ON 27th October the Minister of Education and South African Communist Party General Secretary, Blade Nzimande, along with Cosatu and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders Frans Baleni, Sidumo Dlamini and Zwelinzima Vavi led 1,000 Cosatu members to a Rustenburg stadium rally to begin the ‘Reclaim Lonmin’ campaign.
Supporting this offensive against the most militant section of the working class, the Lonmin miners, were many hundreds of armed police.
This was a counter-revolutionary movement. The intention was to teach the Amplats miners a lesson, as they had broken with the NUM and Cosatu because of its refusal to fight for them against the international capitalists that own South Africa’s resources, and who also own the ANC government which functions as their Comprador government.
The betrayal of the ANC can be summed up in that almost 20 years since Mandela became President the black masses are poorer than they were under the iron heel of the Apartheid regime.
Inside the stadium the strikers wore black T-shirts, proclaiming ‘Remember the Slain of Marikana’ and ‘Forward to a Living Wage R12,500’.
As Cosatu members arrived, the Amplats strikers sang and danced outside the stadium gates and the police were organised to clear the way in.
A member of the Marikana solidarity campaign, Rehad Desai, was walking near the Cosatu leadership when Cosatu members turned on him and, in full view of the South African cabinet minister Nzimande, Cosatu’s Vavi and NUM’s Baleni, was beaten and stripped to his underwear.
Desai says that several Cosatu members with sticks peeled off and attacked the miners who responded and chased the assailants back. It was then that the police opened fire with stun grenades and rubber bullets chasing the miners into the streets and into their homes.
The Marikana Support Campaign issued a statement saying: ‘The Marikana Support Campaign was there in numbers to support workers who hoped to send a clear message to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) that they do not want anybody to negotiate in their name. Most of the miners are still NUM members and feel that they have been betrayed by the NUM leadership.’
It added: ‘As the march entered the stadium, one of the Marikana Support Campaigners, Rehad Desai, was stripped of his T-shirt and trousers. He was then arrested by the police and after an hour taken to the police station where he was charged with public violence. The charges were later dropped.
‘As the marchers proceeded into the stadium, one of the Amplats strikers (wearing a T-shirt demanding a R12,500 living wage) was attacked, kicked and beaten and pushed to ground. We have camera footage of the incident.
‘When other Amplats strikers came to his defence, close to where marchers were entering the stadium, the police arrived with teargas and water cannons and aimed at the over two thousand Amplats strikers gathered outside the stadium with steel-coated rubber bullets. They gave chase to the strikers for about one kilometre. Cosatu marchers, mostly NUM members, also joined the chase and attacked strikers at the perimeter of the stadium and in surrounding streets.
‘At this point we know that 13 people have been shot by police and are in hospital, one is in ICU. Two people were shot with live ammunition, one in the leg the other in the chest.’
The truth of the matter is that the ANC-CP-Communist Party alliance has betrayed the working class and serves the interests of international capital.
The working class of South Africa is breaking from this alliance and will build a revolutionary party to bring down the ANC government, and go forward to bring in a Workers and Small Farmers Government that will nationalise the banks, the industries the mines and the land and go forward to socialism.