 2,4% by 2016, which is still very low.
Thus the education system mirrors the structure of the SA economy, namely that it is still based largely on cheap, unskilled and semi-skilled labour. This is a direct consequence of imperialism capitalism still maintaining SA and the rest of Africa as a place for plunder of raw, unprocessed raw materials and agricultural goods.
The resolution of the education question lies in the fundamental changing of the socio-economic relations in SA. The middle class leaders of the ANC have allied themselves to imperialism capitalism and prove incapable of meeting the basic democratic demand of free, quality education for all. In fact, it can be said that the rule of the ANC government, tying the working class behind it, through the alliance with the SACP and Cosatu, has in effect, postponed the struggle for Socialism.
On the housing question
The ANC claims in its 2016 manifesto that it has given 3.7 million housing subsidies since 2001, thereby creating many housing ‘opportunities’. Thus we have the adoption by the ANC of the DA capitalist terminology (housing opportunities, job opportunities, etc). This is evidence of the continuous rightward shift of the ANC.
StatsSA has become a rather blatant tool for disguising the real picture of the failures of the regime. We use their own statistics to help expose a truer picture of the reality faced by the masses.
According to the CS 2016 the number of houses that are ‘owned and paid for’ has increased from 4,6 million in 1996 to 9,2 million by 2016.
In 1996 there were about 4 million houses with piped water inside them. This was out of a total of 9 million households. By 2016 the number of houses with piped water inside has risen to 7,5 million out of 16,9 million households. Thus the proportion of households with with piped water inside the house was 44,2 % in 1996 and in 2016 it was 44,4%. Think, for example, if a woman has her monthlies, and has to go out in the night in the bitter cold. In other words, there has been no fundamental change in the lives of the masses. Thus in 2016 about 55,6% of households do not live in structures that can be defined as permanent dwellings (according to the UN definition).
While the percentage of the households with water outside the yard and with no access has dropped from 39,3% to 25,5% it is still huge. Yes, the number of dwellings with piped water in the yard has increased from 16,6% in 1996 to 30% in 2016 but all this shows is that the ANC and DA housing programmes have been to build brick shacks. This is confirmed by the StatsSA figures which puts the number of brick and block structures at 13,4 million while only 5,5 million of them have a flush toilet connected to the sewage. Thus there are at least 7.9 million brick shacks in SA where about 26 million of the people stay. The increase to 9,2 million dwellings that are ‘owned and paid for’ shows that the ANC government is privatizing the RDP brick shacks. This also leads to the state escaping from its responsibility to maintain the RDP brick shacks they have built.
The number of houses that are ‘owned but not paid for’ has increased from 1,6 million in 1996 to 1,8 million in 2016. The proportion of bank-owned houses has fallen from 18% in 1996 to 11% of total households.Thus, to make up for the stagnant house market, the banks have massively increased house prices. Thus the massive speculative house prices reflect a policy of the ANC and DA governments of deliberately keeping the masses in a permanent state of desperation for housing, just to drive the profits of the banks. The vast majority cannot afford houses. Many who can, are enslaved to the banks for 20 years. This is complemented by the deliberate slow pace by government in the building of permanent houses for the masses.
The number of rental dwellings has only increased from 2 to 3 million over this period. Thus the proportion of rental dwellings have fallen from 22,2% to 18% of the total households.
Thus the government has moved away from building rental housing and they are continuing the apartheid housing patterns. Indeed, the vast majority of dwellings built by the ANC and DA governments have been along apartheid lines in the still-existing group areas.
Interestingly the number of houses occupied rent-free has dropped from 2,8 million to 1,6 million. Thus the regime has not managed to totally break the resistance of the masses on the question of housing as about 8 million people are still occupying homes rent-free.
1,7 million households still do not have access to any piped water, while 2,6 million households do not have access to piped water in their yards. This is about 14 million people.
5 million households have access to water only in their yards. Even this figure is worse than it seems as one of the top complaints by people in the CS 2016 was over quality of water and its inconsistency. [There are reports of outsourced water tanker companies sabotaging the water supply to create business for themselves]. These 5 million households are another 16,5 million people. Thus at least 30,5 million people do hot have adequate housing. The vast majority are the Black African masses.
