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Recent articles by Philip Nyalungu
Recent Articles about Southern Africa Economy
Fuel Price Hikes Hammer South Africa’s Working Class
southern africa | economy | other libertarian press Mittwoch September 20, 2017 17:53 by Philip Nyalungu sifuna.zonke at gmail dot com
A sharp increase in fuel prices on Wednesday 6 September will hit the working class and poor hardest. The official reasons for the price hike are rising crude oil costs and the weak Rand. Government tax is also rising. Energy Minister Mamoloko Kubayi claims 4.6 cents a litre will go towards salary increases for petrol station workers.
Fuel Price Hikes Hammer South Africa’s Working ClassPhilip Nyalungu
A sharp increase in fuel prices on Wednesday 6 September will hit the working class and poor hardest. Petrol, diesel and paraffin now cost 67c, 44c and 65c more, respectively. This is the fifth fuel increase this year. Economists have warned more will be disastrous.
The official reasons for the price hike are rising crude oil costs and the weak Rand. Government tax is also rising. Energy Minister Mamoloko Kubayi claims 4.6 cents a litre will go towards salary increases for petrol station workers.
The reality is rising prices get passed directly onto ordinary people by, for example, increases in taxi fares and food prices. LP gas, which with paraffin is the main fuels used in poor households, is up 86 cents a kilogram. Rising prices affect jobs, and many workers are vulnerable.
Informal economic activities, like street vending of food, are harmed, also affecting low-paid consumers like taxi drivers and petrol pump attendants. It is not clear how 4.6 cents a litre of petrol tax will supposedly get into the pockets of petrol station workers. If it does, it will just vanish due to rising prices. South African capitalism, enabled by the state machinery, rests upon cheap black labour, and the working class and poor majority continue to suffer. Real freedom remains far off.
Rising prices are part of the ongoing inflation problem in capitalism that keeps reducing real wages. Owners of the means of production, including oil refineries and fuel chains, the banks and the state, have the power to increase prices and devalue currency, and so, increase profits by increasing poverty.
But the victims, workers and their families, lack both economic power and political influence. So long as the economy remains under the control of the bosses and politicians, rather than the broad working class, problems like endless price rises will continue. Only class struggle from below through counter-power, aiming at a better society, based on self-management, collective property and participatory planning, can move us from this track. This requires working class autonomy from the parties and the state.
So 25 Aug, 05:06
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On Wednesday, the Minister of Finance of South Africa stood up in the circus that passes itself off as a National Parliament and without any sense of irony what-so- ever declared that the South African state’s budget for 2017 was redistributive and progressive. If the Minister was to be believed, therefore, the budget was aimed at making a dent in the substantial class and racial inequalities that exist in the country. To back this up, supporters pointed out that the tax rate on top earners was raised marginally in the budget and people receiving dividends from shares would have to pay 5% more on these in tax. Despite this, one word could sum up the idea that the budget presented was redistributive and progressive: bullshit. Rather the budget presented by Minister Pravin Gordhan was yet again another attack on the working class. What the budget did was to favour corporations at the expense of the poor. In doing so, it remained based on the neoliberal dogma that has defined South Africa’s post-apartheid politics. In other words, the budget was a vivid demonstration of how the state is an instrument and weapon of the ruling class that functions to benefit that class. This can be seen throughout the budget, including how the state plans to raise money and how it plans to spend it.
The 2012 budget: by the ruling class for the ruling class Mär 02 0 comments
Once again much media fanfare has broken out in aftermath of the South African state’s budget speech. The budget, however, is yet more proof of the ANC’s ruling class agenda: free markets, budget cuts for the poor and subsidies for the rich. From the budget and other utterances it is clear the ANC has, despite media hysteria, no interest in nationalisation. The state will, therefore, try and deal with the global economic crisis largely through business-as-usual.
Saving jobs in South Africa in the crunch: 'engage' or revolt? Apr 20 0 comments
One of the great weaknesses of SA unions - or at least their leaders - is the notion that unions should actively aim at restructuring the economy through policy engagement. This idea is often labelled 'strategic unionism' or 'radical reform', and centres on a politics of cooperating with capital and the state to effectively restructure "South African" industry for global competition. This is summed up in the phrase that "business is too important to leave to management".
The Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) expresses its solidarity with the rank and file workers of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), as their national campaign of rolling mass action against the electricity crisis culminates in a national strike and stayaway throughout the country on Wednesday, 6th August.
Recent debates in the press around the issue of "Black Economic Empowerment," or BEE, bring key features of the post-apartheid dispensation into stark relief. They also show the limits of much of what is considered to be "progressive" or left-wing politics in South Africa. BEE is about creating an elite of Black capitalists, something that underlines the class agenda of the ANC.more >>
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