APF Narrative Report
Friday 14 September 2007
Prepared by Silumko Radebe - APF Organiser
Are there important contextual (political, economic, social) changes that have/could have an impact on the project?
Political: We have seen division inside the country around the issues of service delivery and in particular within the African National Congress on how the country must tackle corruption, politics of poor service delivery, high crime rate and self-enrichment within the country. The President Thabo Mbeki has blamed Local municipalities for lack of service delivery and he introduced Operation Consolidate to monitor the imperatives of local municipality failures but also the successes of service delivery in the country through South African Local Government Association (SALGA). But many communities have risen up against the failure of service delivery in the country and many are also aware of the shifts in social relations in terms of accessing basic services. The government has being able to govern but control the none compliance or the culture of none payment through making sure that private sector is roped in delivering of services. So part of the political propaganda of Operation consolidate is that municipalities have failed to deliver on basic service because there has being lack of capacity but also there has being corruption within the local government institutions. This shift in approach has rather being deliberate in undermining the more uprisings of the community struggles for basic services and sort of use the issue of corruption by local municipalities as the single failure when there are budgets resource allocated for people to benefit from service delivery. Many opportunistic campaigns have being launched by the government in clouding their failure of provision to basic services.
Another terrain has being the experiences of our Johannesburg Region affiliates (SECC, TCC, Alex, Kliptown and Motsoaledi) under the banner of OKM having a proportional representative council in the council chambers. This has meant that they have engage both on the inside of the council chambers and on the outside in their communities the issue of accessing basic human rights. The councillor has to host different people’s assembly in Johannesburg and report on the issues discussed inside the chambers but also get a mandate from the community on immediate issues they want the government to know but also solve their problems. In the East Rand, (KCR that joined in with other two community organizations to form the Displacees Ratepayers Association (DRPA) for electoral purposes but they have had a different experience compared to the Johannesburg affiliates. Their elected two councillors have not taken forward the community mandate in raising the issues inside the chambers around evictions and that has meant that KCR had to distance itself from the electoral front to began a process of explaining to the community what has being the change in the position of elected councillors who are longer putting forward the demands of the people but allow the parliamentary processes to swallow them.
Socio-Economic: Over the past two years in South Africa, there has been an increase in the number of uprisings against the lack of delivery of basic services. The APF has slowly but oriented itself towards struggles outside Gauteng and forming links with communities like Khutsong and the Free State. This role that the APF is playing is vital in the growth of the organisation but also to have both the internal orientation and the outward orientation.
What are the major achievements or highlights of past 6 months?
Thematic workshops ˇ The APF held three Admin & Finance workshop on the 26 & 27 July 2006, 28 & 29 August 2006 and on the 15 & 16 February 2007. As in the previous quarter, the APF has only managed to do three dedicated capacitation training on Finance/Administration and Leadership skills. The broad aims were that the workshop will not capacitate affiliate treasures on the issues of finances but also to have a political orientation towards the finances of the APF. Comrades could be able to understand funds not as numbers but also as the political means that enables us to carry on with our tasks. Financial accountability is not only to the funders but to the organisation and how funds must be allocated is a political choice that every comrade must be accountable for but not only the treasure. The workshop did look at how affiliates must keep clear records for accounting and that accounting is a political obligation of affiliates.
ˇ Women Rights Day Workshop: the APF celebrated the event in Orange Farm with most of affiliates attending the women’s day event at Orange Farm on the 09 August 2006. But also members of the community attended the event that was hosted by the Kganya Women’s Consortium under the banner of OWCC with the help of the APF education sub-committee. It raised issues around the patriarchal society that continues to trample on women rights but also on their socio-economic issues as access to work, basic services and a freedom to influence politics of the country. It became clear that even though they are at the fore-front of confronting neo-liberal policies of the ANC lead government, the number of women representing them in parliament were not voicing out their plight as the unemployed but poor uneducated women. The challenge was also for them to be paid all the free labour that they have continued to provide in doing domestic chores as looking after children has being considered to be a women only issue. But debates in the house raised that as it is important for the women to be fighting against neo-liberalism but the struggle for women emancipation must not be seen as a different struggle. They must be fused together so that even the male comrades can also benefit on their own emancipation when it came into taking forward the women struggles. It was resolved that such a space must be allowed in the APF for women to raise their own struggles that can be taken forward in the project for access to basic human rights and not only to be concerned about the numbers like the ANC. “The socio-economics rights must be seen and touched by the hand”.
ˇ The OWCC has being approached many times by progressive educators in the Vaal triangles on what is the way-forward in organising professional into the struggles of the APF. A teacher’s workshop was held on the 12 August 2006 in Sebokeng Zone 11 at the Roman Catholic Church with more than 30 educators in attendance. The workshop had broad aims, like making an introduction on what is the Anti Privatisation Forum? Why does the APF need to work with the educators? And what are the major achievements of the APF?
The discussion had also to look at the introduction of the new curriculum and what its boundaries are. Lastly there were discussions on the challenges facing the educators at schools post 1994? The discussion also looked at the Political Context Post 1994 in South Africa. Some of the issues discussed were that the struggles under apartheid were met by state repression, state of emergency, curfew and banning of political activist & organisations in the country. But this intensified the resistance & struggle in the communities and there were many campaigns, boycotts, pickets and protests for a political change in the country. The apartheid government was under pressure from the international community with boycotts and local revolts against the system. So the release of political prisoners, return of exiled activist and the unbanning of political activism paved the way for the Kempton Park negotiated settlement between the relevant stakeholders.
Many processes were set-up including the Truth & Reconciliation Committee, Constitutional Draft Team, elections (IEC), Government of National Unity etc. to map a way forward into the new South Africa. As the ANC took power in 1994 and Mandela became the President with Thabo Mbeki and F.W. de Klerk as his deputies in the GNU, the Reconstruction & Development Programme was introduced as the main drive to address the injustices of the apartheid legacy. But in 1996 there was the adoption of the Constitution of South Africa and the introduction of a ’non-negotiable’ Growth Economic and Redistribution (GEAR) policy by President Mandela. This was a shift in policy by the ANC government from being people driven to one that was more neo-liberal. The policy called for an open market system and open trade competition with local and foreign multi-national companies.
The unbanning of the ANC, PAC etc. in 1990, the Kempton park negotiations and the 1994 national elections led to the demobilisation of society as people’s power ceded to their representatives. Business was given more power and there is the emergence of black elite through black economic empowerment strategy of the government to get black into owning companies in the country. But this became a failure as the majority of the black people in the country are not benefiting from this plan but a few influential people with political connections are benefiting. There is the tension between the tri-party alliances but South Africa has become the darling of the world and major world events, conferences are hosted by the country. It is a power house in Africa through New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Mbeki’s western plan) and there is the emergence of social movements in the late 90’s in response to the growing inequalities in the country.
The political activism & vacuum is now occupied by social movements in challenging corruption, crime, high level of unemployment and HIV/AIDS. Domestic issues such as women & children abuse, alcohol & drug abuse, disunity in the communities are on the rise. But people unite against none service delivery of the government in the country to force the leaders to listen to the people.
It was the first workshop with the educators in the Vaal who work with learners from early childhood development centers to high school educators. Some of the educators were working with physically disabled learners and they shared their daily common challenges but also their successes in the teaching profession. What was striking was the fear in the educators in challenging the powers that may be in making sure that they overcome their problems. On the common understanding on the impacts of globalisation in the education sector we could understand what pressured the learners to be more conforming to the structures present at schools. The workshop focused more on the impacts of restructuring or redeployment in the education sector and how this has influenced the changes in the policy making structures. But it was evident with their expectations that some of the teachers were not aware of the APF and some of the campaigns of the organisation. So the workshop was used to profile the APF and recruit the professional workers into the struggles of the APF so that they can change their education methods at school by relating to the situation that learners are confronted by in their communities. Most have indicated that they are willing to host afternoon classes at their schools in dealing with the issue of raising awareness about the APF in their communities. On the way forward there was a need for human resource to carry on the work that the APF has being doing and it was for every person in the workshop to mobilise more people for the next activity. Everybody had to embark on a recruitment strategy that should be across all sectors (professionals are needed as well) and recall all the forgotten heroes & militant union members of the struggle. But there is also a need for active resistance that should be organised (defence committees) in the communities and develop a common vision for the struggle on how we can deal with co-option or careerist (militant teachers are given top positions so that they can be demobilised).
ˇ APF/ CAWP hosted a community mass meeting on the 06 August 2006 in the community of White City. It gave the APF an opportunity to explain to the community the merit of the water constitutional court case and how such processes are a part of a build up for the actual case. The meeting was well attend by the residents who are under constrain pressure of the implementation of Operation Gcina Amanzi in Soweto and it inspired the community to continue their struggle to resist but also remove pre-paid water meters. The event was successful in strengthen the White City community where the Operation Gcinamanzi was focusing on at that period. This enabled the APF to make more links with the community but also reviving the other struggles in Soweto around water pre-paid meters.
ˇ The EWCCC held a community mass meeting on the 17 August 2006 in Evaton West on the issues around water pre-paid meters and electricity. A number of affiliates in the Vaal attended the meeting including comrades from Soweto (SECC) but they were also active in the mobilisation of the community to attend the meeting. CAWP delegated a speaker to the meeting and the local ANC ward councillor attended the meeting with many members from SANCO being present. The EWCCC addressed the immediate concerns of the community on the state of problems regarding their electricity and how many of their demands were not addressed by ESKOM. They demand answers from the councillor on how far ESKOM is answering some of their demands and why there were not report backs from the councillor? The issue of water pre-paid meters were raised in the meeting and the councillor was drawn in to reveal to the community the intention or the IDP plans of the municipality in regards to pre-paid meters. It was a difficult call for the councillor to make because she could not declare publicly the intentions of the municipality because she was not sure about the council plan on pre-paid meters but she revealed that there was a discussion on the issue and meters will not be installed in Evaton. There were no answers to the issues raised around electricity but the councillor demanded that the EWCCC committee must make sure that they are part of their ward meetings so that they could raise all these critical issues around basic services.