The Eastern Cape has 25% of its households having no access to piped water, while Limpopo has 20% of its households without access to piped water. This shows that the ANC government has failed to address rural inequality.
The government failure to build decent housing is also reflected in the provincial proportion of dwellings that only have water in backyards: Free State 52%, Mpumalanga 44%, Limpopo 36%, North Cape 34%, Gauteng 30%, Kzn 29%. The vast majority of these households are where the Black African masses stay.
On refuse removal, of the total number of traditional dwellings, about 929 000, which is 78% of them, have to rely on their own refuse dump. In 1996 about only 52% of households had refuse collected once a week. This has only increased to 61% by 2016. Thus about 22 million people do not have refuse collected once a week in 6,6 million households. Not a good story to tell. Of these 22 million, about 14,5 million have to use their own refuse dump ( 4,4 million households).
On sanitation there is a similar trend as on refuse removal. The number of households with flush toilets that are connected to the sewage was 5,5 million in 2001; this increased to 10,2 million by 2016. This is still only 60% of households, which means that about 22,1 million people in 6,7 million households do not have adequate sanitation.
StatsSA wants to dress up the government failure as success. They brag over the success of building VIP’s (these are not Very Important People, but Ventilated pit latrines), which have increased from 635 000 to 2 million from 2001 to 2016. They have also introduced ‘eco-toilets’. How many of the VIP’s and eco-toilets are in the middle class white areas, StatsSA do not say. We would guess, not a single one!
88,5% of traditional dwellings have toilets in their yards. The number of traditional dwellings have declined from 1,6 million in 1996 to 1,2 million in 2016. Thus the building of toilets in the yards can hardly be claimed as a government achievement. The decline of the number of traditional dwellings reflect increasing urbanisation and increased starvation and suffering in the rural areas.
There are 2,2 million households in informal settlements (about 7,3 million people). The government claims that ⅔ of these have toilets in their yards. This is misleading as often the same toilet is shared by 5 or more families. If we add the 7,9 million brick shacks (brick or block structures without flush toilets connected to the sewage), we have a total of 10,1 million households who live without the basic housing necessities, this is about 33,3 million people.
When the NDP talks about spending hundreds of billions on infrastructure, they clearly do not mean better housing and sanitation for the masses, but a better transport system so the monopoly capitalists can carry the wealth off-shore faster and more effectively.
There are also 279 000 child-headed households (about 920 000 people directly affected). This shows the huge impact of HIV/Aids and diseases of poverty.
In Kzn, Limpopo and Eastern Cape, about 50% of the households are female-headed. In this case, it is a reflection that the migrant labour system is very much in operation, with males having to go to another province to look for work. Internal migration was the biggest to Gauteng, where almost 4,5 million people moved to between 1996 and 2016, while 1 million moved to Western Cape. The desperation in the rural areas is reflected by the fact that the most commonly given reason for moving to another province was to move into a new house (952 000 people) and 666 000 to be with family. 400 000 moved to look for work.
The trend to urbanization and the starvation in the rural areas is also reflected by the fact that only 32 000 people moved to the rural areas for retirement.
On electricity: while the government brags about 90% of households having electricity for lighting, the high cost thereof is one of the top concerns of the masses; government has gone far on the road towards privatization; they have been helped by having 12,6 million households using prepaid meters. This has helped Eskom to blackmail the masses into paying higher tariffs. 5,2 million households still use candles for lighting while another 3,5 million use firewood; thus while there may be a wide net of electricity, a huge part is disconnected. Hundreds of billions have been spent on coal and now the regime want to force a multi-trillion nuclear programme onto the masses; the imperialist companies such as Hitachi,Areva, General Electric and the banks linked to them, are the main beneficiaries; SA is one of the top places in the world for possible solar power use but the regime has no plan for phasing out coal and nuclear.
Reflecting the World Bank programme of moving away from building houses to ‘toilets in the veld’ , the government has changed the department of housing to the department of human settlements.
David Gisselquist , Richard Rothenberg , John Potterat and Ernest Drucker reported as far back as 2002 in the International Journal of STD and Aids that the spread of Hiv in Africa could not be explained by sexual transmission alone; they reported that between 20%-40% of the increase was due to the re-use of needles and unsanitary conditions in hospitals and clinics.
