SAFTU president Mac Chavalala calls for a revolution on land

The president of SAFTU, and chairperson of the NUMSA Hlanganani region,  comrade Mac Chavalala has called for a land revolution as an effective way of dealing with poverty and inequality in South Africa.
Chavalala made the key note address on the first day of the NUMSA Red Centenary Celebrations which kicked off at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Ekurhuleni on Sunday. Hundreds of NUMSA members from different regions, including Sedibeng, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Johannesburg and the Western Cape were also in attendance.
The working class in South Africa, just like the working class of Russia in 1917, is faced with the serious challenge of increasing poverty, high unemployment and extreme levels of inequality. The situation is exacerbated by rampant looting and corruption taking place both in government and in the private sector.  Workers in this country have to carry the additional burden of supporting extended family on low wages, the majority are also exposed to poor working conditions as a result of the extreme exploitation that they experience at the hands of Capital. The only way to guarantee a path towards true radical economic empowerment is to transform society in the interests of the Working Class and the poor. The ANC has proven that it is not interested in pursuing a working class agenda. It dumped the Freedom Charter in favour of failed macro-economic policies like GEAR and the NDP, and it is hell bent on continuing on this disastrous neo-liberal path.
The first step in creating a just and equitable society is to deal with land ownership. As things stand the majority of land, at least 80% remains in the hand of white people who make up only 10% of the population. Chavalala made reference to a report by a right wing farmers organization called Agri-SA which recently released a report into land ownership patterns. He went on to say,
“They are bold to tell us that from 1994 to last year there has been a huge increase in Black people owning land. If you try to check what is it that they are taking about, they are talking about an increase of 12% to about 20% and they call that huge, when the land is in the hands of the minority. There must be revolution on land if you want to turn the situation around.”
A representative of the Zambian Socialist Party, comrade Cosmos Musumali delivered a statement of solidarity. He also thanked NUMSA for the progressive role which the union played in fighting against the authoritarian regime of Edgar Lungu in Zambia. Lungu has turned what was once a peaceful democratic state into a brutal dictatorship.
He has no tolerance for dissent. Those who dare to oppose him are jailed, harassed or even killed. NUMSA has been very vocal in its opposition to the Lungu administration and even staged a picket at the Zambian High Commissioners office in Pretoria earlier this year to highlight the crisis. Comrade Musumali reminded those present that the working class are agents of change, because they have the power to radically transform society. Their revolutionary ancestors, the Russians created a just and equitable society, which was worker controlled, and the same can happen again today.
The 2nd Deputy President Comrade Ruth Ntlokotse who was chairing the event, said the Russian Revolution is a reminder that true power resides with the working class. The working class in Russia took charge of the society, the economy and the state and they transformed society in their own interests.
The Red Centenary celebrations are a reminder of who we are as the working class, and the true power that we yield when we are united with a common vision. We were united in defeating the tyranny of the white apartheid state, but the work of dismantling the economic structure of Apartheid, which is responsible for the suffering of the African majority, has yet to be completed. We must unite behind a common vision to create a more humane society, as envisioned by the Freedom Charter.
Aluta continua!
The struggle continues!
Issued by Phakamile Hlubi
NUMSA National Spokesperson