KC JOURNAL NO 2 DECEMBER 2002-Barometer of Resistance: South Africa

KC JOURNAL NO 2 DECEMBER 2002

Date

Country

Event Organisations Involved Company or Government Involved Comments

August 2002

South Africa

Sit-ins and pickets

SA Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU)

Education Department

Sadtu representatives in August mobilised sit-ins and picketed at departmental offices calling on the education department to pay R100 million owing in pay bonuses, leave gratuities, salary adjustments, relocation costs, substitute teaching payments and payments to new appointees. Payments have been outstanding since 1997. The sit-in was suspended in late September after the department agreed to make payments

7th

August 2002

Cool air community hall, South Africa

Storming of a meeting

Farmworkers

Farmers

Farm workers’ stormed into a Human Rights Commission meeting to demand that they address their grievances with their employers.

19th August 2002

Johannesburg, South Africa

93 people arrested and taken to jail

Soldiers’ Forum

The ANC

Members were arrested and thrown in jail, where they still remain, for no other reason than the fact that they wanted to travel to Cape Town for a protest at Parliament where they intended to call attention to their unfair dismissals and the failure of the government to provide pension payments. The trip had been sponsored by Shosholoza Main Line and its management had allocated a separate coach for the Soldier’s Forum. Despite this police prevented the train from leaving and arrested all the SF members on trumped-up charges of not paying fares.

24th

August 2002

Johannesburg

South Africa

International pre-WSSD night march attacked by police

Social Movements Indaba (SMI) and International Forum on Globalisation (IFG)

The ANC

Police attacked the Freedom of Expression march in Johannesburg with stun grenades, despite elderly international activists (including Vandana Shiva, Maude Barlow, Naomi Klein, Tony Clarke and John Saul, were caught up in the police attack) marching in the front with candles. One fi lmmaker was arrested and freed later. About 1000 protestors were on their way to John Vorster Square prison in order to free the Soldiers Forum and to rename the prison “Thabo Mbeki Square”. A Canadian activist had to be rushed to hospital, suffering from serious burns. Anti-Privatisation member, Dudu Mphenyeke was also taken to hospital with a dislocated knee.

31st

August 2002

Johannesburg,

South Africa

Mass march on the W$$D in Sandton

25 000 members of the Social Movements Indaba, Landless Peoples Movement and La Via Campesino

The ANC

Protestors marched on ultra wealthy Sandton, Johannesburg from poverty-stricken Alexandra township to reject the neo-liberal policies of the W$$D and the South African government. The march represented the largest and most popular rejection of the corporate and anti-poor policies of the South African government since 1994

2nd

September 2002

Johannesburg,

South Africa

Anti-Shimon Peres protest at University of Witwatersrand Education Campus

Palestine Solidarity Committee of Gauteng

Israel, South African Police, ANC

Wits University Education Campus security was taken over by SA Jewish Board of Deputies security for the evening. Shimon Peres was scheduled to speak on Campus. All PSC members and black students were chased off campus or denied entry. Salim Vally, a staff member, was denied entry then arrested. A four hour long battle ensued with more protestors arriving and police using batons and fi ring water cannons at protestors several times. A journalist from Al-Jazeera was beaten. Marchers then marched on Hillbrow police station to demand the release of Vally. A bloody shootout ensued with several more protestors arrested or hospitalized, including Indymedia Co-ordinator Ahmed Veriava who underwent reconstructive surgery. A case is being taken up against the state.

3rd

September 2002

3rd

September 2002

Anti-Privatisation activists expose corporate takeover of W$$D at Waterdome

Survivors of the Lesotho Dams, South African Municipal Workers Union, Rural Development Services Network.

Water multinationals at the W$$D

A meeting of water privateers from around the world was disrupted by activists demanding free, public water. The action at the luxurious Waterdome, a venue that is dominated by corporate exhibits touting the commodifi cation of water, was condemned by South African Water Affairs Minister, Ronnie Kasrils, who screamed at the protestors that they were a disgrace.

7th

September 2002

Mandela Park,

Cape Town, South Africa

Privatised water workers on strike at Suez Lyonnaise subsidiary

SAMWU, Indymedia, Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign

Suez-Lyonnaise and Khayelitsha police

22 workers from the plant were jailed for being on strike. Police refused to disclose what the workers were charged with, some only saying that they would be charged with an “illegal strike” which is a nonexistent crime. An Italian fi lmmaker who was fi lming their strike on Saturday was also arrested. Earlier, four members of Indymedia Cape Town, Italy and New York who were called to the plant by workers, had to break down the plant gates in their cars and make a high speed escape from police.