The HIV infection rate in SA is third in the world, behind India and China. According the UNaidsinfo website the numbers of hiv+ people in SA increased from 2,7 million in 1996 to 7 million by 2015. This is an increase from 6,7% to 12,6% of the population. The evidence thus supports that the massively increased rate of infection was due to the collapse of the public centres and their understaffing and under-equipping.
In 2011, according to the National Treasury fiscal review, about R120 bn of total health expense was used in the private sector, which catered for 16% of the population, while about R122 bn was used in the public sector, to cater for 84% of the population. Efforts by the govt to introduce the NHI (national health insurance), which was supposed to make health care affordable to all, has stalled. Even the ANC 2016 manifesto gives no date and no plan for its implementation. The stalling can be explained quite simply: If the state provides sufficient care for the masses, this will reduce the market of the large private medical operators and these parasites will go out of business due to falling profits. The state has said they will not interfere with the private sector, so they prefer that the health of the 84% is kept at ransom and on the point of collapse, just to boost their profits. The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has a 18% share in private health operator, Netcare, using public sector funds. Cosatu Investment arm, Kopano ke Matla, is also a shareholder.
There is another factor though, the ANC is also deliberately imploding the public health so that sections of it can be parceled off to the private sector, some to cronies, others to big business.
In the Free State for example, the hospital services are being run down so that essential services are outsourced. Ambulances lie idle and not maintained so that these services are outsourced to Buthelezi EMS. (see more http://www.groundup.org.za/media/features/freestatehealth/freestatehealth.html ).
Despite the claims of the ANC manifesto that health is getting better, the statistics do not back it up.
Maternal deaths per 100 000 births was 410 in 2010, whereas it was 120 in 1990. This means more than 3 times more women are dying in childbirth than in the days of apartheid. [in 2008 it was 238 per 100 000 births].
The number of new TB cases was 450 000 in 2013, which is up 400% from 15 years prior to that. [About 60% of those who have TB are also HIV+]. Rather frighteningly, more than 80% of the population are infected with latent TB. The Kzn and Western Cape have the highest rate of infection (every 1 in 100 have active TB). ( see http://www.tbfacts.org/tb-statistics-south-africa/ ) Thus the super-exploitative control and plunder by imperialism capitalism is a direct factor in both TB and Hiv infection, through the collapse of the public health sector, the unhealthy conditions the masses are subjected to, the low wages and the huge unemployment rate.
Life expectancy: There is controversy over the life expectancy of the population. The World Health Organization (WHO) gives the 2015 life expectancy at 62,9 years, the 24th lowest in Africa. The lowest life expectancy in the world are 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The World average is 71 years. StatsSA gives the life expectancy in SA at 61 years. The US government publication, An Aging World-2015, give the life expectancy for SA as 49,7 years. The Economist puts the 2015 life expectancy also at 49.7 years but their report is sponsored by Pfizer, a company that produces HIV medication.
There are over 20 countries in the world where life expectancy is more than 80 years. So how does one explain the different estimates? The US govt paper puts more emphasis on the HIV prevalence.
For us, the life expectancy for the vast majority of the masses must be less than 60. There is a section, the upper 16% of the population who have medical aid, who are generally living longer. Thus, considering the declining employment, the terrible living conditions, the collapsing public health system, the increase in TB, the increase in exploitation, the high rate of HIV, the life expectancy for the masses would be expected to far less than the 61 average that StatsSA gives. The point is that under the ANC government, life expectancy is for the vast majority of the masses to end long before retirement age of 65. This is a direct consequence of maintaining the super-exploitative relation of plunder by imperialism of SA and Africa.
Inequality and Employment
The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, has risen since 1994. In other words, the income inequality is worse under the democratic ANC government than what it was in the days of slave capitalism (apartheid). We are not arguing for a return to those days but merely pointing out the contradictions. A Gini coefficient of 0 means perfect equality (everyone earns the same income), while a 1 means that all the income goes to the top layer and nothing to the bottom layer. According to the World bank, the HSRC and the OECD the Gini coefficient was 0.68 in 1991, rising to 0.69 in 1996 (meaning greater income inequality), rising further to 0.77 by 2001 (the highest in the world), falling to 0,72 in 2006, further to 0.70 by 2009, and further to 0,69 by 2011 where it still was in 2014.
