Numsa Media Monitor
Thursday 14 April 2016
A daily compilation of local, national and international articles dealing with labour related issues
Airline commuters must brace for strike action from Thursday
TimesMedia, 12 April 2016
A majority of Comair customer service agents‚ ticket sales agents‚ ramp controllers‚ ground controllers and special service agents are expected to go on strike on Thursday at various airports around the country including the major cities of Johannesburg‚ Cape Town and Durban.
The affected employees say they are earning less than people doing the same job at other companies. Members of the United Association of South Africa (UASA) trade union‚ which says it represents approximately 400 members or approximately 60% of airport employees at Comair‚ confirmed the strike action after wage talks broke down.
“UASA and Comair Limited have been engaged in salary negotiations since the beginning of November 2015. The parties reached deadlock during January 2016 whereafter UASA declared a dispute on 16 February.
The CCMA failed to schedule the matter within the prescribed 30-day period and requested an extension from the parties. Failure to schedule the urgent dispute yet again‚ gave rise to UASA requesting an urgent intervention from the CCMA. The dispute was duly conciliated upon on 5 April‚” the union said in a statement.
“The parties were unable to reach an agreement and the CCMA issued a certificate that the dispute remained unresolved.”
UASA said its demands amounted to a 30% increase over a 3-year period (10% per year)‚ comprising a CPI increase plus extra to allow for the extraordinary increase in cost of living as well as interest rate hikes. Comair is offering an equivalent 22‚5% (7.5% per year) increase for the same period.
“The intended strike action will be an historic event for Comair‚ as this will be the first strike by employees in the airline’s existence.”
While the strike has the potential to cause inconveniences to passengers and delays in air travel‚ UASA said it “remains committed to resolving the dispute‚ even at this late stage”.
The airline says it has contingency plans in place to minimise disruptions.
Comair strike: kulula and BA domestic passengers advised to use online or self check-in
Traveller24, 13 April 2016
Cape Town – Comair, operators for low-cost domestic airline kulula and British Airways, say they have put plans in place to stem the effects of its airport ground staff strike due to ongoing annual wage negotiations.
Comair Airport ground staff have been granted legal permission to strike and will be doing so from Wednesday afternoon, 13 April 2016 from 16:40 until the matter concerning a deadlock on annual wage negotiations has been resolved.
Comair issued a statement confirming it has a comprehensive contingency plan in place and intends to continue with its daily operations, stating it has every intention to “minimise disruptions and inconvenience, as a result of potential industrial action”.
“We encourage our customers to check-in online or at the self-service kiosks at the airports and to drop their bags at the bag drop counter. We do have a back-up team who will assist our customers during the potential disruption, which could potentially be caused as a result of the strike, and we will do our best to minimise the impact on our customers’ travel plans”, Erik Venter, Comair’s CEO, says.
Also posting to its Twitter account kulula said it apologised for any inconvenience and advised of the alternative check-in measures at the airport.
The trade union, which has a 58% membership in the airport unit, is requesting a 35% increase over 3 years, while Comair is offering an unconditional 7.5% increase for each of the three years (22,5% over three year period).
Comair stated both parties are still open to amicably resolve the dispute during the 48hr notice period.
Nearly all Pikitup workers reported for work
JacarandaFM, 12 April 2016
“Approximately 95 percent of Pikitup depot-based workers reported to their respective depots this morning. They have commenced with their normal scheduled waste management services which include refuse collection, street sweeping and litter picking as from today,” Pikitup said late on Monday.
The strike at Pikitup, the COJ waste mangement company, hhad caused growing concerns over the health and environmental impact of accumulating refuse, particularly in low income, high density areas.
Pikitup spokesperson, Jacky Mashapu, said the COJ had committed itself to clearing the refuse collection backlog by April 30.
“The workers will also continue to clear illegally dumped waste in open spaces and street corners. We anticipate that the recovery plan will take over three weeks to complete since, in most instances, the normal operations may be slowed due to excess waste which has accumulated for five weeks,” Mashapu said.
During the strike, Pikitup had been paying R1 million a day to private contractors to remove refuse and for security escorts to prevent attacks on contractors’ workers.
Pikitup said it would continue to use third-party contractors for about a month to complement its employees so as to speed up the cleaning of the city.
Among other measures taken to clear the waste collection backlog, the COJ would set up a joint operations centre, continue with community mobilisation and encourage focus on recycling and the separation of waste.
