#AmandlaNews: Red-Green Alliance reject foreign investors false promises
Social movements and trade unions protest at Ramaphosa’s Investment Summit demanding a moratorium on all retrenchments and that unemployment be declared a national disaster
Amandla Correspondent | 08 November
The Assembly of the Unemployed (representing social movements of the unemployed around South Africa) in alliance with AMCU and SAFTU marched on Ramphosa’s Investment Summit saying it is a lie that foreign investment equals jobs. We have had this agenda since the 1996 GEAR policy and this programme has just led to more retrenchments and greater levels of unemployment. This alliance of labour demands state investment in meeting people’s tremendous needs such as in housing, health care and education etc.
The mining-affected communities that joined the march demanded a transition to renewable energy, which can create millions of climate jobs. Even the much discussed unemployed graduates were present, a young man named, Karabo pointed out how he had graduated from the University of the Free State in 2017 and has been unemployed since. It’s hard to see how the gathering of the rich happening few metres away from him was supposed to help him.
These among many other reasons are why the marchers demanded the government prioritise the needs of workers and the unemployed and not the investors. Foreign investors are here for profit which they shift out of the country. There is plenty of money in the country which can be used to have a new job creating industrial strategy.
Madoda Cuphe of the AIDC and the Langa Civic said:
“this Summit is a waste of time because there was same Summit last year in October which promised to deal with Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality instead the unemployment has grown to levels not seen since 11 years. This then tells us that poverty and inequality has grown as well. So what are these international capitalists doing there and why are we not invited.
Ramaphosa says he wants to raise R1.2 trillion. If we were inside this Summit we would have told him that there is money and that there is no need for begging these thieves. R1.5 trillions is sitting idly in South African capital bank accounts. USD 10 – 25 billion leave the country in illicit flows. By Ramphosa’s own submission between R500b and R1trillion is lost to corruption.
There is money Government must go and get it! This Summit is about international capitalism wanting concessions to steal and plunder our economy and not about investment”
Critiques of the Summit also ranged beyond the failure of Government to effectively curtail unemployment. In addition, the failure of the government to substantively engage with the poor and unemployed massed was called into clear view. Khokhoma Motsi of Botshabelo Unemployment Movement (an affiliate of the Assembly of the Unemployed) pointed out that as the unemployed they “are excluded on many things. Particularly in the context of deciding the fate of the unemployed. This is the second summit that Ramaphosa is having excluding the unemployed people and the poor working class.” Motsi also highlighted the level of distrust many of us are right to feel at the government’s current ability to create jobs: “There is no way this summit can create jobs. It is just a mouth-talk [sic], there is nothing that will come out of this summit. The Jobs Summitt was there nothing came out of the Jobs Summit. Promises are being made that jobs will be created. But nothing.”
Other protestors at the march highlighted the same sentiment:
A key facet of the antagonism towards the Investment Summit is the aloof, divorced from the real-world nature of the whole debacle. While the President and his billionaire friends celebrated sharing the money among themselves, most of the country is condemned to starvation.
The gendered and enviromental impacts of the current economic crisis were clearly captured by Pinky Langa:
“And we know that as women, we are the most effected, especially in mining affected communities. When the water is polluted we are the ones who have to drink it. When the kids are sick, its the women who have to go the clinic at 4am and wait in line until 4pm only to get a panado [for your child]. So when mining happens the most affected are us women. So we are saying nothing here can be discussed about us without us”
However, once off condemnation clearly won’t be enough. A protracted struggle by the unemployed, organised labour, social movements and community will be the only way forward. Agulhas Abraham of the United Front in the Western Cape puts it succinctly in the video below.