UF Supports NWU March


14 March 2015

The time has come to tear down the last bastions of white supremacy and Afrikaner arrogance! Events at North-West University (NWU) and the University of the (un)Free State (UFS) confirm not only that Afrikaner dominance over black students and workers has not been dealt with, but that a mass response is necessary to defend those who fight for the emancipation of black people. The United Front fully supports tomorrow’s mass march against white supremacy at NWU. The march led by the Reform PUK student movement, and the outsourced workers at the university. The march is supported by the broader black and working class communities of Tlokwe, and the rest of the North West province. The march will start at 10h00 at Trimpark (outside McDonald’s) in the Potchfestroom CBD and head to the university.

At these former – or rather still – Afrikaner universities, Afrikaans is given place of privilege that subjugates and exludes, as indigenous languages continue to be marginalised. This emboldens white supremacy in the management, administration and academic staff who continue to humiliate black students in class, in the residences and other amenities, who face the constant threat of financial exclusion, who also have to endure the exploitation of outsourced black workers and then face beatings and bullets when they protest. NWU’s Potchefstroom campus is not only a colonial institution that undermines black history, it is also physically dominated by Afrikaner students who make up 70% of the student body.

The time has come for the few black students who make it there to be joined by the many black people who are excluded, to send a message that the struggle of black university students and workers is the struggle of the black majority of our people who still live with the indignity of white supremacy, oppression and exploitation. The time has come to build on the work of ReformPUK who have forged strong bonds between students who demand the end of financial exclusion, marginalistion through the Afrikaans language policy and workers who are weakened through outsourcing through which labour brokers exploit black labour, keep wages down and reproduce and entrench inequality and poverty. Their demands echo those of ‪#‎RhodesMustFall‬, ‪#‎FeesMustFall‬, the Black Student Movement and all progressive student-worker alliances in our universities.

The time has come to stand with student leaders who face repression, intimidation and brutality because they refuse to back down. The court interdicts and militarisation of campuses across the country do nothing to quell the tensions and fears faced by those who are crushed under the boot of white supremacy at our universities. ReformPUK’s demands are clear:
1. The immediate reinstatement of all the workers dismissed by the Servest company without loss of pay!
2. The Immediate withdrawal of charges against all students who have been charged for organising other students and workers as these amount to undemocratic repression;
3. The Immediate withdrawal of the Court Interdict which creates an atmosphere of fear and tension.
4. Full rights of representation on the task team dealing with outsourcing!
5. Full Insourcing and a minimum wage of R10 000.00 once all contracts are terminated. In the meantime a minimum wage of R6 500.00 to be topped up by the University while contracts are still in place.
6. Free education for workers and their children as enjoyed by all other staff members.
7. Free medical care as enjoyed by all other members of staff.
8. Full employee benefits in terms of the labour relations act including a Provident Fund and a thirteenth cheque which other staff members enjoy.

We call on all students, progressive and worker organisations, trade unions, leftwing political organisations, NGO’s/Social Movements and all black people toiling, unemployed and marginalised to support their cause by mobilising for the Mass Action of 14 March. Let’s make 14 March a milestone in the sustained struggle for free education, the end of exploitation through outsourcing and the forging of mass united front to take forward the fight for a South Africa of black dignity, prosperity and freedom. The time has come!

1. Portia Bopalamo – United Front North West Provincial Secretary – 0605834096
2. Shaheen Khan – United Front NWC member – 082 375 9408
3. Mazibuko K. Jara – United Front Interim National Secretary – 083 987 9633
4. Dinga Sikwebu – United Front NWC member – 082 682 0338


UF: Zuma Must Go!



10 February 2016

If President Zuma respected the people and Constitution of this country, he would use tomorrow’s State of the Nation Address to resign. As confirmed yet again by yesterday’s Constitutional Court hearing on the so-called “Nkandla security renovations”, he has repeatedly breached his obligation to the law and the Constitution. The United Front is extremely angry that President Zuma, the Minister of Safety and Security Nathi Nhleko and the National Assembly had the audacity to abuse their power and positions to defend and protect Zuma’s undue benefits from public expenditure on the so-called “Nkandla security renovations”. The UF condemns Zuma, Nhleko and the National Assembly for flagrantly breaching the law in order to defend Zuma’s ill-gotten wealth. This is willful lawlessness on the part of the President, the Cabinet and the National assembly.