Meanwhile, negotiations between Pikitup, the COJ and Samwu to reach a settlement for pay parity were began at CCMA on Monday.
Cosatu’s provincial secretary, Dumisani Dakile, said on Sunday said the negotiations on salary benchmarking would be based on the principle of a salary scale, a common grading system, and salary progression based on tenure and job performance.
Salary increments agreed to would be backdated to January.
At least 4000 Pikitup workers affiliated to Samwu embarked on an unprotected strike on March 9, demanding wage hikes from R6000 to R10,000 a month. They were also demanding the removal of managing director Amanda Nair, whom they accuse of graft.
Nair has previously been cleared of any wrongdoing by the high court.
The City said a private firm was investigating 18 fresh allegations levelled against Nair by Samwu.
Pikitup agreed to make a once-off payment of R750 to all Grade A and B workers in anticipation of salary adjustments in order to achieve equal pay for equal work, for equal tenure.
All 4000 workers were found guilty of misconduct during a disciplinary hearing. But Pikitup said their returning to work would work in mitigation of disciplinary action to be taken against them.
NUM sets bargaining conditions for Sibanye
Dineo Faku, Business Report, 13 April 2016
Johannesburg – The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the biggest organised labour union in the gold sector, planned to snub Sibanye Gold’s R25 monthly “stability premium”, if the company failed to negotiate through centralised bargaining led by the Chamber of Mines.
Sibanye planned to implement the R25 monthly “stability premium” across the board following its negotiations with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) in a desperate bid to avert a wage strike.
This was despite Sibanye signing a three-year wage deal for a 12 percent increase with the NUM, Solidarity and Uasa in October.
NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu said: “For NUM to accept (the) offer Sibanye must table the offer through a centralised bargaining process led by the Chamber of Mines. It must not be unilaterally implemented. NUM is waiting to have a meeting with Sibanye through the chamber, nothing has been confirmed.”
Sibanye’s chief executive Neal Froneman has previously said the company will not reopen wage negotiations after penning the deal with the three unions.
Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted said the company was still in discussion with the three unions.
“We will continue to engage unions. We have to work out the implementation of the premium as we go. Having said that we don’t intend to reopen wage negations,” he said.
Solidarity warned yesterday that while both unprotected and protected strike action had reduced dramatically since the wildcat strikes of 2012, and the five-month platinum belt wage strike of 2014, Sibanye’s decision to commit to a R25 monthly “stability premium” would likely fuel labour unrest.
Du Plessis blamed Sibanye for betraying labour, destroying collective bargaining in the gold industry and negotiating outside the bargaining forum.
“Amcu now knows how easy it is to call Sibanye’s chief executive Neal Froneman’s bluff. We demand a proper explanation for (the) irrational decision and the reason why we were not kept in the loop as bargaining partners.
“We also want an explanation of how the bargaining structure will be restored,” Du Plessis said.
Sibanye was the only mining company that was buying assets despite the slump in the mining industry, including the acquisition of Anglo American Platinum’s Rustenburg operations.
“We predict Sibanye’s platinum negotiations with Amcu; Amcu will have the upper hand. Sibanye has traded a short-term gain for long-term pain,” Du Plessis said
Franz Stehring, a divisional manager for the minerals at Uasa, said the union backed the premium. Stehring said the union wanted the amendment to be done at a central and not a company level, under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines.
“One cannot play with lives. If Sibanye wants to implement it, they must implement it. It carries our approval in light of safety and health. At the end of the day it is our members that would be hurt, threatened and we don’t want to go through the process of Impala Platinum where employees went on a wildcat strike over pay
“We said to Sibanye if that is what it takes to preserve jobs, ensure safety of employees, carry on,” he said.
Sibanye shares rose by 3.87 percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R60.37.
Cosatu meets the Gupta family about jobs concerns
Karl Gernetzky, Business Day, 13 April 2016
THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Tuesday it had met the Gupta family over concerns that staff at its company may be the victims of collateral damage from political battles.
Cosatu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said the federation had made it clear that staff should not bear the brunt of by decisions by financial institutions to sever ties with Gupta family linked businesses. in the past few days, several finance houses — Absa, FNB, Nedbank, Sasfin and KPMG — have revealed that they have severed ties with entities owned by the Guptas.