ˇ In the East Rand region on the 26th August 2006, Thembisa Concerned Residents Association together with Coalition Against Water Privatisation held a road-show in the community of Thembisa to popularise the constitutional court water case to the public. This was part of the broader stratergy by the CAWP and the different affiliates of the APF in making sure that the water case becomes an issue that the public debates around the access to free basic services. Comrades couldn’t access the impact of the action but it gave them an opportunity to distribute pamphlets as they were Loud hailing in the township. The pamphlets informed the community of a public mass meeting that was called by TECRA.
ˇ The community of Bekkersdal held a community mass meeting on the 20th August 2006 in the Western Area Mines just 20 kilometres outside of Soweto. The meeting was not well attended but more than eighty community members braved the cold morning to listen but also raise concerns around their access to basic services. In the mass meeting, the APF was given a platform to introduce itself to the community and also what are the campaigns that the APF has being involved in the past years. Arising from the discussions in the house, it was visible that SACP is leading the struggle in the community around reparations. But the concern was that a unifying community based organisation must take forward the struggle around basic service so that there can be fully participation from members of the community as compared to a political party as it limits participation. But the most critical issue for the meeting was on about none delivery of basic services and how best can the community tackles issues of service delivery? The meeting was a resounding success as the community vowed to tackle the problem of none delivery through a structure that is open to all members of the public who want nothing else but the delivery of basic services for the poor.
ˇ SAMANCOR marched on the 16 August 2006 to Negotiated Benefits Consultants (NBC) in Sandton City for the release of their pension surplus fund. This was a follow up March by the SRWCC to NBC Sandton following their picket on the 29th June 2006 that was attended by more than 210 pensioners, retrenched workers & widows who demanded that their pension surplus fund be released by the Financial Service Board (FSB). The march started at eight o’ clock in the morning until midday when the management of NBC finally came to receive the memorandum from the ill but well spirited pensioners. The management listened to all the workers outcries on how the delay of the release of the surplus has caused a misery in their lives. The Chief Actuary Mr. Krishen Sukdev of the Financial Services Board has made it clear to that the Surplus apportionment date was 30 June 2004 in his memorandum to the trustees- SAMANCOR. It is clear as regulated by the pension surplus act that the FSB is mandated to take 60 days in evaluating the scheme and then give the administrators of the fund a date when to release the funds. But FSB has dragged on its mandate because on the day of the march it was the last day of the 60 days yet there was no answer from the FSB. The march was also joined by workers from Cape-Gate Group and Iscor in solidarity with the SRWCC workers. Their demands were: How long must they wait for their pension surplus when the rich (BHP Billiton) gets richer and the poor (SRWCC) get poorer? A date must be confirmed on that day when their scheme will be released? It was clear that the workers were enough with the delaying tactics that are being played by NBC and FSB. The NBC management decided to stick to the response it gave to the SWRCC and that the party at fault is FSB. But the representatives of SRWCC were called in to the office to have a conference call with Mike Corydon of the FSB. Then Mr. Mike was not available but a certain Mr Schulte spoke on his behalf and he apologized for the delay in the release of the SAMANCOR scheme but they (FSB) will look at it. The predicament of the poor pensioners was explained to him and that the next picket or March will be to the FSB within seven days by the angry pensioners. He pleaded that the leaders speak to the pensioners in making sure that they must not take any action at this point but he will commit himself in writing that they will look at this scheme. But he will not commit himself in any promise of the release of the scheme’s date and that he will fax in his commitment. The workers responded that they will visit FSB and he will be pressured to work quickly with the scheme in their presence.
ˇ Another affiliate of the APF in Pretoria Attridgeville held a successful picket at the offices of ISCOR on the 31 August 2006 as part of putting pressure on the release of their pension surplus funds. There were more than 20 comrades picketing and even though this action was contravening the Gatherings Act, the picket continued without any controversy. This was part of their on going weekly programme of action against mining giants Mittal and the release of their funds.
ˇ SACCAWU a COSATU affiliate embarked on a national strike against Shoprite-Checkers during the month of August 2006. On the 18 August 2006, the affiliates of APF joined many different demonstrations in supporting the workers of Shoprite as many workers have being embarking in serious protest but without any support from other COSATU affiliates. So this meant that the union movement was poor in their organising of the strike but solidarity was an important key for the APF in making sure that it strengthens the action. This was evident in the demonstrations and pickets where workers would be generally found sitting in a remote corner not highlighting their action to the community. A number of pamphlets were produced by the APF in highlighting the plight of the workers by being exploited by the management of Checkers. The media release of the APF captured most of the important and critical issues around the strike but it was also well received by SACCAWU.
It was important to note that the majority of the workers at Shoprite/Checkers are women who are coming from our townships and taking care of working class families and children. These women work under dreadful working conditions and are paid starvation wages by the Shoprite/Checkers bosses. The Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (Saccawu) demands the greater of a wage increase of R300 or 10 percent, as well as improved working conditions. Shoprite is offering R265. In a context where retail chief directors are earning 223 times more tan workers, Shoprite’s refusal to accede to the demands of workers is a clear demonstration of arrogance. As a way of increasing its profits, Shoprite is one of the retail stores that continue to employ a big number of casual labour.
The strike needed to be strengthened by the union, the striking workers and communities and that would hit hard on the profits of bosses. It was clear that the communities had played an important role in ensuring that the workers’ demands are met. The strongest weapon was to boycott Shoprite/Checkers. The appeal was that the communities must not buy from Shoprite and its related store so that a successful boycott of Shoprite will reduce the profits of the bosses. That then compelled the bosses to meet the demands of workers. As an organisation that is struggling against all forms of social and economic injustice, the APF strongly argue that the struggle of Shoprite workers is also ours. These workers are coming from our communities. They are not earning enough money. They spend their wages on paying for exorbitant schools fees and basic services such as water and electricity. Our struggles for access to basic services is also part of struggle against the bosses at Shoprite who refuse to grant a wage increase to workers who are coming from our working class township. Our one struggle is a struggle against the capitalist system which continues to oppress the workers, the working class communities and women.
We called upon all communities to join the pickets and marches of Shoprite/Checkers workers. The correct place to start to ensure that the boycott was successful against Shoprite was in the townships where Shoprite stores exist. Then the boycott had to spread to all the towns and cities. A united working class shall never be defeated! Boycott Shoprite! The union was generally pleased by the support of the APF and this was revealed in the COSATU 9th Congress where they gave statement thanking the APF for its support.
ˇ The APF housing committee hosted a housing workshop on the 19 & 20 July 2006 in the East-Rand with the Kathorus Concerned Resident being the hosting affiliate. It was attended by all the affiliates of the APF and also the local residents were in attendance. The workshop was co facilitated by the Center for Applied Legal Studies from the University of the Witswaterand Law school that has being on the front of the struggle in the Inner city in fighting the City of Johannesburg from evicting residents in more than 250 building that are considered to be bad building. The Projects such as the Better Buildings Programme (BBP), which allows redevelopers to take over inner-city buildings that have run up huge utility bills, in exchange for a rates rebate, have stagnated since the ruling.
In the controversial judgement, Judge Mahommed Jajbhay found the state had a constitutional obligation to provide for the housing needs of its most indigent citizens. The ruling was seen as a victory for the residents who live in some of the city’s worst buildings, which have no running water or electricity, but who are too poor to afford better facilities. But the city saw the judgement as a great obstacle to regeneration of the inner city, which has become an area of focus in the lead-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (Mail & Guardian 22 February 2007) So the CALS lawyer (Stuart Wilson) who has taken forward the case of the inner-city residents was dragged in to help develop an eviction booklet or a housing manual that will assist APF affiliates in the prevention of illegal evictions. The booklet will have all the steps to follow when our communities are facing evictions but also legal assistance to be followed when fighting evictions. But more importantly the APF was able to develop a political approach towards resisting evictions. It was also decided that the housing committee should host a housing conference that will seek to invite progressive social movement’s organisation in the drafting of national platform of demands around land and housing. This was a successful event after June 16 event in that the organisation was able to bring all its affiliate to a central event that was committed in taking forward working class struggle. The workshop also managed to rejuvenate the housing campaign that was weak in the past periods and more affiliates agreed that this was a central campaign in the APF struggles because evictions are happening in all the communities. So this meant to pave way for the affiliates to mobilise around housing issues to prepare for a march to the housing department in taking forward some of the different community concerns on evictions and the building of new houses.
ˇ Different affiliates of the APF held different events in mobilising for the Housing march on the 20th September 2006. Affiliates in the Vaal region had a mass meeting Sebokeng zone 11 stadium in preparing for the march. Then in the Joburg region the community of Kliptown held a community mass meeting on the 10 September 2006 in mobilising for the march. There were attempted evictions in Alexandra-Wynberg on the 13th August 2006 and comrades from Marlboro went in solidarity with the community to resist the eviction. Unfortunately, more than four comrades were shot and admitted in hospital from bullet & stunt grenade shots. So as part of the mobilisation for the march, the Marlboro comrades wanted to raise their issue around evictions to the Housing department. Also on the 16th September 2006, the Landless People’s Movement, Protea South branch invited the APF to address their constituency and plan for the big march.