As yesterday’s extraordinary Constitutional Court hearing heard, the President and the National Assembly now finally admit and accept the Constitution’s directive that the Public Protector’s findings are binding unless taken on judicial review, and that President Zuma had no legal right to ask the Minister Nhleko to determine whether he owed anything for the Nkandla renovations. For its part, the National Assembly violated the Constitution in its failure to hold President Zuma accountable on the Nkandla renovations.

All this confirms that Zuma must go.

He is simply unfit to be our President.

Zuma has not only unduly benefitted from public expenditure or undermined democratic checks and balances. He has also presided over the most naked and unashamed looting of state coffers by tenderpreneurs directly linked to him. His presidency has also seen the continuation of anti-poor and anti-worker neo-liberal economic policies that continue to produce unemployment and tie our economy to the interests and power of financial oligarchs. 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.

To this end, the United Front calls on mass movements, trade unions, progressive churches and other religious bodies, youth, students, women, landless people and other progressive forces across the country to unite behind the call for Zuma to go. This must be part of a broader effort to mobilise for, and win democratic political reforms, end neo-liberal policies and win alternative economic policies that create sustainable jobs and transform the economy.

The president of the country must 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.


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

UF Structures Register for Local Elections



By Govan Whittles


While NUMSA has not yet launched its political party, it says it will after holding a workers summit.


The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says some United Front structures have registered to contest the local government elections in the Eastern Cape, including Sterkspruit and the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

The union will support independent candidates.

Numsa will launch its own political party after holding a workers summit.

Numsa abandoned its alliance with the African National Congress (ANC) in 2013 and after being kicked out of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) the following year, it has advocated for the ruling party’s defeat at the polls.

The union has remained tight-lipped about its ambitions in this year’s local government elections.

Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim says the need for a political party is immediate.


“What is immediate for us is to build a political party in this country; that we must raise levels of consciousness of the working class.”


He says while no decision has been made, the party to be formed will probably support campaigns by United Front structures.

“Numsa is busy crystallising the United Front. There is no reason why we should not support them, but as to whether we are going to take money and do all that, we will let you know.”

The United Front is seen as possible challenger to the Democratic Alliance (DA), ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Port Elizabeth where Numsa maintains strong support.




UF Statement on the Education Crisis



PRESS STATEMENT 13 January 2016

In response to the continued failure of the ANC government to transform our education system into a high quality, free public education system from the lowest level to the university level, the United Front reiterates its call for the urgent convening of a National People’s Education Crisis Summit. In this regard, we will engage student, youth, education, parent, worker and other relevant organisations for the endorsement and joint organisation of this Summit.

In the view of the UF, such a Summit must develop a joint programme of action to intensify popular pressure and seek alternatives to the ongoing education crisis. This Summit must discuss how we can build on the victories of the Equal Education Campaign on Norms and Standards for School Infrastructure as well as that of the #FeesMustFall movement for a no-fee increase for university students this year. Other immediate issues for this Summit are the ongoing financial exclusions from institutions of higher learning of students without the financial means to pay the extraordinarily expensive fees and other tertiary education costs, the demand to end outsourcing of all university services, and the overall transformation and decolonisation of the education system.

The failures of the ANC government are demonstrated by the fact that even in January 2016 the Wits #FeesMustFall movement must still put forward the most basic of demands in order for poor black students to access decent university education. This failure is seen everywhere in the education system: in last week’s dismal Grade 12 results, this week’s student action at several universities (including the University of Johannesburg, UNISA, University of Pretoria and Wits University), and the long queues for late admission and registration at many working class schools this week. Instead of addressing the crisis, the ANC government and university management respond with half-hearted measures combined with police repression as was seen with the eviction of protesting Wits University students from Solomon Mahlangu house yesterday. The UF condemns Wits University management for its manifest failure to engage students in a proactive and solution-oriented manner.

As Equal Education showed in its response to the 2015 Grade 12 results, a banal rehashing and comparison to previous years of the pass rate conceals a host of systemic and structural failures in our education system. Most of the 455 825 learners who passed Grade 12 from the 2015 class will not be able to enter tertiary education or job opportunities. The 455 825 learners represent only 40,7% of the 1 118 690 learners who began school in 2005. Those who will not study or work this year will add to a few million more futureless youth who have been produced by the disastrous post-apartheid education dispensation.

 The negligent gains made by the Department of Basic Education have failed to fundamentally change the apartheid racial, class and geographical divides that prevent our education system. This failure can be attributed to the straight-jacket of neo-liberal policy and the increasingly declining capacity of the state. This toxic combination effectively disables access to sufficient and qualified teachers, basic school infrastructure, adequate sanitation, sporting, library and technological infrastructure. It is the same policies that have seen declining state contributions to university financing and the outsourcing of university services. It is these policies that the #FeesMustFall movement rose up in response to. In general, this neoliberal straight-jacket prevents fundamental economic transformation away from a neo-apartheid dispensation to one of redistribution and job creation.

