The expulsion of metalworkers’ union NUMSA is a seismic event. It will eventually rock the foundations of our politics and will probably become the split of COSATU. As predictable and well-signposted as Friday night’s decision was, the shockwaves are still reverberating. One person whose future is now at a crossroads is obviously Zwelinzima Vavi. As General Secretary of COSATU, he appears to have sided with the union that was expelled, and Numsa’s prediction that he could be next is probably accurate. But he also has a choice to make himself.
Imagine an alliance or political front featuring Irvin Jim, Julius Malema, Zwelinzima Vavi and Joseph Mathunjwa. If “Pay back the money!” made President Jacob Zuma hide from Parliament, there will be no place for him, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande and Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini to run, should this attack force line up. Following the expulsion of Numsa from Cosatu in the early hours of Saturday morning, there is renewed determination from the union’s leaders to change the political alignment of the country and come back fighting.
The big split has happened: NUMSA has been expelled from COSATU. And the extraordinary decision to boot NUMSA from COSATU calls for a deep reflection, analysis and evaluation on the state of our nation. COSATU was always more than a labour federation. Those who masterminded this betrayal know this. But their vision is clouded by their own myopia.
In 1966 the South African government declared District Six—a high-density, mostly coloured residential area intrinsic to the fabric of downtown Cape Town for at least a century and situated on prime land beneath Table Mountain —to be a white “Group Area.” The state promptly set about forcefully removing District Six’s “non-white” residents (eventually about 60,000 of them) to land up to 30 miles further to a flood plane known as the “Cape Flats,” which consisted of mostly swamp land and sand dunes populated by invasive vegetation.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has written a two-page letter to the union federation's president, S'dumo Dlamini, pleading with him to save it from collapse following the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA.
Vavi, who was not present at a press briefing yesterday where Cosatu justified its reasons for expelling Numsa, said it was not too late to save the federation.
"If we do not do everything we can, history will judge all of us extremely harshly," he said.
Many of the political generation who embraced a sort of independent radicalism in the 1970s found it difficult to decide which party to support in Wednesday’s national and provincial elections.
Of course we celebrated the right of all South Africans to vote. Forty years ago, we doubted we would live to see a universal franchise and that, by itself, was a reason to vote with enthusiasm on 7 May.
Few people are aware that Voudou (rather than “voodoo”) is a faith based on harmony with nature, one that expressly forbids the killing of another being, or that most African faith systems believe in the concept of one God above all other divinities and deities, who function much as a pantheon of saints.
DEBRE LIBANOS, Ethiopia, May 8 2014 (IPS) - Misganew Andeurgay changes his bamboo-made pen for another, dips it in a tiny pot of viscous liquid and, on a parchment page filled with black script, begins to trace in scarlet-red ink the Amharic word for god.
For centuries Ethiopian scribes like Misganew have written holy texts in manuscripts made out of leather and with worshipful respect, inscribing on them holy names in red ink.
South Africa’s May 7 elections mark the first time in democratic history that those born into Nelson Mandela’s post-apartheid ‘Rainbow Nation’ can vote.
While these so-called “born frees” make up about two million of the country’s 31.4 million eligible voters, dismal registration numbers have both politicians and analysts puzzled at the youths’ seeming lack of political interest.
"Take the profit out of plunder: Africa's resources should be sustainably managed for the benefit of Africa's peoples. National and regional action alone will not be enough.
The international community must develop multilateral systems that prevent the plunder of Africa's resources [of fisheries and forests]." - Africa Progress Panel, 2014