ˇ High Court Application: the morning of the 20th September 2006, The LPM and the APF took legal action as part of the defence for the right to demonstrate and hold public gathering. This is the right that was won in the street and can only be defended in the streets. The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) refused to grant permission for the land and housing march of the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) and the Landless People’s Movement (LPM). Scheduled for the 20th of September 2006, the march was supposed to highlight the fact that the working class and the poor are demanding land and housing. The LPM and the APF complied with the gatherings act which requires organisations to notify the authorities not later than seven days before the date of the event. The application for the march was submitted on 29 August 2006. In other words, the authorities had more than three weeks to prepare for the march. According to the act the JMPD was supposed to have called the LPM and the APF for a routine meeting within 48 hours after receiving the notification for the march. The JMPD did not convene a meeting with the organisers of the march, namely APF and LPM. On the eve of March, the 19th of September 2006, the JMPD called the APF to a meeting and informed it that the march will not be allowed to take place. The strange thing is that the JMPD did not bother to furnish the APF with reasons verbally as well as in writing. Once again, this is a breach of the gatherings act. The actions of the JMPD and the SAPS undermining the fundamental rights that are enshrined in the constitution. The rights to freedom of expression and association have been violated by the authorities who think that they are a law unto themselves. This was not happening for the first time when the APF applied for a march in the inner-city. The actions of the SAPS and the JMPD are part of generalized attacks on working class organisations such as the LPM and the APF. In places like Orange Farm, the Vaal, Cape Town, Merafong and Durban our sister organisations are always persecuted by state authorities as an attempt at undermining the present wave of legitimate struggles for access to water, land, housing and other basic services. But the courts did prove that our rights will always be trampled on if we don’t apply or put political pressure on the state apparatus to recognise but also to defend our constitutional rights by making sure that they are implemented in all the lives of South African.
The JMPD and City Council did file opposing papers to that of the LPM & APF in the high court. It took a long time for the case to proceed in court as other cases were heard before the court and it took quite a long time before the court could listen to the APF’s case. When the case was finally heard by the courts, the lawyers of JMPD were not present to defend their case and the City Council argued that the march can be postponed for another date (21 September 2006) as it was not a matter of death for the march to take place on the 20th September 2006. Even if the march was allowed to take place, but due to time (late afternoon after 15h00) and the traffic hour, it was not feasible for the march to be allowed to carry on. But it didn’t take into consideration the amount of resources that was used by the poor in gathering in the inner-city.
The judge then decided that the case can’t be entertained in the court as the defence team (JPMD) was not in court to defend itself and it was difficult to pass judgement on the case. So the APF & LPM decided that without any written decision from the court, we might as well verbally inform the police that the courts have agreed on the march and that it had to proceed only to the Gauteng Legislature and a representative from the Gauteng Department of housing must receive the memorandum at the Legislature.
ˇ The housing march: The Anti Privatisation Forum together with the Landless People Movement Protea South Branch marched to the Gauteng Legislature Office in Simmonds Street and not to the Gauteng Department of Housing in Sauer Street and to Braampark Offices as it was planned to deliver a memorandum on the poor service delivery of houses by the government and the recent increase in the number of evictions in different communities. The march gathered at Park Station at 10H00 as most of the protestors used the train and buses to arrive in the city center. There was a delay in the march as more than 3000 people gathered in Park Station for more than five hours while waiting for a court interdict against the JMPD and City council of Johannesburg. But it took a long time and many people had to return home without marching as the police threatened to restrain the crowd from marching.
So when the march went ahead in the afternoon, only 2500 were left to march to deliver a memorandum to the Gauteng Premier Mbazima Shilowa. A delegate from the MEC of Housing Nomvula Mokonyane office came to take over the memorandum in the Legislature building. The march highlighted the issues of evictions in the township of residents from their homes by the banks and estate agents. How the police escort the sheriff who evict people instead of fighting crime by help not to evict people from their homes. Also the courts must defend human rights and promote economic justice
ˇ As part of the broader struggle against evictions the APF was approached by the community of Ennerdale (28 kilomwters south of Johannesburg) in drawing up stratergy in fighting evictions in the community. As a result a Community Housing mass meeting was called on the 26 November 2006 and there many families with different housing problems attended the meeting. One intresting story was that of a family evicted from a Dilapidated House. The background to the story is that in the year 2001 when the Hlatshwayo Family bought house no 5572 Azurite Crescent at Ennerdale Extension 8 in Gauteng and they thought they had bought their dream house. The house is built on unstable soil conditions at the lower ridges of the area along an open storm water drainage furrow on the north-western portion of the house/dwelling. It has a structural strength problems and instability. Philisiwe and Thulisiwe Hlatshwayo have being living in a nightmare house for the past five years and this has being made worse by the flooding of their house. Thulisiwe is unemployed and Philisiwe has been working odd jobs for some time but they have managed to pay for their house bond over the years. Their child has being attending school in the area and they have being part of the Ennerdale community.
Horror: The house that they are occupying was built in 1997 as part of the governments RDP housing programme and it was developed by the previous owners. Since its existence the house has being owned by more than five people. The reasons being that it is falling apart, it is built on unstable soil conditions at the lower ridges of the area along an open storm water drainage furrow on the north-western portion of the house/dwelling. If it is the raining season, the family has learnt to apply survival skills because they have to be equipped for floods. They nearly died in 2005 when they had a rude awakening when the house was half filled with water and everybody had to stand on top of the refrigerator. This has left their daughter with a horrific experience and she follows every flooding story on television because she is scared of what they nearly did to her family.
Eviction with no alternative accommodation: in spite of all these problems, the bank and the insurance company have continued to rob the family for profits. When the house was inspected by the City of Johannesburg Region 11 offices and Asakheni Consulting Engineers in January 2005, they have clearly requested that the house is unsafe for any occupation and it must be destroyed. Instead Estate Agents together with the banks have continued to rob people by continuing evicting people for a house that is unsafe for occupation and reselling it to unsuspecting buyers. The family has requested that they be given alternative accommodation since the house is unsafe for occupation but the bank has insisted that they must continue paying their bond and fight with the insurance company to renovate the house. On the 19 September 2006 the family was evicted from the house for failing to pay their bond despite all their grievances about the state of the house.
Destroy the house: the eviction notice was that they had to evacuate the premises on the 31October 2006 and she did not get a chance to state her case at the court hearing about the issue of alternative accommodation. The Local ward councillor have not managed to help the family as they were evicted from the house and the local authority claimed that they cant help the family as the matter had to be taken to provincial government. Again the family was evicted on the 16 November 2006 by the sheriff of the court and the new house. They (agent & new owner) decided that they will give her 20 days grace to look for accommodation without considering all the facts that the house must be destroyed because it is built on a sinkhole and the family must be reimbursed for all their expenses because the bank knew the problem with the house. The Hlatshwayo family is the fifth family to occupy the house less than ten years since it was built and it is apparent that they are ignoring the engineer’s calls that the house must be destroyed. So the community decided to form defence committees in fighting the struggle against evictions but also build an action committee that will assist in developing the campaign in the area with the assistance of the APF housing committee.
ˇ Recently there were sparks in Orange Farm (06 September 2006) where residents blockaded the Golden Highway in protest against the relocation of the residents and the slow delivery of basic services. The angry Residents in Orange Farm blocked the Golden Highway in demand to access basic services and they had a community meeting with the local ward councillor Miesie Msimango who gave them a report from ESKOM on the developments of installing electricity in the community. But the councillor made it clear that she was also disappointed by the reply back from ESKOM in that they will not be able to meet the immediate needs of the community except for installation of pre-paid meters. The community took a conscious decision of keeping her captive until the officials of ESKOM came to address the community directly. But the police came and rescued her from the angry crowd that was baying for the development of their community at all costs.
Once the demands of the community were not addressed and this lead to the residents blockading the Golden Highway again like they did on the 6 of September 2006. Tyres were burnt to barricade the road and demanding that their issues should be addressed by the relevant authorities or stakeholders. The demands were that it is the right of the community to have clarity on issues of service delivery in their community and they have also demanded the resignation of ineffective ward councillors. But members of the OWCC indicated to the community that that under the present neo-liberal conditions of the representative bourgeois democracy, all decisions are centralized to a few elite who decided on behalf of the majority and all decisions are a top to bottom approach. So it was clear that even the ward councillors don’t have much power when it comes to decisions taken by their national and provincial government like the Privatisation of basic services.
The community of Orange Farm vowed to continue with its campaign of fighting for access to electricity, water, health, education and adequate housing until their demands were addressed. The authorities divided the struggle by making a promise of infrastructure development through pre-paid meters and the community had to compromise with the hope that they will bypass the meters. Most of the community members felt that their demands were not going to be met because of the empty promises of government since 1994.
ˇ There was the screening of the APF water struggles on SABC two covering the Meadowlands people’s assembly on the 07th September 2007.
ˇ On the 24th October 2006 the Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP), a network of community-based organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations together with the APF affiliates marched against the installation of pre-paid water meters and privatization of water in Johannesburg. More than 1000 people attended the march and it received huge media coverage. The Johannesburg Water (JW) was established in January 2001 as an independent company, the city of Johannesburg being the “sole” shareholder. The company formation is an outcome of the iGoli 2002 privatisation plan embarked on by the Johannesburg City Council. The JW admits that it provides water services along “business” and “cost recovery” principles.
