Assembly of the Unemployed Joins National Strike Against Corruption and Austerity
Assembly of the Unemployed | Statement |6 October, 2020
Any, and every, South African can point to how their lives have been touched and affected by the coronavirus. But for us, the unemployed, corruption and, its evil twin, austerity affect our ability to even live through Covid’s worst effects. As coronavirus has ravaged the country, the health system that corrupt officials have stripped bare could not cope as we caught the virus one after another. The social security system that we should have relied on has been reduced to a skeleton, unable to process and pay for a meagre R350 grant. The lack of housing, while the rich politicians live in their mansions, has made physical distancing a disaster. Tenderpreneurs have made millions from housing tenders and PPE tenders, all we have are tiny shacks and cloth masks we had to make from old clothes.
Enough is enough, we refuse to suffer while the corrupt politicians and their rich friends make millions off our suffering. Even worse Tito Mboweni and his cronies want to make us suffer more by instituting austerity across spheres of our country. This cannot not happen. The Assembly of the Unemployed, a coalition of the movements of the unemployed, is joining and supporting the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) calls for a national strike against corruption. Importantly we are also fighting the austerity that threatens both the unemployed and employed across South Africa. The IMF loan, that the ANC government led by Tito has accepted, has crippled the public service through entrenching commitments to cuts in the size of the government, all while other funding sources remain at our disposal.
Activists from the Assembly will be taking part in activities in Bloemfontein,Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town. Activists from the Botshabelo Unemployed Movement (BUM) will be supporting the COSATU mobilisation in Mangaung, drawing activists from Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu and Mangaung. Amandla Port Elizabeth will join activities in Port Elizabeth for activities in the city from 8am-10am from Jacaranda Butchery to Vuyisile Mini Square, including flash mobs throughout the Metro. There will also be a night vigil hosted on the evening of the 6th of October outside Port Elizabeth City Hall. The Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) will be joining their comrades from Amandla for the strike in Port Elizabeth. In Cape Town members of the AoU will support Unions in activities throughout the city.
These activities will be spread across the country with the spirit of uniting working-class South Africa whether they be employed or unemployed. Beyond merely a defensive salvo, this national strike puts in focus the need to advance a Basic Income Grant (BIG) as the AoU has demanded for years. It offers the opportunity to fight for an expanded and functioning public service tasked with facilitating a just energy transition via a climate jobs programme. This moment offers the chance for South Africans to say we deserve better than what the ANC government has failed to bring to the masses.
Importantly this involvement in the national strikes offers the opportunity for the extension of a mission and programme launched by the Cry of the Xcluded at the Real Jobs Summit outside Parliament on the 26th of February, 2020. It is only the unity of all, both unemployed and employed, that is needed to fight the economic violence that elite leadership has forced.
The Assembly calls on all unemployed people living in South Africa to join the Assembly of the Unemployed and other movements fighting for a corrupt free South Africa in which the needs of the poor and working class are met.
For more details contact:
Siya Mama – Amandla PE (Port Elizabeth) – +27 65 970 7079
Khkokhoma Motsi – BUM (Free State – Butshabelo) – +27 73 490 7623
Sinesipho – UPM (Makhanda) – 078 409 4260