To show what this means: a Gini coeffcient reading of 0.70 in 2009 meant that the bottom 10% of income earners took home just 0.5% of the total income earned; at the same time, the top 10% earned 58% of the total income. Further, the bottom 50% (half those in employment) earned just 8% of the total income.
Over and over the ANC and DA leaders have argued that taxes of the capitalists must be reduced so that companies can grow and workers can then start to earn more and live better lives. This is shown as a massive lie. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
Tellingly the section of the masses that suffered the greatest income inequality is the Black African masses (the Gini went from 0.62 in 1991 to 0.72 by 2001). This shows that a section of the black middle class became very rich while the vast majority of the working class became poorer.
Also the ‘coloured’ masses also became further impoverished as the Gini increased from 0.52 in 1991 to 0.64 by 2001. A section of the middle class did improve their income while the majority’s conditions became worse.
Interestingly, the Gini trend among the ‘white’ masses also showed an increase in income inequality (the Gini went from 0.46 to 0.60, over the same period). This showed a trend towards impoverishment among some of the white workers and the middle class, while many of the rich became much richer. This trend of greater impoverishment among a section of the ‘white’ masses is shown by an increase in the unemployment rate from 4% in 1996 to about 7,3% by 2014. This is still far below the rest of the population but shows a trend that is important to consider.
Structural unemployment: Using the narrow definition of unemployment (excluding those who were discouraged from looking for work even though they were unemployed), according to StatsSA, unemployment has steadily increased from 19,5% in 1996 to 26,7% in 2016.
The older version of unemployment figures use the definition of unemployment that includes both work-seeking unemployed and discouraged in one category. The definition changed from 2001 to 2002 when suddenly the unemployment rate dropped from 41, 6% to 29,4% without jobs being created! This was in line with World Bank guidelines to hide the true nature of unemployment by manipulating the figures. From 2002 onwards the discouraged unemployed was hidden under ‘not economically active’.
Although the proportion of the population that is classified as Black African is 81%, in 1996 90% of the unemployed were from this section. By 2016 about 87,4% of the unemployed are still Black African. Thus the structural violence of slave capitalism remains very much entrenched and no significant change has occurred in this regard. Further, of all the Black Africans who work, 85% work either in semi-skilled or unskilled jobs. Similarly among the ‘coloured’ masses, 82% are either in semi-skilled or unskilled jobs. By contrast, only 5,6% of the Black African who are working, are graduates, in skilled jobs, while 28% of the ‘white’ section are graduates, with skilled jobs.
This shows that the economy is still very much based on cheap, low skilled labour and that colour inequality still exists. [we are not arguing for less employment for white graduates but for a structural change towards beneficiation and an end to the structural violence of capitalist inequality].
‘Trading Economics’ and StatsSA give different figures for employment in 2016. StatsSA says that the total employed is 15,7 million while Trading Economics says there are only 9,3 million formal jobs in 2016 in SA.
If we dissect the figures that StatsSA gives we find that the 15,7 also includes 2,6 million informal workers as ‘employed’. Selling sweets on a train makes you employed, according to StatsSA. You may go days without selling anything but StatsSA insists that you are employed. They are hiding the super-exploitative nature of informal work; similarly counts the 1,2 million domestic workers as part of the employed even though this is very precarious work. Once again, this is not for concern of the worker but to hide the harsh conditions that these workers face. StatsSA also includes the seasonal farm workers 860 000 of them in their employment figures. This is also to hide the real super-exploitative nature of capitalism in SA. StatsSA finally acknowledges that there are 11 million formal sector workers. This is closer to the 9.3 million that Trading Economics counts.
If we dig deeper in the Labour Force Survey first quarter of 2016 we find that only 8,3 million are permanently employed, about 1,8 million have limited contracts (this corresponds roughly to a section that are mainly outsourced workers and farm workers); they also count 3,2 million unspecified (which roughly corresponds to the informal workers and part of the domestic workers).