With the assistance of water multinationals, JW has been involved in the privatisation water in Johannesburg. Despite the need for water in excess of 6 kilolitres per month, and the objection of residents to the installation of pre-paid water meters in places like Phiri and Orange Farm, Johannesburg Water went ahead and installed prepaid water meters in Stretford (Orange Farm), Extension 4 and Phiri. Subsequent to that local residents have raised concerns about the fact that pre-paid water meters are a violation of a constitutional right to access to water. People in Orange Farm, Phiri, Pretoria and Soweto have also been resisting the installation of these meters. The Coalition Against Water Privatisation has conducted detailed research work demonstrating that water pre-paid meters and the general Privatisation of water represent nothing else but a violation of water provision as enshrined in the constitution. In a context where the unemployment rate is exceptionally high pre-paid meters undermine water provision to the poor and the unemployed. The march was therefore part of a build-up for the constitutional court case against the installation of pre-paid meters and water Privatisation.
The marchers gathered at the Library Gardens (Simmonds Street) around 9:00 am. The memoranda and demands were delivered to offices of the Johannesburg Water (Harrison and Loveday) and the Johannesburg City Mayor Masondo in Braamfontein. Organisations marching under the banner of the Coalition Against Water Privatisation include the Anti-Privatisation Forum and its affiliates, the Landless People’s Movement and the Freedom of Expression Institute.
ˇ South African Unemployed Youth Forum marched to Houtkop labour department on the 16 November 2006 to deliver a memorandum to the Labour Department. The memorandum raised critical issues that the youth in the country are facing around unemployment and underemployment. SAUYF recognize the right and duties of all people to work and the ten years of democracy has not delivered employment as promised for the poor people with high poverty lines.
It has come to SAUYF attention that most of young people in Sedibeng are being neglected when it comes to their rights socially, politically, economically. The most significant challenge facing South Africa at the moment is the high rate of unemployment and poverty amongst the poor people. The government should draw up unemployment benefit grant for all young people who are not working as most get their first opportunity of employment when they are at the ages of thirty two without any social benefits.
SAUYF and supporting organisations in Vaal region submitted their memorandum of demands to Emfuleni Municipal mayor and other government department e.g. Labour, Health, Education, Sports, Arts and Culture concerning the following demands which had to be answered before the 30th November 2006 in a meeting that was going to be arranged with all the relevant stakeholders and departments.
The demands were as: that the government must put emphasis to the provision of free education and not for the elected people. The government must provide skills development opportunities for young people in order to create employment and reduce unemployment amongst young people in the country. The government must establish departments or division focusing on the needs of youth at all national, provincial, and local government.
SAUYF demanded the development in the area of Sedibeng in terms of sports facilities that are needed for 2010 as soon as possible and all the young people must have access to the premises. Demand that there must be quality health care for all young people e.g. HIV/AIDS, and TB medication to be provided free of charge at local clinics or hospitals. The demand of permanent jobs or employment for all the young people and the right to work should be constitutionalised. The demand that there must be proper enforcement from justice system and the South African Police Services should deal with the issue of high crime rate in Sedibeng. The demand that young people must become a priority when coming to the issue of having access to projects and tenders in all local municipalities. The demand that government should smash volunteerism, temporary employment or casualisation that promotes poverty and benefiting the bosses by producing unskilled young people who are promised lies all the time by the capitalist system of a better life for all.
The demand of the audit of the learnerships given to young people in the country: we want to know how many young people have taken part in learnerships? How many young people have got employment from the learnerships? What is the current status of the learnership programmes in Gauteng and who has access to information? These were the demands that SAUYF put forward to the labour department and yet they haven’t being answered so the organisation had to evaluate their tactics & stratergy in enforcing these demands to be meet by the relevant departments.
ˇ On the 16th November 2006 affiliates of the APF joined the Freedom of Expression Institute in a march to the SABC to raise issues around the release of commission of enquiries report. The main issue was that of the blacklisting of certain journalist who were critical of the President of the country and raised issues around the ruling party. But the conduct of the managing director of news Snuki Zikalala who turned the news department into being a state broadcaster. According to the Broadcasting Act, the board controls the affairs of the corporation, and must protect its freedom of expression, journalistic, creative and programming independence. As part of its licence conditions, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) also demands that SABC news and current affairs demonstrate impartiality, balance, independence and fairness. The commission’s findings imply that by excluding various commentators on grounds that were not objectively defensible, Zikalala violated both the Act and the licence conditions.
The board didn’t take ultimate responsibility for such violations by firing the manager for violating the law. Instead, they released a misleading press statements on the blacklisting saga as an attempt to prevent the public release of the full report and they expressed their full confidence in Zikalala while reportedly attempting to discipline the whistle-blower, SAFM radio anchor John Perlman. In terms of the Broadcasting Act, the board must consist of people who are “committed to fairness, freedom of expression, the right of the public to be informed and openness and accountability on the part of those holding public office. They have failed to demonstrate such a commitment. But also Icasa should have ruling on these matters urgently, as these incidents could well be grounds for the impeachment of the board.
The transformation of the SABC was not supposed to be about replacing old-order propagandists with new-order ones; it was meant to change how journalism was practised. There are several problems with how the board does its business and one is that the board is not independent of the minister of communications. The lines between the minister and the board, and between management and editorial, are hopelessly blurred. The board cannot appoint the three top managers at the SABC without ministerial approval (termed “minister nominees” in the SABC’s articles of association). This includes the group CEO, who is also the SABC’s editor-in-chief. The board cannot approve its own strategic objectives, business plan, budget or training programme without the minister nominees having approved these documents. The minister must approve the board’s key performance areas and objectives.
Independence is impossible in a situation where the board does not control its affairs. The current appointment process, in which Parliament’s communications portfolio committee selects the board, and then appoints it on the advice of the National Assembly, also needs to be rethought. The process lends itself to horse trading and political patronage and clearly, there are people on the current SABC board who are political appointees and who have expressed views that sit uncomfortably with the Broadcasting Act. The conflict-of-interest provision in the Act is far too weak. An independent panel should select the board, with the panel itself being appointed after a public process. The board and the panel should represent the broad range of sectors that have an interest in the public broadcaster - from labour and business to religious and cultural groups. Some communities of interest should elect a limited number of board members directly, such as the SABC staff. Mechanisms of direct access are also important. The board should be required to hold quarterly report-back meetings and should accede to requests for meetings if more than 100 signatures are presented in support of the request. So it was clear that the SABC is in a way the official mouth piece of the state and social movements continue to be ignored by the public broadcaster. This has meant that the APF had to continue its support in putting with the FXI on the SABC board to be a true reflection of the public interest.
Southern African Social Forum MALAWI-LILONGWE REPORT
ˇ Southern Africa Social Forum in Malawi on the 12-15 October 2006: The aim was to meet and share experiences with other comrades from the region and to be able to link our struggles with their struggles. Sharing of ideas that will enable us to fight against the Capitalist system and smash the neo-liberal policies which are imposed by the World Bank, IMF and WTO. Another secondary aim was for comrades to get a clear understanding on how the SASF operates and its role on uniting Social movements struggles in the region.
SOCIAL SERVICE DELIVERY AND REGIONAL SOLIDARITY: In this session Mpho was nominated by APF caucus to give presentation on service delivery in South Africa. There were three panelists namely: CHIRA and UHURU from Zimbabwe. The APF presentation was based on the challenges faced by poor communities in South Africa, such as electricity and water cut-offs with this installation of pre-paid meters and the issue of homeless including evictions. We also include APF’s response to these challenges that we initiated campaigns that resist the government policies that are unfavourable to the poor; we also shared our experiences of resistance, such as direct actions (removing meters) and the tactic of contesting the local government elections.
ZIMBABWE PRESANTATION: Comrades explained that Zimbabwe is in bad situation whereby Tungidza (region) is stated that it is the third largest population and they are facing problems of water borne diseases because they cannot afford to pay high bills of water and this has negative impact on both rural and urban community. Privatisation has created gap between the poor and riches.
COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: Now from these two presentations it would have been better to have more panellists from different countries as opposed to SA and Zimbabwe only since this would have provided a broader picture of what is happening in the Southern regions with regard to social services delivery. Judging from the three presentations it became apparent that this must be regarded as one of the regional problems which amongst other things will need a regional solidarity. Like organising regional centralized demonstrations e.g. march on one issue on the same day in different countries, have more regular meetings/workshops quarterly as SAFS is not enough to be held once a year.
Privatisation in Southern Africa: There were three presentations from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and they all gave background information on how Privatisation came about in their respective countries. The presenters gave a detailed report on how Privatisation has continued to deny people access to economic activities and how the people have responded to such issues or processes. But generally as a region there has being few activities that has being taken jointly by countries and organisations. At the Peoples Summit held recently in Maseru, the different countries meet and took a resolution to oppose Privatisation in the SADC region. This shows clearly that the people in the region are opposing Privatisation and they are prepared to fight Privatisation of basic services.
Recommendations Governments must reject pressure from the Brent Wood institutions and be forced to take up loans, structural adjustment programmes with imposed conditions. They must reverse privatisation in their countries and not allow bureaucrats to take advantage on their position to further their agendas.
A call for action in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa is not free until Zimbabwe is free: The socio-economical situation in Zimbabwe is worsening and people are living in miserable conditions. People are facing harsh conditions under a dictatorship rule of repression and they are not given their right to exercise freedom. A regional movement must be part of the struggle that will fight the rule of capitalism and dictatorship in Zimbabwe. The movement must have principles and values that will focus on the liberation of Zimbabwe through practical actions.