10th

September 2002

Western Cape,

South Africa

SACTWU suspends secondary strike

SACTWU

Team Puma management

30 000 Sactwu members in the Western Cape were due to embark on solidarity strike action. This was called off after Team Puma management tabled a fresh settlement proposal, which the union is considering. The week before, company security guards had violently attacked and shot at peacefully demonstrating picketers. Last year the company only paid a 1.87% wage increase. This year the workers are demanding an 8.25% wage increase, even though infl ation for low income earners is 12%. Workers even offered to work a shift pattern that would give the company 168 hours per week, provided the company pay the normal industry premium for weekend shift-work. The company refused to even do this. For four consecutive years Puma workers accepted below inflation increases while Puma bosses continue to live in luxury.

10th

September 2002

Mandela Park,

Cape Town, South Africa

Privatised water workers on strike at Suez Lyonnaise subsidiary

Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign and SAMWU

Suez-Lyonnaise and Khayelitsha police

The people were protesting for the release of unlawfully arrested privatized water workers. All arrested people vowed to lay charges of unlawful arrest and assault against the police as soon as they were released. Only one, Max Ntanyana, the shopsteward and campaign leader was held on extra charges of intimidation for another 17 days.

11th

September 2002

Johannesburg,

South Africa

69 out of 93 Soldiers Forum members released from custody

Soldiers Forum (an Anti Privatisation Forum affiliate)

ANC

Soldiers released after having spent over three weeks in prison waiting for bail, where they were subjected to repeated physical attacks by police authorities, including being sprayed with teargas and shot at with rubber bullets. One comrade still remains in the Rand Clinic with serious injuries.

12th

September 2002

Sebokeng,

South Africa

Eviction

6000 Kwa-Masiza hostel dwellers

Vicva Investment Trading Twenty Company Pty. Ltd. which, according to residents, is partially owned by three local ANC councillors

Vicva ordered the eviction of residents, whose belongings were dumped into the streets without any shelter or protection on one of the coldest days of the year. Police cordoned off the entire hostel area with barbed wire and continually threatened residents. Assisted by the hated Red Ants, the police attempted to chase away SECC activists and harass and intimidate residents by declaring that they were engaged in an “illegal gathering”.

14th

September 2002

Sebokeng,

South Africa

Private security opens fire with live ammunition

Kwa-Masiza hostel residents

Red Ants (notorious, private security)

Wozani Security (the notorious ‘Red Ants’) opened fi re with live ammunition on a mass meeting of residents outside their hostel. Residents were discussing how to move forward in their fi ght against their eviction from the hostel. Police had still not arrived over an hour later. Three adult males and one adolescent male were shot and were immediately rushed to Sebokeng hospital.

13th

September 2002

Sebokeng,

South Africa

Reinstatement into homes after forcible eviction

6000 Kwa-Masiza hostel dwellers

Police and Red Ants

Over 6000 residents of Kwa-Masiza Hostel in Sebokeng, including hundreds of families with children, re-occupied their homes in a show of people’s power.

September

23rd, 2002

Cape Town,

South Africa

Refusal of bail

Max Ntanyana, Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign

ANC, Police and Cape Town Unicity

Max Ntanyana denied bail, and remanded in Pollsmoor because the prosecutor voiced concerns about the “safety of the court”. Earlier, local police chief Tonkin had vowed to “pick off Anti-Eviction Campaign leaders one by one.”

September

24th 2002

South Africa

National marches

COSATU

Public Broadcaster (SABC)

SAAPAWU supported the proposed COSATU marches to SABC on the 24th = September 2002

September

24th 2002

Cape Town,

South Africa

Clash between community and police over evictions

Lavender Hill Anti- Eviction Campaign

Police and Cape Town Unicity

A two day clash between 500 Lavender Hill residents and police started with street fi ghting against the eviction of seven families for unpaid rent for council houses. Water cut-offs were also threatened. Residents barricaded the main road with burning tyres and later marched to the home of councillor Ismail Jones who had refused to release the names of families facing eviction.

September

25th, 2002

Cape Town,

South Africa

Solidarity strike starts

SA Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU)

Team Puma employers

The strike at Team Puma, which had been on for 11weeks at this point, was joined by eight new textile and clothing factories covering approximately 4700 Sactwu members, making a total of 8200 Sactwu members in the Western Cape on strike. Management of the Seardel and Frame Groups of companies applied for an urgent interdict but the Labour Court declared the strike legal.