 All these underline the need for the people who are most affected by it, the poor, black and rural people of our country, to build their organised power and sustain pressure on the government to deal with the crisis. No one should be condemned to a poor school because they are in a rural or poor neighbourhood. Now is the time to stop the ritual of pass rate watching and start the work of transforming our education system so that we transform our society. The UF’s call for the National People’s Education Crisis Summit is about laying the foundation for a sustained campaign of popular mobilisation to win free, quality public education.



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

Miners Shot Down on eTV 10pm Monday 11 January 2016

Miners Shot Down (85 min) Screens on ETV 11 January at 10pm

PRESS RELEASE Thursday 7 January 2016


We are extremely proud to announce that the feature length version Miners Shot Down is finally being screened to the wider South African community through a local Free To Air (FTA) TV station. A film that has garnered scores of international awards including of late an International Emmy Award and numerous local TV and journalism awards.

We note the tireless campaigning for this to happen by Amandla.Mobi who gathered over 5 000 signatures and other bodies such as the Right To Know Campaign. The widows of the slain miners also played their part in this effort, turning up to both ETV and SABC in numbers to request an audience and demand the film be screened.

The awards and more importantly this screening are a small but important victory for the victims of the massacre, which include the hundreds of injured and arrested. The nation will at long last get an opportunity to view the massacre from the viewpoint of the victims. This is also a victory for freedom of expression and press freedom that we have seen being eroded over the past years particularly on FTA TV channels

The screening, while late, is also timely as by the end of this January discussions will be underway with the government in regards to just levels of compensation.

In the following months 17 miners who still face serious charges will be involved in a pre-trail court hearing. In addition, charges brought against individuals at Lonmin and government, including Cyril Ramaphosa, will be going to court. The Marikana Support Campaign will stand side by side with the victims throughout these processes.


In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. Using the POV of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down, follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company, Lonmin, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. What emerges is collusion at the top, spiralling violence and the country’s first post-colonial massacre. South Africa will never be the same again.


For further comments

Marikana Support Campaign: Trevor Ngwane 079 0307657

Amandla.Mobi: Koketso Moeti 082 583 5869

Right To Know: Dale Mckinley 072 429 4086

UF Official Launch Early 2016

United Front to be officially launched early in 2016 – NUMSA
Irvin Jim also says task team is already hard at work drafting programmes and structures for a new workers’ political party


Numsa New Year Statement

The National Office Bearers of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) sends greetings and best wishes for the New Year to its members and their families, and to all the workers, rural poor, unemployed youth and the elderly people of South Africa.

Sadly however we know that thousands of South Africans will have little to celebrate or look forward to, after a year in which appalling levels of poverty and unemployment remain, and inequality has widened still further.

Workers are in a perilous economic and social crisis. Unemployment, at 34% by the more realistic expanded definition, is destroying the hopes of young workers. Thousands more workers face a new jobs-loss bloodbath, as entire industries face possible collapse – mining, steel, the Post Office, SAA, etc.

South Africa has become the most unequal society on earth. While millionaires become billionaires, millions of the poor, black majority of our people go to bed hungry every night. Oxfam has revealed that one in four people currently suffer hunger on a regular basis and more than half of the population live in such precarious circumstances that they are at risk of going hungry, because people simply do not have enough money to buy food. 

Almost 9 million workers are unemployed and over 15 million depend on social grants. But thousands of workers too live in poverty. University of Cape Town academics calculate that every day about 5.5-million work in jobs that cannot keep them and their dependents out of poverty. These are the “working poor”.

The underlying reason and responsibility for all these problems is the global capitalist system, in which wealth and power is becoming more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. In South Africa the economy is still owned by the same white elite as in the days of apartheid, and it is getting richer every year.

The imminent creation of the biggest-ever global brewing company, with the merger between SA Miller and In-Bev, has brought home to even non-political beer drinkers the extent of the globalisation of the economy. We have seen more and more key local companies becoming global players, like ABSA being swallowed by Barclays Bank, ArcelorMittalSA (formerly Iscor) becoming Indian-owned and Old Mutual, BHP, Rio Tinto, Glencore, Anglo-American and others all relocating to the London Stock Exchange. 