Strikes in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe: Workers’ resistance in Zimbabwe has been on the rise recently, with street demos, trade union action and new forms of resistance such as the ‘Uhuru Street Soccer Battles’. The ruling elite is attempting to silence opposition with the usual combination of police brutality and state propaganda. Injustice is commonplace, but Zimbabweans are showing great creativity in the struggle for change. Life’s been tough for most Zimbabweans ever since an increasingly unpopular Robert Mugabe began his reign of power. Illegal large-scale slum demolition has left many of the country’s poor homeless. Despite the west imposing economic sanctions, Mugabe’s grip on power remains strong - elections happen but they’re rigged.
Anger amongst his population centres around redistribution of land issues as war veterans were Promised Land after the struggle for independence. Since then western media has focused on the controversy surrounding the redistribution of large estates belonging to whites. We’ve heard a lot about the plight of the white dispossessed (many of whom were granted British citizenship without all the hurdles faced by less fortunate refugees) but very little about the plight of the average Zimbabwean and a growing popular resistance. As many farms have been handed over to cronies of the leadership with little agricultural experience, Zimbabwe now faces a potential famine. Western economic sanctions have led Mugabe into negotiation with the Russians and Chinese over access to Zimbabwe’s mineral resources. The South African governments, who essentially have the power to shut down Zimbabwe, are doing nothing either by employing a stance of ‘quiet diplomacy’.
Still the people refuse to be silenced, but in a brutal dictatorship they have to find new ways to protest against their situation. On the 25th of September, 27 people were left battered after baton-wielding cops crushed a protest by pressure group National Constitutional Assembly in the capital, Harare. This came just weeks after leading members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions were arrested and assaulted in custody. They’d been nicked for protesting and trying to raise awareness by denouncing fuel and food shortages as well drawing attention to the crippling 1,200% inflation and 80% unemployment rates.
Their chants, however were manipulated by the press who reported only that the protesters had been calling the police ‘dogs’. Unfortunately Mugabe’s bite is every bit as bad as his bark and there are many examples of human-rights and freedoms being violated by his ‘dogs’. Lawyers representing arrested trade-union leaders and opposition activists say their clients were assaulted by police while in detention, with several sustaining broken bones and showing signs of having been severely beaten on the feet. Armed police pounced on leading members of the union as they prepared to petition the Finance minister and march on the offices of the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe. “From the look of it they were attacked by the police as soon as they were herded into cells,” says Lawyer Alec Muchadehama of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Whilst the activists were being detained, Muchadehama pleaded with the officers to allow them immediate medical treatment and, after much police stalling the detainees were eventually granted treatment under police escorts. The ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo had both arms broken.
MORE THAN A MATCH: The case is now being taken up in court with police representatives claiming that the broken limbs and bruises are not a result of police brutality but were actually self-inflicted! Police claim that all the detainees simultaneously fell out of a moving police van. Surprisingly this did not impress the magistrate who has ordered a fresh investigation. However it’s doubtful any truth will emerge as the Criminal Investigation Department undertaking the investigation are confining the scope of the inquiry only to finding out who exactly was responsible for leaving the paddy-wagon door open. Meanwhile Mugabe is showing his support for the force used, saying that “Police were right in dealing sternly...because the trade unionists want to become a law unto themselves.” The 82 year old dictator went on state TV to warn others that “when the police say move, move. If you don’t move, you invite the police to use force.”
But some activists have been busy coming up with novel ways to subvert the system and avoid the old man’s whip by deciding to ‘grab them by the balls’. The recent and growing wave of resistance has become more creative than ever, shown by the Uhuru Network which took over the streets in the densely populated Harare suburbs for the second round of their Uhuru Street Soccer Battles. Uhuru, (Swahili for freedom) a network of community youth fighting for social justice, organised the guerilla soccer event in the middle of September with two mock teams - the Vagari (residents) played versus Kaunzuru (the local council). The dusty street became a pitched battle of ideas, the vagri defending stoutly against the cheating antics of the Kanzuru team, and attacking them with flair. They refused to be intimidated by any penalties faced as a result of their play, and went on to be victorious (and who said football’s rigged?). Passers-by began cheering for Vagari, urged on by a subversive commentator relaying the action. Fliers at the games spoke of the increased water rates and other ‘supplementary charges’ and urged the residents, the true vagari, to resist the council. ‘Uhuru Sasa! Freedom Now!’ was the chant that signalled full-time as Uhuru members and others made their way from the Soccer Battles to the Toyi Toyi Slam.
Organised by Uhuru’s Toyi Toyi Arts Kollektive, the Slam is a monthly event that aims to create a freedom space for underground, radical Hip Hop, Poetry and Theatre and the Book café, Harare, was soon filled with underground MCs and poets encouraging the need for change through revolutionary rhymes. Zimbabwe is a country rife with political and social injustice which has been made clear during the events of the past months. Allegations of torture and assault are being thrown at the police and human rights are being ignored. As voices are being silenced and movements crushed, resistance continues and sparks of action and creativity have not been dampened. It is necessary for the movement to confront institutions like SADC to take a stand on Zimbabwe and make the region to be accountable to the people.
The people in Zimbabwe have already started to have direct resistance concept of being disobedient and making sure that they fight repression by taking direct action of resisting. There are solidarity initiatives that have happened in the region for the people in Zimbabwe and new initiatives must be explored. Currently there is a newsletter that is able to give information to other countries on what is not happening in Zimbabwe. Another initiative is the comrade exchange programme where comrades are able to visit Zimbabwe and meet the local conditions of the people. This has being done by few civil society organisations and it has given comrades hands on experience with the situation that the local people are experiencing on daily basis. The practical action that is to be taken by social movements, is an “anti eviction day” that will be symbolic with the anniversary of Operation Murambatsvina but also with the local struggles that different communities are engaged in. The Zimbabwe crisis must also be taken to the World Social Forum and have it to be on the agenda of the forum.
Water Privatisation: the session was largely dominated mainly by a South African delegation and the focus was more on the struggle against water Privatisation in South Africa but facilitated by Malawi Economic Justice Network. It gave other comrades from the region more information on the struggle of the poor people in South Africa and how our governments are being used by the west to further exploit our minerals. There has being much awareness in Malawi about water Privatisation and organisations like Malawi Economic Justice Network, have already started to hold community meetings and workshops to raise awareness about Privatisation of water. Comrades from South Africa shared their experience about the struggles in Soweto and Orange Farm. The conclusions from the session were to form a regional water warrior network that will be able to share information and solidarity actions. This will be possible if these struggles are taken to the people in communities and the network can be able to have an effective campaign. There is a need to state that SASF is opposed to any form of privatisation and especially of a natural resource like water. It was not possible to come up with dates for action but countries can certainly target the water week in April 2007. They can have different actions that they can take but they must include pickets and a march on the first day of the water week. But SASF in its resolutions, it must make sure that water privatisation is on the agenda in Nairobi and a march must be organised in forum against privatisation globally.
Overall SASF in Malawi was a success because it happened and it gave space for social movements to share experience on the different struggles taking place in different countries. Countries were able to plan joined actions but they need to happen practically. The coordinators were able to pull together a creative forum under difficult financial conditions were most of the funders didn’t deliver as promised. But there many mishaps as sessions seemed to be dominated by the South African delegation even in facilitation. The facilitators were sometimes not sure about the way they should run their sessions and most sessions were controlled by the SA delegation. The resolutions that each sessions took were taken to the forum for adoption but there was no time to engage with some of the resolutions. The forum ended with a march in honour of President Banda and the next SASF will be held in Mozambique in 2007; followed by Swaziland in 2008; then South Africa in 2009.
This has brought a challenge into the South African delegation to start to prepare for a South African Social Forum in efforts to be ready for the SASF in 2009. The 40 hour journey was too long and there were no proper clarity in terms of medication assistances. This is a mistake that could have caused fundamental problems for comrades and it needs to be properly addressed next time such trips are taken by the comrades. Some comrades were uncomfortable with the bus not stopping at spots were the female comrades could get facilities to relive themselves and it is one mistake that needs to be taken into consideration in the future. But we have managed to build networks with other organisations in the region and those from home who are taking up similar struggles.
ˇ The APF labour sub-committee marched to the union building on the 29 November 2006 to forward a memorandum to the office of the President. There were more than 12 buses from all the affiliates of the APF and they had particular demands around the issues of unemployment, the payment of pension surplus and retrenchments. The march was directed to the president’s office and not to the labour department. A memorandum was handed over to the representative Mr Peter Ndlovu by comrade P Malapela who read him the memorandum. Many comrades & workers were left behind because of the shortage of buses to the march.
ˇ SMI national meeting 02 to 05 December 06: The APF and organisations affiliated to the Social Movements Indaba (SMI), a network of social movements, meet in Durban on the 02nd to the 05th of December 2007 as to prepare for the WSF in Kenya but also to evaluate the strength of the social movements in the country. One of the key decisions of the national meeting in Durban was a need for ensuring that the SMI becomes a force for political mobilisation in this country. Since the Durban meeting the SMI has continued to ensure that it fulfils this important objective. Our comrades took part in the WSF in Kenya. The APF’s participation in the World Social Forum in Nairobi was part of an attempt at ensuring that its local struggles for human rights is located within the international struggles for human rights and dignity. The meeting then declared the 21st of March 2007 as a day of reclaiming human rights. As part of its mission to build grassroots formations that lead struggles for social and economic rights, the APF is helping in building organisations that defend and advance human rights in Free State and Queenstown and the surrounding rural areas.
