Just a week before the ANC’s 55th National Conference, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa is embroiled in a scandal involving the theft of huge sums of undisclosed foreign currency from his Phala Phala game farm in the Limpopo province. This scandal has deepened the factional fighting that has seen the ANC lurch from one crisis to the next for nearly two decades. At bottom though, this is part of a struggle within the ruling class for control of the party.
The EFF’s recent campaign of ‘labour inspections’ at restaurants in Gauteng is a reactionary descent into the xenophobic politics of the right-wing parties like ActionSA and the Patriotic Alliance. These right-wing outfits are very small on a national scale, but their message has been amplified by opportunist elements in the bigger parties such as the DA and the ANC. Now, scandalously, the EFF has joined in the fray.
Less than 24 hours after South African scientists announced the discovery of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, rich countries in Europe, as well as Canada and the United States, slapped highly damaging, blanket travel bans on a swathe of southern African countries. The imperialists are reacting in a haphazard fashion to the discovery of this new strain, whose emergence they facilitated to begin with through hoarding the world’s vaccine supply.
Frederik Willem de Klerk, the last president of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, died on Thursday in Cape Town. He was president from 1989 to 1994. De Klerk presided over a monstrous counter-revolutionary regime that did everything possible to secure the interests of the ruling class against the revolutionary flood tide washing over the country in the 1990s. He was an unrepentant and committed Apartheid ideologue who defended the regime even after it was overthrown.
Over the last few days, dockworkers of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) in the port city of Durban have refused to handle cargo from an Israeli ship, in protest against Israel's bombardment of the besieged Gaza strip over the last few weeks. Currently, the ship is still lying in the Durban harbour waiting to take on cargo.
Over the past few weeks student protests have flared up at several universities across the country. The immediate cause is the chronic crisis of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. The NSFAS is beset with problems of corruption and mismanagement. As a result, it routinely fails to pay the required funds students need for their education.
On Wednesday, 24 February, 21 unions of the South African Federation of Trade Unions went on a general strike against deep and sustained cuts in the living standards of workers, and to fight for a radical change in the country’s economic policies. Frustration runs high amongst the working class over mass retrenchments, wage freezes and brutal austerity measures in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.