On Monday, Cosatu described this ” as political posturing” by the finance institutions. It said despite the federation’s own concerns about the family, staff at its companies could be prejudiced by decisions that were not backed by due process. On Tuesday, Mr Pamla said Cosatu had asked the Gupta family to approach bodies such as the Financial Services Board (FSB) and Competition Commission for redress. “We made it clear they owe workers more than what you have done so far, and you can’t just act like victims,” he said. At the same time, Cosatu would seek its own engagement with the banks, while also engaging with workers and its affiliated unions in the relevant sectors, such as the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU), he said.
In a letter to staff, leaked to the media on Friday‚ Nazeem Howa, CEO of the Gupta-controlled Oakbay Investments, said: “It is with deep regret‚ that following a period of sustained political attack on the Gupta family and our businesses‚ and by extension‚ you our employees‚ we have come to the conclusion that it is time for the Gupta family to step down from all executive and nonexecutive positions. In doing this‚ the family hopes to end the campaign against Oakbay and save all of our jobs.”
His statement followed the resignation of non-executive chairman Atul Gupta and CEO Varun Gupta. President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma quit as non-executive director of Shiva Uranium‚ a major subsidiary of the company.
Mr Howa said Oakbay’s executive committee and the CEOs of each of the businesses would continue to oversee the day-to-day management and running of the business and all portfolio companies.
Oakbay is at the centre of the “Guptagate” storm over the president’s close association with the Gupta family‚ which has been accused of “interviewing” for positions in Mr Zuma’s cabinet. Oakbay Investments is the holding company for several Gupta-related subsidiaries.
Mr Howa said 7,500 jobs were under threat because the businesses could not operate without bank accounts.
The Gupta family’s businesses span media, computers, mining and engineering. The family’s first venture into South Africa was the establishment of Sahara Computers and Sahara Systems (Pty) Ltd. In mining, its interests include Oakbay Resources and Energy: Uranium and gold mining and processing company, the Shiva Uranium Mine, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, Westdawn Investments (Pty) Ltd t/a JIC Mining Services and Black Edge Exploration.
Its media interests are centred on TNA Media (Pty) Ltd, including The New Age newspaper and ANN7 (African News Network), a 24-hour news channel.
UVavi uzohola ingqungquthela yenhlangano entsha
Izindaba24/Daily Sun, 13 April 2016
Johannesburg – Abamele izinhlangano ezahlukahlukene eGoli bathe inhlangano yabo entsha ngeke ize incike kwinhlangano yezombusazwe, kubika iDailysun.
UZwelinzima Vavi owayengunobhala-jikele we-Cosatu uyena ongumhleli wale nhlangano entsha kanti uthe i-Cosatu ayisenamandla ngakhoke abasebenzi badinga inhlangano entsha.
Ngomhlaka 30 Ephreli kulindeleke izihambeli ezilinganiselwa ku-3000 kusukela kwizinhlangano ezilinganiselwa ku-40 bazohlanganyela ehhotela iBirchwood Hotel eBoksburg, ngengqungquthela yabasebenzi.
OLUNYE UDABA:Ngaxoshelwa ukuvikela iNumsa – Vavi
“Ngomhlaka 1 Meyi kubungazwa uSuku lwabaSebenzi futhi kuzobe kungukuzalwa kwenhlangano entsha, yentando yabantu futhi ezimele engahambisani namaqembu ezombusazwe.
“Ukwethulwa ngokusemthethweni kwale nhlangano kuzokwenzelwa elokishini lase-Thembisa,”kusho uVavi.
SA activist groups lack strategies and public support
Steven Friedman, Business Day 13 April 2016
IF THE president’s future depends on the activist groups who are mobilising to get him to resign, he will be in office for a long time.
The hope that is pinned on a campaign for a change of president by citizens’ organisations who claim to support democracy and social justice — usually labelled “civil society” although that means all citizens’ groups, not just those who call themselves “progressive” — is only one example of enthusiasm here for “progressive” civil society as a force for change. It is hard to understand why.
Citizen action to force power holders to account and respond is key to democracy. But citizens’ organisations do not wield power because a textbook says they should — they need effective strategies and strong, organised, public support. This is in short supply here.