The regional centres need to convene meeting where members of the new secretariat would be elected. This has to happen before the end of February but due to our engagements with WSF the deadline was extend to mid-March. The Durban comrades who convened the national meeting have to convene a KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga meeting. The APF Gauteng has to convene a Gauteng, North-West, Free State and Limpopo meeting. The SMI Western Cape has a responsibility of convening a meeting to be attended by organisations from the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape. Please note that each centre must elect one person. The new secretariat will have to meet in April so that it can determine its programme of work and sort out the question of raising funds for the national coordinator of the SMI. The Assembly of Social Movements in Nairobi adopted the 20th of March as a day of international mobilisation against war.
The march on the 21st of March was also an attempt at strengthening these protests and all other local campaigns that are geared towards strong and combative grassroots formations that stand for real democracy and human rights in South Africa and abroad. The nation-wide protest in support of the demands for housing, water, electricity, HIV treatment and employment. As part of a build up for the national protest and the general building of organisations that are struggling for human rights, the APF has been expanding its activities beyond the Gauteng province. Part of the demands for the 21st of March day of action includes a call for an end to wars in Africa as well as freedom for Palestine and Iraq. In addition, the march demands an entrenchment of democracy and a culture of human rights in Zimbabwe. The marchers highlighted that they were calling an end to the persecution of African immigrants in this country as well as the closure of the Lindelani Concentration Camp, which was noted by the Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Commission as a place that violates human rights of African immigrants.
Solidarity Actions (Orientation of the APF towards struggles outside Gauteng)
ˇ Free State Workshop in Bohlokong 09 to 11 February 2007 : Anti-Privatisation Forum Free State Solidarity Building Workshop The broad aims of the workshop were to discuss solidarity building in the Free State and building of a campaign. To explore the impact of neo-liberalism in the Free State communities. To raise consciousness about the conditions specifically working class people are facing under neo- liberalism. The intervention in the Social Movement Indaba and preparations for the Gauteng Regional meeting on the 18 March 2007 and to develop a programme of action for the APF Free State Region. The workshop started late because the facilitators of the workshop were late and found that the comrades have already done introductions of their organisations. They spoke about their different struggles in their communities and they were familiar with some of the organisations present in the workshop.
On the Political Discussion: Comrade Bricks had to highlight the purpose of the workshop and what where the aims to be achieved from the workshop. There were clearly time constrains and there couldn’t be anytime to do workshop expectations from the comrades. So the first discussion was about making sure that everybody understands what the APF is and what are past or current struggles of the organisation. But it was clear from this discussion that some of the comrades were not aware of the anti-globalisation struggle and the workshop needed to strike a balance for all the participants to be able to learn together but also contribute their own understanding of globalisation. On the discussion on Privatisation of basic services, comrades were able to draw lessons from the problems that they experience at local levels and what had fuelled them to take up local struggles. This managed to paint a picture to them about the struggles of the APF but comrades couldn’t understand why our government wasn’t delivering on the promises that they made since 1994 elections. We had a discussion on the political-economy development of South-Africa and how that imbalanced development hasn’t changed over the years. The mining sector was built on cheap labour of the working class and the use of skilled migrant labour that were paid better wages than the local low skilled workers. But importantly was the issue of gold and diamond being traded off to the developed countries at a low value because of the country not having machinery to make a finished product. This highlighted how African countries were robbed of their minerals by the developed countries and this phenomenon has grown into the 21 century.
Comrades managed to grasp how trade is regulated and how economies are controlled by the elite or rich developed nations. Some of the comrades have never had a chance to understand what is the WB, IMF or WTO but they have seen these institutions being mentioned on the news or local ANC Imbizo’s meeting. They have participated in the local government elections as independent candidates but they had no idea about the micro economic policies of the government. The discussion on globalisation managed to empower the comrades to begin understanding how policies of the WB dictates fiscal discipline of our governments and affecting the delivery of basic services. It was unbelievable for the comrades that our government is consulting with international economists & experts in drafting ASGISA and not consulting with the local people but only through the ballot box. So it was clear that the only way to make sure that our voices are heard by the government is making sure that we come up with alternatives to capitalism. But some comrades felt that there are no alternatives to capitalism and especially to the ANC because there are no political parties that the people can vote for in the elections. The only choice was to vote for the ANC and raise all these issues inside the ANC so that they can be reminded of the mandate from the poor people. This seemed to anger other comrades because they understood the issue of protocol within the ANC and this was clearly highlighted by the Deputy President of the ANC-comrade JZ in the COSATU conference when he disclosed to the house that everybody has to implement the policies of the ANC. Comrade highlighted that he said this when he was asked as an individual, how he views the micro-policies of the ANC and how he repeatedly said that he takes the mandated from the ANC. So it was clear for comrades that as an individual you can’t change the ANC and how the few independent candidates that have won seats are failing to change the micro-economic policies of the country. The only change that comrades saw was how quickly the elected councillors are striking it rich by distancing themselves from those who elected. Comrades began to emphasize the point that they can’t continue to vote for the ANC because it is not driven by the people and the only alternative was to build new anti neo-liberal struggles in their communities so that people can understand that the ANC has long being a capital movement. The only alternative was to build a socialist resistance that is driven by the people on the ground for the poor working class people. The building of alternatives was inspired by the viewing of the documentary “Thirst” around water Privatisation and how movements have fought back in local struggles.
On the Social Movement Indaba: The discussion managed to assist the comrades with an understanding of how the APF connects with the struggle globally. So comrades were given a brief historical background of the formation of the SMI and its charter of principles. There was one comrade who participated in the WSSD march in 2002 and he shared his experience with the house by reflecting on what happened on that week in South Africa. Comrades were briefed of the SMI National meeting, Southern Africa Social Forum, African Social Forum and World Social Forum. It gave comrades the links of global struggles and what happens in these forums but also the importance of international pressure in local struggle e.g. Harrismith-Intabezwe struggle.
On the APF Free State Structure & POA: as much as it is important for the comrades to be fighting local struggle but it was clear that for them to defeat privatisation, it was important to link up with international struggles as these TNC & multinational operate on a global scale. So there is a need to unite the entire struggle and fight on an international scale united against capitalism. There is a need to have local struggles but also regional struggles that will be coordinated by Sekwele Centre for Social Reflection. It is clear that all the communities are far apart and it will be financially impossible for the comrades to meet regularly but the structure in the Region needs to meet once a month so that it can be able to implement its POA. The interim coordinating structure will be made up one representative from all the communities and it will facilitate the immediate tasks facing the region. Water Privatisation is the burning issue in the Region and also the question of land & evictions. So the next meeting must draft a POA that will be guided by area where pre-paid meters are being installed but also around the areas that have being struggling against drop & flush sanitation system (VIP). Areas present were Viljoenskroon, Bethlehem, Johannesburg, Harrismith Qwa-Qwa and Bohlokong.
The Immediate Tasks were the WSF report back meeting on the 03 & 04 March 2007, Follow up workshop on the 03 & 04 March 2007 (FXI & CAWP), Regional Programme of Action for 2007 that will look at local affiliates and the SMI Regional meeting on the 18 March 2007
ˇ APF Queenstown march to TEBA limited Bank on the 12 December 2006: The Residents & community of Eastern Cape in Queenstown marched to the TEBA Limited bank in town to voice out their grievances about the Cofimbava Farming Project. Those who worked in the mines before they were retrenched are furious that the TEBA limited is not willing to disclose information about their retirement fund. The retrenched workers are claiming that their retirement funds have being withheld so that they can be used in one of the many community farming projects by TEBA limited in the Eastern Cape. They claim not to be consulted with the decision to use their money in the project and they were given no choice in making a decision on how to spend or invest their money. It is clear that this is something that the people are not happy about and they need to access information on the project itself and who signed on their behalf for given a go ahead to invest money into this project. The demand is clear that TEBA limited must give people information about their money because it is their sweat and blood that is being used for these projects. The problem is the government’s economic policies, which continue to put profits for the bosses above the needs of the working class. The government’s Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy has destroyed jobs, not created jobs. The whole of the GEAR was designed to allow the financial sector in particular and the bosses in general to make bigger profits. The GEAR is all about making it easier for bosses to move money around easily, to export goods and open up the economy to more competition, and to better exploit workers in the workplace. For the working class, the GEAR has translated into large-scale job losses, growing unemployment, greater poverty, hunger, disease and want. Tied to this has a whole range of further social problems like growing crime, alcohol and drug abuse, and violence against women and children. Even those lucky enough to have jobs find themselves staring at poverty. GEAR is lowering their rights and their wages while at the same time leading to more expensive transport, more expensive and often privatized schooling, healthcare, water and so on. The march then proceeded to Queenstown police station to deliver their memorandum on police brutality and the repression of the community when they are fighting for their rights. But it was also going to highlight the suffering of the arrested comrades on the 09th December 2006 and how police shouldn’t protect the interest of the rich but of the poor community. A memorandum was handed over to the Station Commander who agreed with some of the issues raised by the community but also disagreed with other issues raised. He requested that the community should come up with the names of police officers who are using state cars to visit their girlfriends or hang out in sheebens. On the issue of repression, he blamed the volunteers on trying to impress their superiors by mishandling the community members and he has no power of release the arrested comrades as the matter was with the courts. Bail money had to be raised and the meeting decided that the community must contribute to pay for the comrades. The money was not enough and the APF JHB office intervened by paying bail for the 17 comrades. The other nine comrades SANCO decided that the APF must not pay for them because they are members of the APF as an organisation. This divided the struggle of the community and it was clear from that point that most of the community members were in support of the APF. A mass meeting was held in the holding cells with the arrested comrades and they indicated that they also want to join the APF not to be SANCO members. With the high spirits and energy from the police station, comrades took into action to go back into their community and take out water pre-paid meters in Ezibeleni. The mood was that of celebration and making sure that the spirit of defiance was the order of the day. The challenge was that these new built RDP houses were unoccupied and the meters couldn’t be removed but only those houses that were occupied that the meter was removed. It was clear that development in the community of Ezibeleni was sub-standard as it is done without sanitation and water infrastructure is done strictly through pre-paid meters. The residents were briefed on the struggle of CAWP and how the comrades in Jozi destroy the meter to enjoy free water.