Thus we have in 2016 only 8,3 million workers who are permanently employed and if we compare this to the total employment in 1996 when only 9,1 million were employed, we can see the massive stagnation and decline that has taken place in the capitalist economy. The population meanwhile has grown from 40,5 million in 1996 to 55,6 million in 2016. There has been massive increase in productivity while the number of jobs have stagnated. At the same time, the imperialist capitalists have stripped the country of more than R22 trillion of wealth.
The ANC admits for the first time, in their 2016 manifesto that the 6 million jobs promised in the NDP, in the run up to 2030 are nothing but casual jobs of the Expanded Public Works Progamme (EPWP) that each last only a few weeks or months at most..
Thus the essence of the contribution by the ANC government over the past 22 years has been to increase informal employment, increase outsourced workers and increase the EPWP work, all that could have been absorbed into being on par with the formal workers through measures like the reduction of the working day and taking over of the commanding heights of the economy, or even through simple raising of company taxes by 10% (which would still have been 10% less than in the days of apartheid (slave capitalism).
The ANC and the DA promoted the youth wage subsidy. This programme allocated R5bn to supposedly creating new jobs for youth. The Saldru study shows that there was no significant growth of youth jobs, the capitalists just pocketed the money.
Just to keep pace with population growth a million new jobs need to be created each year. The ANC, with its NDP and other measures, have no plan; in fact they stand with big capital against the working class. No wonder they are promoting the tightening up of police measures and stronger anti-worker legislation- they are preparing to crackdown on the inevitable protests and revolts.
The RDP election platform of the ANC for 1994 promised that 30% of the land would be redistributed within 5 years and land restitution of forced removals since 1913 would also be completed. Neither has happened and less than 5% has been redistributed. 22 years later and the land claims process has been re-opened. This is just a paper exercise to buy time, as the hold of imperialism over the land has been massively strengthened.
Ruth Hall and Ben Cousin’s work (April 2015) about commercial farming and agro-industry in SA and the rest of Africa, shows the greater consolidation of big capital’s grip on the land since 1994. Census data from Statssa and CS2016 also add some additional perspective. We summarise the trend:
Since 1948 the NP government massively sponsored the poor Afrikaner farmer (to solve the ‘poor white problem’ actually to consolidate a base for its repression of the rest of the broader masses) through massive subsidies. Thus, artificially a large group of commercial farmers were built up. This subsidy continued until 1994. By contrast, the ANC government allocation to the small black farmer was less than 0.5% of the annual budgets since 1994. The world trend of cutting subsidies in the semi-colonies was also reflected in SA. At the same time, in the imperialist centres, subsidies to their farming sectors continued.
At the same time, since 1994 the ANC government allowed big capital to consolidate their control of the food chain. The further monopolization of the land went hand in hand with increasing mechanization of production.
Greater involvement of international banks over the food chain. One of the results was the setting up of SAFEX, a futures exchange on food commodities where speculators drive up the price of food without any concern for anything except the profits of international banks; Emergent Asset Management and Old Mutual’s Futuregrowth Afrifund are both involved in the food sector with the aim of profiteering; This increased speculation in food and raw mineral prices went hand in hand with the stagnation and decline of broader industry;
Standard Bank, Absa and other banks and international companies were allowed by government through its Gateway to Africa programme to have concessions from usual trade taxes, to use SA as a springboard to invest into 36 other African countries; more than 1000 large investors made use of this process; by 2013 agricultural exports to the rest of Africa made up 18% of the total; The IDC and DBSA were involved in funding agricultural projects in Mozambique and Zambia;
The seeds of major basic food such as maize, sorghum and wheat are now totally in the hands of Monsanto, Du Pont (Pannar) and Pioneer; Pesticides are in the control of Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta. Virtually all of the maize production is GMO. [SA is one of the few countries in the world that has allowed its staple food to be GMO and thus totally under the direct control of imperialism];
Land deals: South African companies, fronting for imperialist banks and investors, have formed PAFO (Pan African Farmers Organization), made up of large capitalist companies that have gained control of huge tracts land agricultural land across Africa. The process has been described by researchers as ‘accumulation through dispossession’ of the small peasant masses across Africa, including SA. For example, SA companies control large tracts of forestry land in Congo, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and even Nigeria. Tongaat Hulett (controlled by Anglo American) has operations also in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique; Illovo operates in 6 other countries in the rest of Africa;
