The country has, for the past week, been faced with protests in provinces such as North West and Free State, these protests were largely community service delivery protests. This week Unions such as NUMSA and FASTU have shown their dissatisfaction with the treatment of workers and with minimum wage set to be phased into law soon. These unions argue that this minimum wage is a slap on the face of the workers because it will perpetuate the poverty of many workers who continue to leave below the poverty line. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Tuesday urged South Africans to down tools and support the national strike against the R20 minimum wage hourly rate.
One should not be misled to think that international or domestic investors are interested in proper pay for the working class. The proposal of this kind of minimum wage is set to feed the exploitative capitalist nature of labor relation in this country. Research shows that a wage of R4500 is barely adequate for basic monthly expenses, now consider the fact that recently VAT was increased to 15%, the price of petrol has been rising and is predicted to continue rising and that the working class will largely have to carry out these costs. It is clear that this pro-Capitalist economic system will never be on the side of the working class. Perhaps Marx was right; the workers will someday revolt and totally reject this system as a way of life. Perhaps in a blue moon employers will realise that work is a social activity that should benefit a people as a whole.
Employers should repent after reflecting on their contribution to the structural exploitation of workers by means of industrial capitalism. Capitalists will never change, however it is up to the workers to make them realise their ills in an attempt to overthrow this exploitative system. Workers are perhaps yet to realise their power in the bargaining table and in society at large.
Some studies on socialist economic activities include empirical evidence that shows that economic self-determination leads to a number of improved societal outcomes including economic growth, better incomes and ultimately improved living standards. Some claim that the fundamentals of socialism which push for state ownership and control of strategic sectors of the economy are the foundation for sustainable economic transformation in any society that hopes to be self-reliant and include the previously marginalised into the economic circle of the nation. Socialism is the solution to the poverty and inequality we see in South Africa; despite the entire negative image put on the system, it is what we need!
It does not make sense to continue to give a capitalist agenda a chance when all we can see is the suffering of the power and the enrichment of the rich at the same time. The South African working class should start a class revolution in the continent and lead the rest of our brothers and sisters to a united socialist continent that is free of corruption, A continent that ensures that the comfort of the workers comes first. Many might say this is only a pipe dream but they would be mistaken to think that the working class will allow to be exploited by the capitalists and their agents any longer.
The leadership of SAFTU argued that “there will be no intimidation‚ no threats. It is a voluntary decision that people have to make [to join the strike]. We are sure that they will. It will be a peaceful‚ orderly demonstration in all the big cities. People have nothing to fear and we hope that many of them will join in the strike‚” – Patrick Craven‚ acting spokesperson of Saftu.