ˇ APF festive break from the 15 December 2006 to 15 January 2007
ˇ World Social Forum in Kenya from the 19-25 January 2007: The World Social Forum was held on the African soil in Nairobi, Kenya.
The APF participated in a number of localized and regional meetings that dealt with the processes of the World Social Forum. They were the Khanya College winter school 2006, ILLRIG Globalisation School, SASF in Malawi and the SMI national meeting in Durban. Different comrades were part of these deliberations and made sure that the agenda of the WSF include some of the struggles of the APF affiliates while they kept a global link. So links we made with slum movements from Kenya that are facing the same issues of the poor in South Africa. Comrades agreed that most of the preparations were done in time except for comrades who didn’t have passports as they had to run around until the final moments of the political trip to Nairobi. It was clear on what comrades needed to do in terms of preparing themselves for the trip like taking yellow shots and the role they had to play when they were in Kenya. But the failure to get the full programme on time in Kenya made it difficult for the comrades to meet nightly and discuss further intervention in the following day’s sessions.
Delegation: the APF could manage to pay for two delegates to the WSF and the others went on the ticket of the Foundation For Human Rights in conjunction with an NGO-Khanya College. There were thirteen comrades who represented the APF in the WSF and there was participation in various activities that were organised by different social movements from all over the globe. They were comrade Silumko Radebe (organiser), Bricks Mokolo (Chairperson), Joseph Masetle (Eastrand Regional Coordinator), Thabo Modisane ( Johannesburg Regional Coordinator), Nokuzola Gcoyi (APF-Queenstown), Simon Mthembu (Johannesburg Region), Zukiswa Ntsukwana (APF-Queenstown), Mammy Tladi (Vaal Region Chairperson), Maleshwane Majoe (Eastrand Region), Ntombenhle Phoswa (Johannesburg Vaal Region), Patrick Sindane (Vaal Region), Virgina Magwaza (Johannesburg Region) & Jennifer Mokatsane (Johannesburg Region) but on a CAWP ticket.
All the comrades were attending the WSF for the first time except for comrade Virginia.
Transport and accommodation: the local transport was no problem as comrades managed to reach Khanya College in time and get a shuttle to the airport. But in Kenya there was lots of confusion and uncertainty as comrades were made to wait for than two hours at the Kenyan airport. The Gretsa University was far away from the stadium and comrades had to travel more than 60 km everyday to and from the stadium. This meant that people had to get up early in the morning and return late at night as the bus would delay to pick up from the stadium. So energies were slowly dropping daily and the road conditions were bumpy making the journey more horrible with traffic not easing the situation. There was a situation where the driver got lost to the university and comrades slept late. But the university was a safe place to be accommodated in and it was more homely. It had its moments of being uncomfortable as comrades experienced the problems that are facing the working class (electricity & water cut-offs). The food in general was good depending on different individuals as some were sick from eating certain types of food. Comrades had to buy their own supper but breakfast was given to everybody.
The Forum participation: the programme on housing and evictions in the WSF was as follows:
Right to Housing and Zero Eviction : 21 January 2007
Confronting Privatisation’s Effects on Housing & Land Rights by Habitat International Coalition-Housing & Land Rights Network, People’s Fund for the Right to Land and Housing for the Development of the Public Housing Service for the promotion of the security in housing through cooperation : 22 January 2007
2007/08 housing right world mobilization journeys : 24 January 2007 and
the Marathon through the slums for basic rights: 25 January 2007.
The African Housing Situation: Zimbabwe, the Situation in Zimbabwe is that in 2005 May 18th, the government launched Operation Murambatsvina and it left more than 500 000 people homeless or affected by this operation. This is clearly an elite’s attitude of not caring for the needs of the working class and continue to exploit them. The state in Zimbabwe was built by the migrant workers for the elite and their only reward was to enjoy food rights but no land rights. When Zimbabwe got its independence in the 80’s, the master and slave relationship continued to exist except that this time it was the black elite who were the masters. Evictions & distractions of houses were happening through out the 80’s & 90’s as a tool to silence any opposition to the ZANU-PF rule and this along many other social ills continued to weaken the working class. So social movements all over the world should in solidarity remember the 18th May 2005 and mark it as a day of action against evictions.
Kenya: the land in Kenya is owned by a few elite who have accumulated wealth at expense of the working class and more than 65% of the population lives in the slums (5% of land). When the new government took over in 2000, it wanted to clean Nairobi and make it the City of the sun. But we all know that had devastating resultson the working class and poor people of Kenya. It became difficult for the working class to do subsistence farming and at the same food prices rocketed sky high pushing people into further poverty. The people have taken up the land campaign and are making sure that the poor are fighting back in reclaiming their spaces. Securing Basic Rights for the poor in the slums: The meeting was opened by traditional Kenyan songs and this is symbolic to their unity as the poor that their voices will free them from oppression. It was clear that the slums are the worse conditions that the people are living in and when we compared it to the more than 2 million RDP houses that the ANC government has built, it is clear that there is no privacy, no dignity and there is no land for subsistence farming. The demand from the people is that the government must provide housing and land for the poor as they were disposed of their own land. People have contaminated disease because there is no clean safe water flowing into their taps and there is a lack of basic services for everyone staying in the slums including the people who have livestock. Access to clean water is luxury for the people living in the slums and electricity is accessed through illegal connections. Many of the Kenyan people are living in abject poverty and this is why there is low participation of the Kenyans in the WSF.
Nigeria: The land struggle campaign was launched in Abuja in 2003 when after the national general election, the government decided to build a better city and that is when it intensifies the demolishing of shacks. More than 800 000 people have faced evictions and they have being affected by this cleaning campaign. Then different movements in the country decided to take forward the affordable housing campaign but that didn’t benefit the majority because the main struggle was to put pressure to the halting of evictions. Evictions remain the most important struggle in the country because people are being driven off their land because of their social class standing.
Latin America: Evictions have taken different shapes in Latin America and they have happened because of different reasons. In a country like Argentina, more than 100 000 people are forced to live in sub-standard slums where conditions facing the working class are horrific. The war situation in Colombia has further pushed the working class into abject poverty and left the majority without any proper shelter. When infrastructure is being rebuilt after the war, it is built in a way that it displaces the community. In Peru, the communities have over the number of years tried to resist foreign invasion by the Americans who continue to occupy their land pushing the aboriginal people into a no mans land. Business is given more land than the people of Porto Rico and houses are destroyed so that firms could be built.
America, Europe and Asia : In New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina destroyed nearly the entire city and it left many people homeless. It was a task of the government to relocate the people to safe land and rebuild New Orleans so that the people could move back into homes. But with the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Dafur including many other countries where they have military-bases, the government’s budget has being stretched so the rebuilding of the city has being left to developers. There is lack of housing in the area because developers have being stealing land of the Working Class and there is a closing of space for public housing. People are not welcomed into their homes anymore and a new campaign has being taken up “The Right to Return to the City”-People’s Hurricane Relief Fund. The United State of America Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Group, have being using the military campaign to highlight the plight of the homeless because the budget is being used to support all the military activities. The poor are being forgotten as money is being used for war and it is difficult to mobilise in the country. People are mainly focusing on what is happening in the war and are passive in the struggle against globalisation. Few campaigns have being taken up in the country to highlight the plight of the working class, like the march to the headquarters of Coca-Cola in Atlanta for their role in supporting military action of the US government. In a country like Italy, where the government has started to go ahead with partial Privatisation, many working class people are being forced to sub-standard conditions. So many people have being focusing on the issue of War & evictions and they have decided centrally to make it their campaign. The making of India a beautiful city, has forced many working class communities to be homeless or living on the street. Working class organisations are still poor and not well resourced or organised. This makes it difficult for the WC to fight back the impact of neo-liberalism and many are still struggling to find accommodation.