Some groups who champion democracy have made a name for themselves by suing the government when they read something in the media with which they are unhappy. This is sometimes effective but is costly, and even if you have the money, there is a limit to the problems courts can put right: there is far more to citizen activism than court cases. But, beyond legal actions, it is hard to think of successful activism since the days when a campaign won treatment for people living with HIV and Aids.
There are organisations in townships and shack settlements who, in almost impossible conditions, fight for grassroots people — but because they are local, have few resources, and represent people who the mainstream care little about (the poor and the weak), they are largely ignored and rarely influence national decisions.
Those who have the resources and connections needed to be heard are strong on social media postings, media releases and some sparsely attended meetings or marches. They are weak on effective strategy and strong grassroots support. Much of this section of civil society seems to believe that the morality of their position entitles them to influence even if they do not work for it.
This problem was highlighted when banks and auditors refused to do business with the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments. “Progressive” civil society, despite its opposition to the Guptas, did not claim credit for making this happen, instead it complained that banks and auditors were being selective since they have other undesirable clients.
This would have puzzled activists in other parts of the world who see pressing banks not to do business with those they oppose as a key strategy. The banks and auditors said they had pulled out of the Gupta businesses to avoid “reputational damage”. That means that they feared that doing business with them would make them look bad, in which case ditching the client made more business sense than getting a bad name.
It is not activist rocket science to work out that banks and auditors have no problem about who they do business with unless a public fuss means that their reputation could suffer. This is why activists make it their business to make public fusses about their targets: Citibank pulled the plug on the apartheid government in 1985 because it decided that dealing with protests was not worth the (limited) gains doing business with it brought.
So the fact that the Guptas are targeted and others aren’t means that there has been a public fuss about them and not about the others. And there has been no public unease about the others because “civil society” groups have done nothing to create it: they have not made a case for shunning anyone, have not organised anyone to support their demands or come up with a strategy to press the financial services industry to listen to anything.
Another strategic failure may be brewing. Despite reports that the Guptas have decamped to Dubai, it seems likely that they are trying to remain involved in the economy in a way low key enough to enable banks and auditors to service them without risking damage.
This is an ideal situation for an effective civil society campaign: activists could dig into their financial dealings to discover where they are still active and then press those who provide their businesses with lifelines to stop it. A well organised campaign would have a strong chance of making it impossible for the family to do business here.
None of this seems on the cards: those who might play this role are far too busy denouncing evil at media events to do what it would take. Whether they would be able if they try is open to question: but what is clear is that they are not trying.
This is only one of the issues on which civil society groups who claim to support democracy and justice might organise effectively but do not. It illustrates the key point — that “progressive civil society” has failed to turn talk into effective action which could mobilise many in its support.
When asked what he thought of modern civilisation, Gandhi said “it would be a very good idea”. Much the same can be said about this country’s citizens’ movement to strengthen democracy and advance social justice.
- Professor Friedman is director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy
ANC branches at loggerheads over Zuma
eNCA, 13 April 2016
JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng ANC leaders are being lambasted for clarifying their position on President Jacob Zuma by asking him to “do the right thing”.
The Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga all say they are firmly behind the president.
Gauteng’s provincial executive committee held a meeting on Monday to discuss the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the Nkandla debacle.
Members then issued a statement saying they accepted the president’s apology in the aftermath of the ruling, but called on him to do what was right to resolve the crisis in the party.
“The apology was not enough. There are a number of things that can be considered,” said ANC Gauteng Provincial Secretary, Hope Papo.
“One of them was that the president steps down as the leader of the country. But obviously remains the president of the ANC.
“There was a suggestion that the issue will be looked on whether there were ethical and integrity issues, but we will have to check with the structures if they agree so that when we interact with national leadership. We can actually place all these issues on the agenda including the alliance in the province and various sectorial formations in the province. “
Zuma’s home province of Kwa-Zulu Natal has come out in his defence.
The province says it respects the ruling by the highest court in the land, but views the current calls for Zuma’s head as a plot to weaken the party.
“We also noted and unconditional accepted the apology of President Zuma and his explanation relating to the Constitutional Court outcomes,” ANC KZN’s Provincial Working Committee said in a statement. “We strongly reject with contempt it deserves the call by our legendary opponents and those within our ranks, including some religious leaders, for the President to step down.
“This coalition against President Zuma has naked intentions to weaken and tarnish the glorious image of the ANC as the leader of the national democratic revolution.
“We call on President Zuma to focus on his important tasks of leading our people on a journey to a national democratic society.”
