UNITED FRONT RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT ZUMA’S DISASTROUS MANAGEMENT OF THE ECONOMY AND THE COUNTRY
CALL FOR A PEOPLE’S CONFERENCE ON THE ECONOMIC CRISIS
14 December 2015
The United Front (UF) is outraged with President Zuma’s latest up-yours to all of us. While Zuma’s moemishes over the Finance Ministry have brought to the fore (once again) the president’s woeful management of the country and economy, it also underlines how the wealthy elite hold power over our country.
Indeed, Zuma and the ANC government must fall because they have spectacularly failed to provide for the people of the country and have mortgaged our future to the imperialist speculators, financial institutions and investment bankers and their funds. This is very different to the call made by opportunistic right-wing forces that want to give more power to the very institutions that want to take away the rights of workers in favour of the mythical foreign investors. We may have the same call for Zuma to fall but we have completely different aims and methods.
Gordhan’s return means continued austerity policies and little appetite to consider the democratic transformation of the economy. This means that the victory of #FeesMustFall – a zero increase on fees for 2016 at tertiary institutions – would be undermined as there is lesser room to increase expenditure. Key economic sectors will continue with the job loss bloodbath. Already this year, more than 200 000 jobs have been lost, Anglo American threatens 85 000 retrenchments, and the National Treasury is reported to be bankrupt. Yet profit levels remain high and the wealthy will not be as badly affected by the ongoing economic crisis. The job loss bloodbath is the real damage to the economy that has not received much coverage since Nene’s firing.
We need policies that can solve the urgent crisis of unemployment. We need strategies to redistribute wealth so that we can afford free health care in the form of a national heath insurance system, free education for our students and decent work at a living wage for all working people.
To this end, the United Front calls for mass movements, trade unions, progressive churches and other religious bodies, youth, students, women, landless people and other progressive forces across the country to unite and organise a People’s Economic Crisis Conference as a basis for alternative economic policies to arrest the economic decline and create jobs. We must prepare the to defend the jobs and livelihoods of our people and develop the strategies necessary to advance a living wage and decent work for our people.
The whole debacle also underlines the urgency to undo the undemocratic features of our political system. The president of the country be directly elected by the people, Cabinet ministers must be elected by parliament, Parliament must be elected by a majority constituency based system and voters must have the right to recall their elected public representatives. These changes will put the power to elect a President, the most important single position in the country, directly into the hands of the people. The president, regardless of, until now exclusively “his”, dominance over the political party will not matter as he would be directly accountable to the populace. It would also ensure that Members of Parliament would be directly accountable to and subject to recall by the people from the area that voted the MP into parliament. In addition to appointing Ministers, MPs would be directly accountable for voting for or against economic interests of the specific community that elected them.
Ours is a campaign mobilising the mass of workers and poor people to take their future into their own hand. To finish the struggle we began against the Apartheid SYSTEM AND TAKE THE WEALTH OF THE COUNTRY UNDER THEIR CONTROL TO BUILD A DECENT LIVE FOR ALL.
FOR COMMENTS, CONTACT:
1. Mazibuko K. Jara – Interim National Secretary, 083 987 9633
2. John Appolis – Interim Campaigns Coordinator, 071 623 5996
3. Dinga Sikwebu – National Coordinator, 078 457 9855