THE violence against foreigners accused of taking jobs and working as cheap labour that has swept the South African townships has its source in the fact that 18 years after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and 14 years after he became president of South Africa, the black masses are, if anything, worse off than they were under apartheid.
The truth of the matter is that they have been extraordinarily patient waiting for change, and now they will not wait any longer.
‘We have no running water, no electricity and we use the bucket system. That is why we are angry and want to fight,’ township residents have told the media.
The fighting flared with a wave of attacks on foreigners in the township of Alexandra, within sight of some of South Africa’s most expensive and exclusive suburbs.
The South African president Mbeki said that the attacks were the worst acts of inhumanity South Africa had seen since the end of apartheid. ‘Sadly here in South Africa we mark Africa Day with our head bowed,’ he said.
‘The shameful actions of a few have blemished the name of South Africa through criminal acts against our African brothers and sisters from other parts of the continent as well as other foreign residents especially from Asia.’
In fact an even more shameful act of inhumanity is that while the relatively small black middle class made their place in the sun and have been enjoying life as partners of the white landed and urban ruling class, the black masses were left in their townships to go hungry, to go without modern homes or modern facilities and to remain without hope for the future – their only function being to create super profits for the bourgeoisie.
Now they have served notice with the attacks and the beating of foreigners that has spread to seven of South Africa’s nine provinces, that they will not put up with this situation any longer, and that it will not be long before they start beating the South African bosses.
In fact the secret of South African president Mbeki’s slowness to take any action over the way that President Robert Mugabe has been attacking the Zimbabwean trade unions and youth, is that in many ways Mugabe is the real political leader of the ANC.
After all, it was Mugabe who was Thatcher’s dancing partner at the Lancaster House talks and agreed that in return for political power to allow the white farmers and capitalists to hold onto the economy.
He loyally kept to that deal for almost 20 years until it was broken apart by the demands of the World Bank and the IMF for repayment of loans with full interest. Mugabe then turned on the Zimbabwean trade unions.
The ANC followed along behind this Mugabe path, of making a political change but guaranteeing that there would be no expropriations of the white farmers and the bankers and capitalists, and they have kept the guarantee to this day, leaving the masses in poverty.
It is obvious that the Zimbabwean refugees and the citizens of other African states who live in South Africa are not the enemies of South African masses, in fact they are their allies.
What is required in both South Africa and Zimbabwe is the building up of revolutionary parties as sections of the Fourth International that will unite and lead the working class and the poor to complete the South African and Zimbabwean revolutions by organising the taking of power by the working class.
Workers power will see the major industries, the banks and the land expropriated and put under workers control, and the whole economy turned to planning and building a better life for the working class and the poor.
The bourgeois nationalists of South Africa and Zimbabwe in their rush to join the world bourgeoisie in their place in the sun, saw no reason to provide for a better life for the masses.
The revolutionary movement must now organise itself in both countries, to unite the working class to carry through and complete the revolutions that have been stalled for the last period, by the working class taking power and spreading the socialist revolution throughout southern Africa.