Gauteng ANC wants Zuma to go – source
Genevieve Quintal, News24, 13 April 2016
Johannesburg – The Gauteng ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) has resolved that President Jacob Zuma should step down, a source has told News24.
The PEC met on Tuesday where the decision was taken.
This has not been officially confirmed by the party in the province, but a statement on the resolution was expected.
This will be the first ANC province to call for the president to go.
This was despite the ANC’s National Working Committee resolving that it accepted Zuma’s apology, and the decision not to recall him.
There have been widespread calls for Zuma to resign following the Constitutional Court ruling that he failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial action regarding payment for the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
ANCYL in Gauteng against decision
Despite the resolution taken by the Gauteng PEC, a source said, the ANC Youth League in the Gauteng was against the decision and communicated that in the meeting.
It’s understood that although the ANCYL did not think Zuma was the best individual to lead the party and that the way the Nkandla matter was handled was a “fundamental blunder”, removing the president would be playing into the 2017 dynamics.
The source said the ANCYL was of the view that the unity of the organisation was paramount at this stage.
The youth league is expected to give its own briefing on the matter later this week.
The ANC in Gauteng has, in the past, spoken out strongly against some decisions taken by the ruling party and its handling of some issues, such as e-tolls and the spending on Zuma’s Nkandla home.
Last week, provincial chairperson David Makhura said the country was facing an economic and political crisis, and that members of the ANC needed to ask themselves whether the party was acting in the best interest of the nation.
“Many of us know that in history when the ANC was having meetings, we knew that the ANC would take the right decisions,” he said in a recording of his address given at the memorial service of Umkhonto we Sizwe veteran, Shirish Nanabhai.
“Many of us know that in history when the ANC was going to consider what next to do, we knew that the ANC would act in the best interest of the people and the country. We should ask ourselves… whether we can still say that today, and if we have any shadow of a doubt, there is a fundamental problem we must fix.”
UPDATE at 14:47 – The ANC’s Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that the division wants Zuma to step down. He told the M&G that if Zuma stepped down, it would help to restore confidence in the party.
ANC heavyweights visit East London as part of party’s nationwide drive ahead of #Elections2016
Malibongwe Dayimani, TimesLive, 12 April 2016
ANC heavyweights‚ including deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and national executive committee (NEC) member Obed Bapela‚ visited the poverty-stricken informal settlement of Stoney Drift in Amalinda in East London on Tuesday afternoon.
The visit was part of a nationwide drive by the ruling party to lure votes in the run-up to the August 3 local government elections.
Residents were given an opportunity to voice their concerns to the leadership‚ which included Buffalo City Metropolitan (BCM) deputy mayor Xola Pakati and Eastern Cape health MEC Phumza Dyantyi.
Housing backlogs‚ lack of water‚ electricity and sanitation were some of the problems cited by the residents.
The ANC delegation took notes and promised to follow up on the grievances raised by the people.
Duarte also welcomed three new members to the ANC – two from the Democratic Alliance (DA) and one from the Congress of the People (COPE) party.
SACP E Cape meeting Alfred Nzo District over reports it won’t support ANC in upcoming elections
R News, 12 April 2016
The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape on Monday said that it notes with great concern the media reports about the SACP Alfred Nzo District.
“In the media reports, our Alfred District is alleged to have confirmed that it is not going to support nor campaign for the African National Congress (ANC) in the 2016 Local Government Elections but contest on its own,” said Siyabonga Mdodi, SACP Provincial Spokesperson.
“The SACP Provincial Working Committee will visit the Alfred Nzo District on the 23 – 24 April 2016 for the servicing of party structures. We will use the visit to seek clarity from our district on these concerning reports.
“We are quite aware of the challenges faced by our comrades in that district in relation to the functionality of the alliance. The challenges will be attended to, in line with the resolves of the recently held Provincial Alliance Summit. The alliance summit emphasized that.”
He reminded of the Provincial Alliance Summit Declaration which said; “The summit reaffirmed the decision of the ANC PEC Lekgotla of a joint Alliance approach in attending to the identified hotspot areas. This includes joint Alliance visits to the regions where there are reports about challenges of non-functionality of the Alliance.”
Mdodi said that the SACP in its 13th National Congress and its 3rd Special National Congress resolved to support the African National Congress in the elections.
