Workers worse off under ANC – Kasrils

iol By Lebogang Seale March 4 2015 at 01:34pm Johannesburg – In a stinging attack on the ANC, former minister of intelligence Ronnie Kasrils has accused the ruling party of pandering to the demands of capitalism at the expense of workers and poor people. Kasrils said the ANC leadership was “locked in a disease syndrome” for lacking the willpower to tackle capitalism, while most workers and the poor bore the brunt. He said

South Africans were economically worse off now than during apartheid.

“Today we are here in one of the richest cities on the continent and statistics show that our people are worse off today than they were in 1994, from an economic point of view,” he said on Tuesday, addressing a United Front march to the Gauteng legislature to protest against “a capitalist budget”. It was one of Kasrils’s rare public addresses since he and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge launched an anti-ANC election campaign called “Sidikiwe! Vukani! (We’ve had enough). Tuesday’s march drew support from political parties such as the EFF, Workers and Socialist Party and Socialist Party of Azania as well as community-based organisations from across Gauteng. The hundreds of protesters cheered when Kasrils was introduced as the guest speaker, along with National Union of Metalworkers of SA first deputy president Christine Olivier. Kasrils is a member of United Front’s national working committee. “Yes, we have the votes and so on, but in terms of actual poverty, the research and the stats show that our people are worse off in terms of poverty than they were in 1994. We are in a rich country where over half of our people are going to bed hungry every day. And we see it in our streets, in our workplaces, in our townships and informal settlements and jikeleli (all around) South Africa in the countryside.” Kasrils asked what had gone wrong and how it could be remedied “because Luthuli House down the road has failed and is really serving the wealthy comrades. That is not a secret.” Kasrils then took a swipe at President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. “And it (the ANC) has a deputy president of the country that was able to bid R18m for one silly bull, which shows the nature and character of those who lead the party. “Needless to state about Number 1 (Zuma) who uses the taxpayers’ money for R270m upgrades at that stinking palace at Nkandla.” While he criticised the Gauteng and national budgets as “a joke”, Kasrils said there was nothing Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene and MEC Barbara Creecy could do because they were both “benign offspring” of a capitalistic budget. “(The budget) is decided in a small room, with Number 1, the finance minister and the Treasury. And I can tell you, I have been a minister before, the ministers have no say.

“That small group is the one that decides at the bidding of international capital and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank at the expense of the working class and the poor.

“The Budget is not delivering to the poor. They are cutting, they are forcing the poor to pay, so electricity is going up and those living in Sandton, Melville, Constantia and places like that are not going to worry.” ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa dismissed Kasrils’s assertions, saying he was part of an anti-ANC campaign. “Kasrils has long defined himself outside the ANC and it’s not that we are shocked. It has become fashionable for him to become an agent of everybody speaking against the ANC,” he said. The Star Ronnie Kasrils greets Gauteng legislature Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe after he addressed a United Front march on Tuesday. Picture: Itumeleng English