The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has come out to slate President Jacob Zuma and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan amid widespread calls for the president to resign.
The union said both Zuma and Gordhan were fighting for the interests of capitalist classes, which do not care about the needs of the workers. In a statement issued by Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim, the union said both the axed minister and Zuma wanted “to loot, oppress and exploit us”.
Jim claimed Zuma and his friends, the Gupta family, wanted to use state-owned enterprises and the National Treasury to advance their own economic interests against those of a white capitalist group, which they said included “Afrikaner and English capitalists”.
The union argued that Zuma and Gordhan’s apparent lack of empathy for the working class was conspicuous in their lack of mobilisation on workers’ issues, such as the infamous 2012 Marikana massacre, where 34 mineworkers were shot dead, 78 wounded and more than 250 people arrested by the police, among other issues.
“We want to set the record straight on the open war between Pravin Gordhan and Jacob Zuma. It is obvious that Zuma and his capitalist group, including the Guptas, intend to use the SOEs, National Treasury and all available state institutions and structures to advance their own economic interests against the interests of the white capitalist group.
“Both of these groups belong to the same class – the capitalist class. They are our class enemies, as the working class. Both do not deserve our support. Both want to loot us, to oppress us, to exploit us. Both are responsible for our suffering! Both these groups are guilty of ignoring the poor and the working class.”
Zuma a ‘CEO of capitalist class dominated by the Guptas’
The union said Zuma was fighting to take away the National Treasury away from “white capital”. This, it argued, was in the interest of “black and African” capitalists group dominated by the controversial Gupta family.
Jim added the black and African group used “radical economic transformation” as a pretext for the fight, while “in reality, they are fighting for their own personal radical economic transformation. Zuma wants to ensure that his family and friends benefit for generations to come”.
“President Zuma is fighting to take Treasury away from white capital and guaranteeing that those who prevent him from controlling Treasury are removed from government.
“This reshuffle is a purge of Zuma’s enemies in the state and in the leadership of the ANC. Zuma has positioned himself as the CEO of a group of the capitalist class dominated by the Guptas and other black and African capitalists in opposition to the entrenched white capitalist class.”
Gordhan ‘a slave to ratings agencies’
On the other hand, Gordhan is accused of being a defender of “discredited neoliberal capitalist policies”.
They said the ousted minister was a slave to rating agencies, which the union believed were “the global capitalist policemen for the austerity measures, which inflict daily misery on the working class and the poor”.
This comes days after international rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) downgraded South Africa to sub-investment grade, with the spectre still looming of the other ratings agencies, such as the Moody’s, doing the same. S&P said Zuma’s decision to reshuffle his Cabinet had “put at risk fiscal and growth outcomes”.
“Numsa views the ratings agencies and their downgrade of South Africa to junk status with the utmost contempt this deserves. These agencies are self-serving and politically motivated. They blackmail governments to pursue policies in the interest of domestic and international finance capital.
“They do not care about the suffering of the poor and the working class. They are cold and insensitive and usurp economic sovereignty of nation states on behalf of the interests of global finance capital. No self-respecting sovereign state should take these agencies seriously.”
‘Zuma must fall’
Members of the public are engaging in a nationwide strike against Zuma on Friday. The march will be largely nonpartisan, and people from all sectors of society will gather at the Union Buildings and other parts of the country in a call for Zuma to resign after sacking Gordhan and other ministers.
It is also reported that about 600 MKMVA soldiers will be deployed to the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, to face the protesters.
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