“The SACP is a unitary organisation and therefore its lower organs are expected to carry the decisions of upper organs; that is non-negotiable. Therefore any transgression from the SACP National Congress resolutions will constitute gross violation of the SACP code of conduct and will never be tolerated,” he said.
“We would like to call upon all our structures, members and supporters to work for the overwhelming victory of the ANC alliance in the upcoming local government elections. Let us not allow temporary irritations to distract us from putting our country onto the second more radical phase of the transition.”
ANCWL protects Zuma‚ attacks Manuel and Ramos’ ‘match made in heaven’
TimesMedia, 13 April 2016
Trevor Manuel‚ his “match made in heaven” with Mario Ramos‚ and their wedding at one of Anton Rupert’s “lavish vineyards in Stellenbosch” were raised in the African National Congress Womens League’s (ANCWL) statement of support for President Jacob Zuma.
It also‚ while calling Public Protector advocate Thuli Mandonsela “honourable”‚ said it demands “a more objective and less populist person who will campaign against government and its people but defend principles of the structures”.
In the statement‚ secretary-general Meokgo Matuba said the league had “forgiven our leader” and it remains “remain resolute to defend and guard the revolution against those who master behind the scenes in dividing and ruling the people of South Africa led by the African National Congress”.
In what appeared to be an outlet for frustration “boiling quietly inside”‚ Matuba on Tuesday said: “Some of us knew the day would come for truth to burst‚ in as much as it was heaped up.”
The truth‚ Matuba ventured‚ was “that our war for equality and economic prosperity is still brewing”.
“It remains a mystery as to what extent the rule of law applies and to whom.
“It remains unjust that‚ after 22 years of dispensation‚ we still find unfair‚ unjust rule of the many institutions that have sucked us of ourselves and even continues to cause deep‚ scarred divisions amongst us.”
Matuba said‚ that despite Mandonsela’s having “proclaimed to investigate” the “CIEX report commissioned by the apartheid government which implicates Absa (Bankorp) in apartheid corruption worth more than R3-billion…to this day apartheid crimes remain unpunished and Absa Bank continues to operate with no penalties attached”.
She noted that “the Rembrandt Group headed by Anton Rupert…also called for President Jacob Zuma to resign after the Constitutional Court ruling made by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng” as did former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel.
“Many forget‚ or perhaps are not aware‚ that in the early 2000s‚ Barclays Group Ltd started negotiating with our government to buy Absa Bank Limited‚” said Matuba‚ adding that “there was an outcry” as “Barclays was involved in funding the apartheid military with billions to kill ANC operatives‚ PAC/Azapo combatants and civilians”.
This‚ she claimed‚ “could not have been possible without the approval by…Manuel and our then President Thabo Mbeki to take charge despite of Barclays bank’s many crimes against South Africa and her people”.
The league‚ Matuba said‚ “looked at a far distance on the instrumental role played…by Trevor Manuel and his wife Maria Ramos‚ ‘indeed a match made in heaven’ ”.
She said Ramos was “employed by National Treasury before 1994‚ then a director-general post-1994‚ before proceeding to become the CEO of Absa/Barclays”‚ and highlighted “she was also appointed board member of the Remgro Group co-owned by the Ruperts”.
Ramos and Manuel enjoyed “Rupert’s gracious hospitality” at their “wedding at one of his lavish vineyards in Stellenbosch”‚ she added.
“After many years of their invasion‚ the Ruperts are billionaires‚ with the Rothchilds and a few others in control of the world’s finance.”
She appeared to have sympathy for the “Gupta family”‚ who had been subjected to an “unfair amount of attack …even after the invasions of many institutions such as the Oppenheimers‚ the Ruperts and Barclays…continue to gain resources of our beloved state”.
“In note of all the above‚ we have forgiven our leader‚ Comrade President Jacob Zuma and remain steadfast in our quest‚ for economic freedom and equality alongside President Jacob Zuma.”
We would never ask for Zuma to step down – Free State ANC
Jeanette Chabalala, News24, 12 April 2016
Bloemfontein – No ANC branch in the Free State would ever go against President Jacob Zuma and ask him to step down, provincial spokesperson, Thabo Meeko, said on Tuesday.
“As the province of the Free State, we have reaffirmed our support for President Jacob Zuma and the leadership of the party,” Meeko told News24.
