The 2021 Local Government Election results send a clear message to the country’s ruling elite: South Africa’s Xcluded have lost confidence in the electoral system. [REPUBLISHED WITH PERMISSION]
Issued by Cry of the Xcluded, 2 November 2021
This comes as no surprise after a toxic 25 year cocktail of elite pacting, neoliberalism and corruption. This has delivered widening inequality, mass unemployment, hunger and violence. Ever since the ANC adopted neoliberal economic and social policies in 1996 we have seen the proportion of eligible voters turning away from party politics. This is the result of a liberation movement that turned its back on the people and chose to serve big business and enrichment for the few.
At the margins of the electoral map we see signs of another possibility. Our comrades, campaigning under the banner of the Cry of the Xcluded in the Unemployed Peoples Movement in Makanda have forged an alliance that won 31.62% of the vote (with 82% of the vote counted).
Democracy or Despotism
South Africa’s uncertain future is now clearly in the hands of the marginalised majority.
As we said in February 2020: The situation is rapidly unfolding where a national uprising of the poor will explode. It cannot be long before the ticking time bomb of youth unemployment, almost 70%, ignites a Tunisian type outburst of anger. The danger for the labour and social movements is that, instead of this anger being directed at their class enemy: big business and the state, the unorganized layers, the unemployed and the disorganised masses, explode in an orgy of xenophobic violence and pogroms.
The relative electoral success of ActionSA points to the conserivative, authoritarian, patriarchal, and xenophobic currents that run within us. Our urgent task is to unite the Xcluded – employed and unemployed workers, women and men, urban and rural, those born in SA and those born outside – behind a democratic politics of Ubuntu. A politics that does not look beyond ourselves for leadership and that demands ethical and accountable conduct from all our activists. A politics that puts people before profit. A politics that centers the Xcluded’s demands for jobs, land, services, and dignity. In other words the promotion of a new anti-capitalist, anti-racist and feminist politics.
Organise or Starve
In the face of mounting dissent the government is pushing ahead with its anti-poor austerity agenda that calls for R265 billion in severe funding cuts over the next 3 years.
On 11 November the Minister of Finance will table the Mid Term Budget that will likely further plans to cut R67.2 billion spending on public health, R36.0 billion from social grants, R9 billion is taken from public schools. The list goes on.
Rather than investing in decent services to stimulate the economy, government plans to contract spending at “an annual real average rate of 5.2%.”. Government has abandoned the people. They plan to spend R2 700 less per person on public services in real terms in 2022 compared with what it was spending in 2019.
Cry of the Xcuded demand a budget that redistributes our wealth: Tax the rich to fund decent work and services for all!
We will be mobialsing ahead of the Budget Speech on 11 November to demand:
- A Basic Income Grant of R1500 per month for all unemployed and the precariously/informally employed between the ages of 18-59 including recipients of any Caregivers grants;
- The Child Support Grant must be increased to R585 per month;
- Government must institute a Wealth Tax to raise at least R160 Billion and clamp down on profit shifting and wage evasion which cost the country billions in lost taxes and wages.
- The government must work with communities to ensure access to land and food security.
About Cry of the Xcluded
The Cry of the Xcluded was launched by South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the Assembly of the Unemployed (AoU) in February 2020 to unite the working class – employed and unemployed – in the struggle for jobs, services, and dignity.
The views expressed here are the author’s personal opinion and do necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Daily Vox.