Meanwhile economic growth has slumped to its lowest level for years. Yet more capital is being syphoned out of the country, often into tax havens, where billons of Rands can lie idle in bank accounts, earning high interest. Any that is invested goes anywhere in the world where it will yield the biggest and quickest profit. 

Investment decisions are increasingly being taken not by the individual owners of capital but by asset managers who base their decisions on what their computers say will maximise a companies profits with absolutely no thought of the consequences on jobs, communities or the environment. 

These developments are replicated throughout the world, especially in developing countries, which have remained over-dependent on the export of raw materials rather than developing their own manufacturing base.

Through rating agencies, capital blackmails governments into not ‘interfering’ with the ‘market economy’ – in reality monopoly capitalism – and sticking to neoliberal, ‘market friendly’ economic policies by threatening to downgrade their economies and convince investors to withdraw their capital from those countries.

The promise of the Freedom Charter that “The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people” is further then ever from becoming a reality.

Exploitation of workers is getting more and more ruthless, through the greater use of outsourcing and labour brokers, the undermining of collective bargaining and attacks on the trade union movement. There is a growing worldwide army of workers who have become vulnerable and marginalised – working long hours in dangerous and unhealthy conditions where unions are banned and with no job security.

But workers are not sitting back and letting the bosses’ offensive roll over them. They are fighting back. Just in the last month of 2015 we saw angry strikes by Pickitup workers in Johannesburg and Parliamentary staff in Cape Town. 

And we have been joined by a huge new ally in the form of the students in their massive #feesmustfall campaign, prompted by the outrage at the failure to implement the Freedom Charter’s pledge that The Doors of Learning will be Open to All, and not just to the children of the rich.

Never has there been a greater need for strong, militant trade unions to organise all these workers. But 2015 has been a difficult year for the workers’ movement, beginning just after Numsa was illegally and undemocratically thrown out of Cosatu, a federation which has been stolen by our class enemies and become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the increasingly right-wing pro-capitalist leadership of the government, ANC and SACP.

Besides the actual and threatened job bloodbath in the mining sector, the steel sector in 2015 stood poised to shed thousands of jobs. Numsa did its bit: we embarked on rolling mass action to defend jobs; we pushed for tariffs to protect jobs in the steel sector. We note the positive response from DTI, Economic Department and National Treasury – especially in our fight for tariffs.

There is more to be fought for in 2016, including advancing the demand for localisation, for government procurement policies and practices to be geared towards local content and local products, and to expand the range of goods and services which must be produced locally, and procured by the many government departments and structures. 

In 2016, we shall fight and demand that government must move swiftly to nationalise not just the steel industry but the entire steel value chain. Only this way can the government protect genuine local industries and advance the cause for value add local manufacturing and protect jobs. 

In 2016, we shall intensify our fight as a union to ensure that neoliberal policies are dumped, as they are responsible for mass unemployment, countrywide poverty and extreme inequalities. 

We reject with contempt the rating agencies and their support for neoliberal economic policies which are, in the first place, responsible for our Olympic levels of poverty, unemployment and inequalities, and therefore, directly responsible for the failure post-1994 to develop a national economy that responds to the needs of the majority of South Africans. 

In 2016, we shall intensify the struggle against labour brokers. We shall also embark upon rolling mass action to protect workers’ savings in pension and provident funds. We reject the current retirement funds reforms which inevitably relegate workers savings to grant status. 

Our 2013 Special National Congress decisions have been fully vindicated: 

1. To build and strengthen the union, pass our target of 400 000 members and expand into other sectors of the labour force, which now include:

– Mining, including all related activities;

– Transport;

– Security;

– Construction;

– Cleaning

– Industrial Chemicals;

– Renewable Energy;

– Information and Communication Technologies (ICT);

– Aviation and related Services; and

– Health and Canteen Services;

We are well on track, as workers are queuing up to join us, and are confident that we shall pass our membership target in 2016

2. Now that it is clearly impossible to reclaim Cosatu, we are ready to start the difficult work to build a new, independent, militant, workers-controlled, democratic, anti-imperialist and socialist orientated labour federation.

A Workers’ Summit is being organised for early in 2016, and support is growing rapidly, from existing unions and several new unions led by purged and discontented members of Cosatu unions, to set up the kind of federation which Cosatu was supposed to be but is no longer.

3. To establish a United Front to link struggles in the workplace with those in communities. 

The United Front has found resonance within society and is set to be officially launched early in the New Year. 

4. To move towards the formation of a Movement for Socialism.

A task team is already hard at work drafting programmes and structures for a new workers’ political party, which will be put to the Numsa Central Committee and the membership as a whole. 

