The Democratic Left Front (DLF), a united front of political groups, unions, youth, women's and other civic organisations has launched a fund to help mobilise support for 80,000 striking South African mine workers
Some 80,000 South African mine workers have been on strike since 23 January this year. They are demanding a salary of R12 500 per month. The demand for R12 500 was first raised by the Marikana miners 34 of whom were massacred o the 16th August 2012 by a collusion of the ANC government, Lonmin management and the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The current strike is by members of the independent Association of Construction and Mineworkers Union (AMCU) and is against the three London listed platinum companies Lonmin, Anglo- American Platinum and Impala Platinum.
These mineworkers work under dangerous conditions and for sometimes 12 hours at a time. In return they have been paid as low as R5 000 per month and many live in shacks. The strike is in its 11th week and the families are desperate. There are reported deaths by starvation and the surrounding supporting economies are in tatters. But the miners are not backing down.
Said one worker,
“This thing of suffering… we are used to it. The workers are earning sweets and peanuts. You earn money one week, but the next week there’s no money. To be honest, we are used to being hungry. So we’ve decided to be patient… We’d rather die than not get the R12 500.”
The Democratic Left Front (DLF), a united front of political groups, unions, youth, women's and other civic organisations with a national presence has started a solidarity fund to support the miners. Any contributions are welcome.
Urgent Appeal for Support and Solidarity
Comrades, its once again the time to dig deep. Things are beginning to change. The ANC’s hegemony is eroding. Corruption, cronyism, the Marikana massacre and an upturn in working class struggle is rapidly changing the situation.
We are entering a new period where great opportunities exist for the recomposition of the labour movement, for uniting workplace and community struggles and to create a dynamic towards the formation of a genuine left alternative to the ANC with strong roots in the working class.
The crisis in COSATU and the decision by NUMSA, COSATU’s biggest affiliate, to initiate the building of a mass united front and a movement for socialism is a massive game-changer.
To realise the opportunities of the new political situation there is much to be done:
Firstly, we need to mobilise massive solidarity with the 80 000 striking platinum mineworkers. The strike is at a critical point. Workers have been on strike for three months. The biggest platinum conglomerates, the Chamber of Mines, the state are united in their determination to crush the revolutionary demand of a living wage of R12 500. A victory for the mineworkers has huge possibilities for transforming the position of workers in all sectors of the economy.
We have to unite the different community struggles for decent services. In every corner of the country communities are rising up against the dehumanising conditions in our townships, informal settlements and villages. In the last year more than 1000 protests have taken place. Isolated and fragmented they have so far failed to reverse privatisation and the commodification of basic services. Growing possibilities exist to unite these struggles in a national movement for decent services.
We need to forge alliances between workplace and community struggles. The initiation by NUMSA of a united front can help to unite workplace and community struggles. Already on the 26th February and the 19th, March the DLF successfully mobilised its affiliates and other community formations to stand in solidarity with NUMSA and other unions that are fighting the neoliberal youth wage subsidy and incentive scheme. It was when workers, youth and township communities came together in united mass action that the Apartheid system was shaken and brought to its knees.
To deepen all this work we need your support and solidarity. All this work takes lots of commitment and lots of resources. This is why the DLF has decided to launch a campaign to raise R100 000.
We are appealing to you to support the Democratic Left Front to mobilise concrete solidarity with the striking workers. In the next weeks we need to send comrades to the open pit mine in Limpopo where production is still taking place. The workers there are unorganised. We think we can link them to the striking mineworkers. We are producing an issue of the Mineworker, a multilingual newspapers setting out ideas for how to win the strike and we will be co-ordinating public meetings hosting striking mineworkers in our communities to build direct worker-to-worker solidarity. Over and above this we will be collecting food and money for the mineworkers and mobilising solidarity actions with the wives and other family members of the strikers.
We need money for posters, T shirts, leaflets, for holding public meetings. During the election campaign we will be able to advance the cause of the left, of the NUMSA initiated united front, the movement for socialism.
An eco-socialist SA free of corruption, crony capitalism and inequality is possible and absolutely necessary.
You can make a donation to:
Democratic Left FrontNedbank
Account number: 1916131220
Branch - Killarney :
Branch. Code - 191605-
Swift code: NEDSZAJJ
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