The Housing International Day of Action: So it is clear that the working class movements in the worlds are confronted with many different threats when it comes to housing and these organisations have continued to mobilise against evictions or forceful removals. The 18th May 2007 was earmarked as an international day against evictions in solidarity with comrades from Zimbabwe. World class cities are built at the expense of the poor who are being driven further from the cities to suffer in silent poverty. But our demands internationally are the same and people have the right to access accommodation. Africa Water Network: Water warriors from around the globe gathered to discuss all the struggles against water Privatisation in the world but given more focus to Africa. The reason was not because of the World Social Forum being Africa but it was because of the scramble for Africa’s resource by the TNC & the MNC. A strong Africa will give strength to the rest of the world in defeating global cooperates and hence the focus on Africa. Many of the meetings spoke about the Right and threats to water around the globe. The role of the governments in collaboration with multi-national companies was also explored and what can really work to step up the fight against the realisation to free water for the poor. There are threats to water reserves and this is creating a desert in the world as the rich have more access to water than the poor. Mining has also destroyed the environment and there is no punishment for the multi-nationals. Different countries gave in their experiences and it is clear in Africa that South Africa is having an imperialist role. The poor were seen as customers and not citizens. So it was clear that Africa is a testing ground for pre-paid meters and the people have united in resisting pre-paid meters. The demand is that water must be owned by the community and not individual multi-nationals. Global action must focus on Africa and international water week was marked for action and the World Water Conference at Istanbul in June. Another World Social Forum was Possible in Kenya: the people united will never be defeated are common slogans used in singing but they were put into action in Nairobi as the people united. In the Social movements meeting on the first night, comrades raised their dissatisfaction with the organising of the WSF. The registration process of using cellphone technology at high fees charge excluded local Kenyans but it benefited Celltel. It was also raised that the issue of bottled water, huge military presence and the selling of Coca-Cola were a defeat of the social movements’ space. Also the long speech of Kenneth Kaunda silenced many local voices that were not part of the organising committee. Comrades agreed that we had to fight to reclaim our space and send a clear message to the organising committee that it must keep to the principles of the WSF. It became apparent when the people took to the streets in solidarity with the locals that the move was changing in over powering the control of our spaces. When Gate three at the Arap Moi International Stadium was blocked by a protest against the exclusion of the poor locals, hundreds gathered to sing in jubilation and many more were mobilised to join but others pursued their own agendas ignoring what was going on. After thirty minutes of blocking the road and singing, finally the police came to listen to the people and they agreed that people will enter in for free. But later it was discovered that some of the comrades were locked up for not having identification cards and were suspected of stealing other comrade’s belongings. The people united in song to protest in the holding offices in the stadium in demand of the release of the comrades who were in the stadium for free. There placards demanding free everything for the Kenyans and comrades from the people’s parliament were outspoken about the Kenyan situation. After few actions, it was the Storming of the Windsor Hotel where comrades took over the food stall that belonged to Minister of internal security John Michunki who was known for torturing Mau-Mau freedom fighters. The poor Kenyan children enjoyed nice lunched for free and the protest to the secretariat office to demand free water was also a highlight of the protests. The Global Day of Action was the 20th March 2007 in protest against imperialist war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But here in South Africa it will be on the 21st March 2007.
What activities have been implemented over the past 6 months?
ˇ The Co-ordinating Committee and Executive Committee: it has managed to meet in three meetings taking place over two days and it has generally being able to have an assessment of the APF programme of action. But more importantly it discussed the APF’s participation in the SMI National meeting, WSF and a discussion on the affiliate audit report. The CC also managed to prepare the organisation for major interventions in solidarity action. Generally there has being a good participation from the affiliates except from those who are weak at the moment. The organiser together with the weaker affiliates was mandated to start rebuilding weak affiliates with the help of the string affiliates in those regions. ˇ Office Bearers Committee: the elected office bearers managed to have thirteen OB meeting with all the challenges of making sure that the elected Office Bearers were present but also the spirit of unity does exist within the committee. This proved to be a challenge hence at times the committee though of changing the meeting day and time to allow a much more inclusive participation but attendance from the comrades. One office bearer (comrade Noxolo Dlamini) has being on maternity leave for six months and it meant that most of her tasks were carried forward by her deputy secretary (comrade Mpho Maduna). ˇ Executive committee: the executive committee has managed to meet six times in the reviewed period (once a month) to mainly discuss the review of the programme of action, APF’s intervention in SMI/SASF/WSF, issues that need to be tabled at the CC, how the APF can deal with affiliation requests, developments in the Regions and subcommittees. There was a fairly poor attendance in some of the meetings as some affiliates didn’t send members to attend the meeting but generally the meeting did achieve its main purposes of implementing some of the most important issues in the APF.
ˇ Regions: the Johannesburg region had a rotational meeting where they visited affiliates in their communities to hold meetings. This made it possible for the comrades to evaluate and asses the state of affiliates in the region. But the key has being that the region has managed to take forward campaigns of the APF and built unity within affiliates even though there are problems in Alexandra. The Vaal region has being strong with mass action and taking up campaigns in the region. Affiliates in the region have managed to assist other affiliates in mass meetings. But it is evident that there is a general decline in the number of affiliates in the region. Some of the affiliates are generally not functioning and it will take the region some time to revive campaigns in those weak affiliates. They are also having rotational meetings in different affiliates. The Eastrand region has only two affiliates and that has weakened the strength of the region. There are a number of communities in the region that have requested affiliation to the APF due to the mobilisation of the comrades in areas outside their own vicinity
Media - The APF Media Committee has been produce a fairly impressive work load in the past six months and it has being functioning well. The December break, WSF delayed the production of the APF newsletter and other media production. But the committee has managed to produce a number of media alerts including pamphlets for different mass action that has taken place. In terms of capacity building within the committee, that hasn’t happened regularly as the committee managed only to hold one writing skills workshop and an internet training workshop. Also there has being few press statements that the APF has send out in the past period and the committee is generally trying to rebuild or regain its momentum. ( ˇ Legal - The legal committee, which was formed to address the deep need for developing a legal strategy for the APF, both at the level of defensive actions (such as bail, arrests, court appearances etc.) and the proactive usages of the law (constitutional challenges, anti eviction matters etc), has managed to assist numerous APF activists/affiliates in securing legal help as a result of police repression and arrest. The committee has being part of the Freedom of Expression Institute Network that seeks to act as a network for social movements in tackling issues of state repression in the country. Different provinces suggested dates for their provincial introductory meetings which were seen as a priority for FXN, a maximum of two representatives per organisation was recommended for these meetings. Gauteng suggested the month of April for such a meeting and May for workshop. The same as above was done with regard to legal empowerment workshops which are to follow these meetings. These will focus around the Regulation of Gatherings Act (RGA) and Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). Even though the FXI (host of the meeting) is engaging the minister of safety and security around the implementation of the gatherings act by police, a consensus was reached that action was vital in the campaign and the 30th August 2007 was identified as an appropriate day for action against repression for this year nation wide. The recommendation was that decentralized pickets should be organised in different provinces around "state buildings". The date is the anniversary of the Greater Harrismith struggle for service delivery which culminated in the shooting of an innocent learner, Tebogo Mkhonza, resulting to his death. The meeting agreed that it was significant to ensure that we reach out to SADC countries. The FXN aims to have two more national meetings, one in July and the other in November. All provinces have a have taken forward the upcoming Constitutional case against pre-paid water meters. ˇ Research - Most affiliates are represented in the subcommittee and meetings have taken place once a month. The committee was finalising the HIV/AIDS research data and it produced a booklet out of the research findings. Many comrades gained the basic skills necessary to read research reports and conceptualise research projects. Prior to the WSF, the committee has being conducting a secondary research into ESKOM where they will be able to produce information that will look at the sub-imperialist role of the company but also the impacts it has in the energy sector of those countries that it is supplying with energy as part of its quest to conquer Africa. ˇ Education - Most affiliates are active in the Education Committee with two reps from affiliates attending the monthly meetings and affiliates bring one high school learner as a representative. The work of the subcommittee during the period was largely focusing on the capacity building workshops of the APF in general as opposed to learners. The committee had to find a stratergy in dealing with learners struggle as their relations with the Education Rights Campaign declined due to that there were no people from the ERP who were suppose to assist the learners or APF affiliates. Comrade David Jerkins did some work with APF affiliates on the no fee policy and assisted comrades on how to build on the campaign but there was poor implementation of it. ˇ Housing - The Housing Committee has not been functioning consistently over the past 6 months. Initially the Committee met regularly, organised a workshop on housing, produced a pamphlet and organised solidarity between affiliates. The Committee has managed to draw-in (what is left) of the LPM into the housing issues and struggles. There was a revival of the initial work that was done by the committee in that it reorganised itself and it meet regularly. It managed to draw on the strength of the strong affiliates in rebuilding the committee but also solidarity with other areas outside the APF like Free State. The committee assisted with the housing march in September 2006 and the hosting of the housing/evictions workshop. It drew a number of affiliates to attend the committee meetings but also take up housing campaigns. ˇ Labour - The APF’s role has being vital in the workers struggle in the country and they have intervened in many general strikes without any conditions. But this has lead to the committee to discuss its stratergy and orientation towards these strikes. The meeting took a resolution to meet over weekends in making sure that workers themselves attend the meeting. A number of pamphlets were produce in solidarity with SACCAWU, SATTAWU and SAMWU workers but also supporting the struggle of the retrenched workers in demanding their surplus pension fund.
Affiliates/Organising ˇ An audit report was completed in the organisation and it was discussed in the CC meeting where affiliates gave an input to the audit. But the key debates were around how the APF should organise itself in regards to the challenges that were raised in the audit. The matter was refered to the structures and the organiser for further close analysis on the developments within the APF.
Which activities were planned but have not been implemented?
ˇ The leadership training workshop that were specifically aimed at the training of the office bearers, staff and affiliate/regional leadership, but this did not happen as it was overtaken mainly because of the weaknesses within the capacity of the education committee in taking on the issue of the workshops. The Workshops on National Tariffs for Basic Services and on the Macro-Economic Framework - these were part of the APF’s overall workshop programme for the period, but they did not happen, mainly due to a lack of proper financial planning as well as the lengthy vacation period but also clarity within the organisation.
Which problems or difficulties did you encounter and what solutions did you find to overcome these difficulties?
More energy was focused on the campaigns of the organisation more than the needs of the struggle in the different affiliates. The central events took center stage in the pursuing of unity within the organisation but this is itself camouflaged the weaknesses within affiliates. More focus was given to the broader APF programme hence some affiliates failed to connect with their own local struggles. Comrades were able to mobilise people for central events but failed to mobilise and take forward their own communal issues. As issues were raised more on a provincial/regional level but locally it failed some affiliates who were campaigns not similar to the broader APF affiliates. So the weaker affiliates were not benefit from the regional solidarity but the stronger affiliates managed to gain strength from their own self activities. The affiliate audit raised the weaknesses of this approach hence it was important for the APF to take forward the discussion of the audit in making sure that there is an internal local focus on the struggle and there is an outward focus on the broader national struggle.