The team has been successfully ensured that the union’s socialist outlook is defended and advanced, including in the mainstream media. Much of this work is now on the union’s website and in a special bulletin. This work will continue with an ambitious plan to create an alternative, socialist media hub which will challenge the hegemony of the capitalist controlled media.

There is an overwhelming need for a socialist party, democratically controlled from below by the working class. The ANC leadership has fallen into the hands of the white monopoly capitalist elite, with the adoption of first GEAR and then the National Development Plan, both of which commit them to enforcing orthodox neoliberal economic policies.

They have followed the route dictated by the World Bank, international Monetary Fund and credit rating agencies, who use the Treasury and successive Ministers of Finance to act as their proxies within government. 

When President Zuma tried to replace one of these, although for the worst possible reasons – to protect and advance the personal interests of himself and his cronies – the powers-that-be immediately mobilised their forces to make him relent and bring back one of their trusted agents.

This incident brought into the spotlight the need for a party which will break decisively with capitalism, rather than simply try to make it slightly less corrupt and exploitative. Existing opposition parties have failed to make any real impact on the ANC’s power, either because, like the Democratic Alliance, they have even worse pro-capitalist policies, or because they are undemocratic structures with no mass involvement at the base.

The recent setbacks for left-wing reformist parties in Greece and Argentina and the danger of similar developments in Brazil and other South American countries, which tried, with some temporary success, to challenge the worst features of capitalism are now paying the price for leaving the system and the power of the ruling elite in place. They have been able to undermine the reforms and then opportunistically exploit the anger of workers and the middle class at the dire consequences of their counter-revolutionary sabotage.

We must not make the same mistake in South Africa. Numsa’s goal, which is well captured in the union’s Constitution, is to build a mass-based, democratically controlled mass workers’ party which will destroy the whole capitalist system and replace it with a socialist society in which the country’s wealth is owned, controlled and managed democratically by the majority of the people, who, by and large, are the working class!

Statement issued by Irvin Jim, NUMSA General Secretary, 1 January 2015

UF Response to Racist White Supremacist Messages of Hart & Sparrow



In response to the unashamed self-exposure of leading neo-liberal economist Chris Hart as a white supremacist, the United Front calls on all black people in South Africa to intensify the struggle against white supremacy. The audacity of white supremacy to assert itself underlines the severe limits and failures of Nelson Mandela’s rainbow nation project. This project failed to challenge and defeat white supremacy. This project far too easily and readily forgave and legitimated white violence and genocidal subjugation of indigenous peoples of this country. White people as a whole continue to benefit from slavery, colonialism, genocide, apartheid, capitalism and the post-1994 neo-apartheid dispensation. All these feed and sustain white supremacy.

That the likes of Hart, Penny Sparrow and others unashamedly act out their white supremacy should not be taken as isolated incidents. With the continued failure of the ANC post-apartheid government, white supremacists have become emboldened. They occupy airtime in public and private radio, in newspaper letter columns, in online publications, in social media and in their social milieus. In all these platforms, they portray black people as undeserving beneficiaries of affirmative action, poor administrators failing to govern a country and run a modern economy, monkeys, victims claiming entitlements, and so on. They also use their inordinate social, economic and political power to perpetuate black oppression and to defend their ill-gotten gains.

It is also no coincidence that Hart as the leading theologian of anti-black, and anti-poor neo-liberal policies has exposed himself as an unashamed white supremacist. Neo-liberal economic policies entrench ill-gotten gains and property and promote profit-maximisation in a white-controlled economy. This profit-maximisation is directly earned through the continued exploitation of cheap black labour and the maintenance of apartheid geography. Neo-liberal policies are not a mistake – they are deliberately adopted, implemented and sustained by Mandela’s ANC government. This was done through the 1996 Growth, Employment and Redistribution policy and now the National Development Plan.

The suspension of Hart by Standard Bank and Sparrow by the Democratic Alliance are simply insufficient. White supremacy, root and branch, has to be systematically removed from the fabric our society. This will require no less than a sustained and resolute mass struggle of black people to defeat it. Without such a struggle and the redistributive transformation of the economy there is no genuine and substantive basis for nation-building in which white people may have the opportunity to become African and human again. The United Front calls on all to make 2016 the year in which such a sustained mass struggle is deepened and intensified. Importantly, the rise of the #RhodesMustFall and other university decolonisation movements underline how a growing number of black people have begun to challenge this reality. Immediately, the United Front calls for the enactment of far stronger legislation to punish racism. As the United Front, we will play our part in building a society-wide struggle against white supremacy.


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