He said the party was not moved by opposition parties who called for Zuma to resign.
“Opposition parties are frustrated and bankrupt and their only programme is anti-ANC. President Jacob Zuma was deployed by the ANC and he will be removed by the ANC and the people of South Africa, not the opposition party,” he said.
He said he believed Zuma would lead the country until the next elections.
Earlier on Tuesday, the party briefed supporters in all five districts in the Free State regarding the Constitutional Court ruling. ANC supporters who gathered in Bloemfontein sang Zuma’s praises and said they would continue to support him.
Zuma a leader with ‘integrity, humility’
Member of the provincial executive committee and education MEC, Tate Makgoe, hailed Zuma as a leader with integrity and humility.
He also said an attack on Zuma was an attack on the party.
“We have never seen a leader with humility like Zuma. We have never seen the most powerful [and] respected person coming in front of South Africans – young and old – black and white and said he made a mistake,” said Makgoe.
There have been widespread calls for Zuma to resign following the Constitutional Court ruling that he failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s remedial recommendations regarding payment for the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
Other prominent figures – including ANC stalwarts such as Ahmed Kathrada, Cheryl Carolus and Trevor Manuel – have called for Zuma to step down.
Guptas’ corporate capture not the only kind
Jeremy Cronin, The Star/Cape Times, 13 April 2016
It’s important to remember corporate capture is typically more insidious than the recklessly brazen attempts of the Gupta family, says Jeremy Cronin.
Cape Town – On the day after the landmark Constitutional Court Nkandla judgment, one remark in particular caught my eye. According to Collen Garrow, an economist at Lefika Securities: “What might be learnt from yesterday’s experience was that markets would make decisions for policy-makers, punish them where they got it wrong, but also reward them when they got it right, as was the case yesterday.” (Business Report, April 1).
Garrow was, of course, referring to the momentary surge in the rand’s exchange value following the judgment. But there, in a nutshell, the problematic relationship between capitalism and a constitutional democracy stands exposed.
For its sheer hubris, this boast that markets will (and should) make decisions for elected policy-makers, or perhaps guide Constitutional Court judges, runs the danger of making any allegation of corporate capture against the Guptas seem trivial.
Why worry about the Guptas, some might be inclined to argue, when the “markets” have got things sewn up already? For let’s be clear, the markets are not an idyllic interplay of millions of global citizens influencing outcomes through democratically exercising their sovereign individual market choices. The one person, one vote democratic principle doesn’t apply in the marketplace. Market sentiment is dominated by the profit-maximising interests of exceedingly powerful corporate monopolies and their adjuncts, among them the ratings agencies.
I am not arguing that a democratically-elected government can simply run its head up against the brick wall of these harsh, unjust realities. But how do we defend and consolidate our national sovereignty and democratic mandate against the acquisitive agenda of the global one-percenters?
How, in the face of exceedingly powerful monopolies, does the public sector boldly advance not private but public interest, defined by our constitution (the very one now selectively upheld by all and sundry) as including “the nation’s commitment to land reform, and to reforms to bring about equitable access to all South Africa’s natural resources”? Garrow’s markets are not going to reward us in that endeavour.
Over the past weeks, the Nkandla matter and corporate capture have become intertwined. Unfortunately, much of the recent public discussion on the dangers of corporate capture has been superficial, and often simply factional.
First, it’s important to remember corporate capture is typically more insidious than the recklessly brazen attempts of the Gupta family, and it is certainly not a reality confined to South Africa. The US political system is possibly the most corporately captured in the world. Around half of all retiring US Congress members return to the institution as lobbyists for major corporations.
US academic Robert W McChesney notes “the corruption in Congress and across the government today is only rarely of the traditional bribery kind. It is instead a far more structural dependence upon corporate money built into the DNA of the political system – traditional payoffs are not necessary”.
Writing of the US financial sector in the immediate aftermath of the massive bailout at public expense, former IMF economist Simon Johnson referred to a “quiet coup”, noting the “easy access of leading financiers to the highest US government officials and the interweaving of the two career tracks”. Johnson referred specifically to the revolving door between public office and Goldman Sachs, notorious for its role in precipitating the ongoing Greek economic crisis. US Senator Richard Durbin recently said of the banks’ influence on the Senate, “frankly, they own the place”.