Process and manufacture: Tiger Brands (controlled by Anglo American), Pioneer, Premier and Foodcorp now control all major processing and manufacture of food; the large commercial farms are thus under the indirect control of these 3 giants; Tiger Brands and Pioneer have spread their tentacles to Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Ethiopia and elsewhere;
Supermarkets: market controlled by Shoprite, Pick ‘n Pay, Spar and Woolworths; Shoprite operates its low wage structure in 14 other African countries;
While big capital has increased its stranglehold over food production, the small farmer (the peasantry) has declined dramatically; by 2016 about 14,5 million households were not involved in agricultural activities while only 2,3 million households were involved in agricultural activities (this was down from 2,9 million in 2011, showing the further rapid decline of the peasantry). Of the 2,3 million households, about 1,96 million were only involved in their backyards; only 120 000 were involved in communal small farms; only 130 000 (6% of the total agricultural households and 0,8% of the overall total number of households) were involved in farming for their main source of income;
of the 130 000 where farming was the main source of income: only 30 000 were large commercial farmers (mostly white) - the large commercial farmers were 60 000 in 1996. The Black African farmers that depended on farming for their main income were 93 000 but hardly any of them large commercial farms; [Statssa puts the number of black African industrial farms at 8 800 in 2016 but this may be an error, they also put the number of industrial farms owned by white farmers at 1 900- this needs further investigation].
Of the 1,82 million black African farmers who farmed in their backyards, 973 000 depended on it for their main source of food; this shows the huge starvation and suffering in the rural areas (mainly the ex-bantustan regions);
84 000 white farmers only farmed in their backyards, of which 30 000 were dependent on it for their main source of food- this shows a greater impoverishment of the white farmer that went hand in hand with the takeover of large tracts of land by international banks and monopolies;
There were 49 000 ‘coloured’ backyard farmers, of which 20 000 were totally dependent on their backyard plots for food; also a sign of impoverishment of this sector; There were 11 000 ‘Indian/Asian’ backyard farmers, of which 4000 were totally dependent on their backyard plots for food, also a sign of impoverishment
In summary, under the ANC government, the rural Black African peasantry has declined, the white commercial farmer has declined while the best land has passed, not to the black masses, but into the direct and indirect control of imperialism. [it could be summarised that instead of distributing 30% of the land to the small black farmer, the ANC government has distributed 50% directly to the clutches of imperialism capitalism]. The price of this betrayal has been a few BEE shares and a few buffalo.
The Marikana massacre, Andries Tatane, dismissal and refusal to reinstate the 1000 soldiers who wanted to march to the Union buildings, the criminalization of protest such as the harsh sentencing of the Boiketlong 4, Bazooka Rhadebe, the disappearance of Papi Tobias, the AU, links with Israel, suppression of the farm workers strike; suppression of #feesmustfall leaders; the curtailing of freedom of expression and the right to protest
The mines and banks and other sectors of the economy has remained in the hands of imperialism capitalism and much has passed into their direct control. The price has been a few BEE shares, which were purchased through loans from the very same imperialism.
The cheap labour system has remained intact. When the masses have risen against this, the upper middle class leaders of the ANC have sided with imperialism capitalism. The ANC government has used its legitimacy to aid the imperialist to re-colonise much of Africa; in the DRC and elsewhere across Southern Africa, SANDF troops are stationed as a free security service, each soldier being paid R50 000 per month, to defend imperialist mining and other plunder activities.
Under the Mandela Presidency, the ANC signed protocols with Israel to expand trade, including weapons trade; under Mbeki the ANC signed an agreement to never nationalise any Israeli company; most of SA diamonds are sent by Anglo American to Israel for cutting and polishing.
Is it not time to admit that the alliance with the multi-class ANC has not only postponed Socialism but has led to the entrenched rule of imperialism capitalism, the continuation of major elements of slave capitalism? The upper middle class in the ANC have drowned out the workers voice and in all decisive cases, they have sided with imperialism capitalism.
Let us cast off the old jacket and build an independent, revolutionary working class party. [Break with the ANC]. Only the working class in power on its own, has the interest to complete the democratic programme of demands.
Workers International Vanguard Party/League