The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) condemns the government’s efforts to privatise the country’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with the contempt it deserves. In the month of March 2021, a memorandum of demand was handed to the Minister of Public Enterprise-Pravin Gordhan-citing our discontent on subservient conditions subjected to employees at SAA (South African Airways). Notwithstanding that the Department of Public Enterprise (DPE) has been instrumental in collaborating with proponents of neoliberal capitalism in perpetuating the assault against workers.
Apart from consuming the labour-power of aviation workers without any convincing efforts to pay their salaries, the DPE has been unambiguous in maintaining and reproducing the social ills confronting the marginalised class in society. Though the capitalist mode of production has entered into a cycle of insoluble crisis, the latest prescriptions aimed at privatising Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) exposes the government’s intent to reform a decomposing system at the expense of the livelihoods of ordinary South African’s.
Following the collapse of Apartheid in 1994, the African native believed that South Africa had entered into a transformational path designed at decolonizing a Eurocentric cultural hegemony. Paradoxically, the compulsion for profit maximization reveals that liberation under a bourgeois democracy depends on the maintenance of colonial tendencies. This rude awakening continues to teach workers that their exploitation and segregation from inclusive socio-economic development is necessary for keeping them in their sub-standard place. Democracy in this case is not only neoliberal but neo-colonial owing to the transformation of labour and society into fictitious commodities colonised by money markets. Certainly, “the more things change, the more they stay the same” because the South African native continues to find himself “… not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth”.
The union has on many occasions questioned the government’s hallucination about the private sector acting as a solution to South African problems. The marketization of SOEs through public-private partnerships are the main reason for their underperformance. Because workers evolve in the same proportion as capitalist development, terms such as “equity partnerships” cannot be used to lure them into accepting the privatisation of SOEs. These terms are not only unfortunate but support the argument that the actions of some leaders within the state are moulded by the deprived people syndrome (DPS) which is expressed through the intellectual undermining and the sub-oppression of the working-class and poor.
The desire for super-profits has always been achieved on the back of employees. Furthermore, the evidence before us establishes that the collapse of SOEs like SAA occurred as a result of intentional maladministration and grand-scale corruption between “democratically elected politicians” and the private sector. Having considered the foregoing, we can confidently conclude that the “people’s government” is, in reality, a vanguard of the capitalist mode of production. To realise a real people’s government founded on egalitarian principles, the working-class must at different levels and/or uneven stages of development combine their experiences in reformulating politics of resistance/refusal. The interests of workers cannot be safeguarded by the proponents of private ownership hence, we must reiterate that privatisation and private capital is an enemy of the people.
Finally, developments at TNPA exposes the government’s perseverance to sell both the SOE and workers to the highest bidder. In counteracting the architects and impersonators of exploitation and dehumanisation, the union together with its members have embarked on lunch hour picketing essential for defending the working conditions and livelihoods of the downtrodden proletarian class. The first wave of action took place today (15/04/2021) at KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Durban Port Pier 1. We call on all Transnet workers regardless of enterprises and/or operational divisions to embark on anti-privatisation pickets in their workplaces. The pickets are the first phase for organising a full-blown industrial action and the total shutdown of all Transnet operations. AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!!!!!
Issued by: South African Transport & Allied Workers Union
For more information, contact
SATAWU General Secretary: Jack Mazibuko: 082 660 4793
SATAWU Deputy General Secretary: Anele Kiet: 071 021 1903
SATAWU KZN Provincial Secretary: Nothemba Dlamini:072 559-4733