In our own post-apartheid situation, elements of corporate capture are certainly not a recent phenomenon. The adoption of the 1996 GEAR policy programme, riding roughshod over the overwhelming 1994 RDP electoral mandate, was an early sign that individuals in key parts of the state (many deployed after stints at Goldman Sachs) had been corporately captured – if not through their pockets, then certainly in their brains.
But there have also been a succession of more venal attempts at state capture through the perversion of “black economic empowerment” (BEE). Brett Kebble’s criminal circle was able to pervert senior government officials, partly through personalities within the ANC and ANC Youth League.
The SACP exposed the former ANCYL’s Julius Malema’s campaign for the “nationalisation of the mines” for what it really was – corporate capture of a new kind. Malema’s “nationalisation” campaign was funded by BEE mining interests at a time when their highly leveraged mining shares were under water. The “nationalisation” call was little more than an attempt to bail out these interests at public expense.
More recently, the SACP has blown the whistle on Koos Bekker’s Naspers/Media 24 empire and the manner in which it has infiltrated key state departments; delayed, indeed captured, the much needed digital migration process, and undermined the public mandate of the SABC.
Concern about the role of the Gupta family should, therefore, be neither a new concern nor a siding with one wing of private corporate interests against another. But this also emphatically does not mean we should now fall in line with the recent pro-Gupta counter-offensive which consists essentially of saying the Guptas are “only small players”. “If you think the Guptas are bad,” Irvin Jim, Andile Mngxitama, and Pinky Khoabane all argue, “what about the Ruperts and the rest of white monopoly capital?”
Here is where it becomes necessary to unpack the different operational modes of different factions of capital. Johann Rupert’s extensive business empire was inherited largely from his father Anton, a Broederbonder. The Rupert empire is centred on two major corporations that emerged from the South African tobacco giant, Rembrandt – Remgro and Richemont.
The former is an investment company headquartered in Stellenbosch with interests in finance, mining and industry, while Richemont is a Swiss-based luxury goods company. The Rupert empire embraces hundreds of companies in 35 countries. It is an empire that does not depend on SA government tenders. Rupert can leave the schmoozing of ministers to others. He can fly on autopilot, handing over the coercion of governments to Garrow’s punitive markets.
However, unlike Rupert, who operates downright disdainfully towards the ANC-led government, Bekker’s Naspers/Media 24 empire, despite similar roots in Afrikaner capital accumulation, operates within highly regulated sectors, and there have been constant interventions from Naspers/Media 24 to suborn ANC MPs and government officials.
By contrast with the Ruperts and Bekkers, the Gupta family has been entirely reliant for their wealth accumulation on corrupting parts of the post-apartheid state. The Ruperts and Bekkers appear to have at least some degree of commitment to South Africa, presumably both for wealth preservation and sentimental, cultural reasons. (Rupert is reported to have cancelled all Richemont advertising in an overseas publication that once crassly described Afrikaans as “the ugliest language in the world”.)
The Gupta family is shipping its ill-acquired wealth (and possibly themselves) post-haste out of the country to Dubai in anticipation of a loss of political influence in the near term. For wealth preservation and sentimental reasons, the Ruperts and Bekkers require an effective, professional Treasury and SA Revenue Service (Sars) to ensure there isn’t a South African economic meltdown.
The Guptas have every reason to undermine a Treasury capable of asking rational questions, for instance, about megabillion-rand nuclear deals or a Sars that probes high-income earners before they jet off to Dubai.
Whatever its residual commitment to South Africa, established monopoly capital, with its roots in successive white-minority regimes, has locked our political economy into a semi-peripheral, mineral-exporting role within the global market. It is a path dependency now in deep trouble, reproducing deindustrialisation, the squeezing out of small enterprises, and crisis levels of unemployment, poverty, household indebtedness, and inequality.
We cannot, as a country, engage actively in a transformation struggle against this ruinous path dependency without a strategically disciplined and developmentally oriented state, including an effective Treasury and Sars.
We have, therefore, to deal with the parasitism of the Guptas and others. But herein lies one of the critical challenges of the present: we cannot exchange one form of corporate capture for another.
A defence of Treasury against parasitic predation must not simply become a falling in line with the kind of monopoly-dominated, market enslavement Garrow, Rupert and Bekker, in their different ways, clearly have in mind.
Jeremy Cronin is a member of the SACP and of the ANC National Executive Committee. He’s also the Deputy Minister of Public Works.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.