September

27th 2002

Cape Town,

South Africa

Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign leader fi nally released from prison

Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign

ANC, Police, Cape Town Unicity

The mood was jubilant at Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court as Max Ntanyana of the Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign was released on bail, and in another case, charges against 6 people from Mandela Park were dropped. Max was released with very heavy bail conditions: to report to the police 3 times a week, to stay in the area of the Khayelitsha court, not to associate with evicted persons and not to attend meetings of the Anti-Eviction Campaign. The Freedom of Expression Institute vowed to fi ght these unlawful bail conditions.

October 1st,

2002

Yeoville, South Africa

Lock-out of hawkers from Yeoville market and clash with police

Gauteng Hawkers Association

Police, Red Ants and Johannesburg Council

200 Yeoville hawkers’ were illegally locked out of their market, for not paying rent for the past two months. The market’s roofs are leaking and rent is too high. The council threatened to lease the market to new traders.

October 1st

and 2nd

South Africa

Antiprivatisation strike

COSATU

ANC

180 000 people – members of the federation and a number of non-Cosatu affi liated organisations – participated in marches countrywide, and that about 60% of workers in the formal sector joined the strike against privatisation. Cosatu said that privatization has cost 100 000 jobs since 1996. The APF said that the target of the strike, the ANC government, has shown, time and again, that it is completely committed to privatisation in all its various forms, and questioned the logic of the COSATU-ANC Alliance.

October 4th,

2002

Cape Town,

South Africa

City police assault Gatesville hawkers’ leader

Gatesville Hawkers Association

Police

Shariefa Cloete, Chairperson of the Gatesville Hawkers Association was assaulted by police. An Anti-Eviction Campaign activist who intervened was also threatened with arrest. Gatesville hawkers embarked on a rent boycott several months ago, refusing to pay fees of over R100 a month for the mere fact of trading on the pavement, with no services or shelter being provided by the city.

October 4th,

2002

Tafelsig, South

Africa

Families mobilise against water cut-offs

Tafelsig Anti- Eviction Campaign

Cape Town Unicity

The community mobilized after they heard that 2000 homes would be disconnected from water. The Unicity later decided to disconnect at least five families in arrears every day, including families living in houses where the previous occupant built up arrears. Only some disconnections took place and these families were quickly reconnected.

October 8th,

2002

Boksburg,

South Africa

Two miners killed, fourteen injured when security guards opened fi re on a strike

National Union of Mineworkers

East Rand Proprietary Mines (ERPM) and private security

Workers on strike demanding their wages were shot at. Over 1 500 Mozambicans work at the mine. Guards had told about 4,000 miners to pack their bags and leave the mine premises immediately after their contracts were cancelled – but they refused to do so, because they had not yet received their wages. The new management of ERPM had decided to cancel the miners’ contracts because they had joined the two day COSATU strike against privatization.

October

11rd, 2002

Johannesburg, South Africa

Autonomist released after threatened extradition

Professor Jaime Yovanovic Prieto, a Chilean autonomist

South African and Chilean governments

Professor J who attended the national anti-privatisation workshop in Johannesburg last year and spoke about peoples’ power, was given conditional release but still faced an extradition hearing on 15th November. Professor J faced charges related to the assassination of General Urzua, right-hand man of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, in 1983. While Professor J was a member of MIR at that time, he denies being involved in the killing of Urzua. South African activists rallied around Professor J as part of “The International Committee for Solidarity with Professor J”.

October

15th, 2002

KwaZulu-Natal,

South Africa

Government tries to ban song that criticises councillors

Phuz’ekhemisi

Premier of KZN, Lionel Mtshali

Premier asked the SABC and Independent Electoral Commission to ban the song “Amakhansela” which calls for people not to vote for politicians in rural areas in the next municipal elections because of the non-delivery of services. The singer made headlines previously with songs questioning politicians who forced people to attend meetings and for politicians to stop forcing rural communities to pay tax for keeping dogs. Phuz’ekhemisi invited the premier to visit his hometown in Vulamehlo where people do not have clean water, electricity, roads or clinics.

October

16th, 2002

Mitchells Plain,

South Africa

Hundredsof Khayelitsha

residents protested against

interdicts brought against their leaders by the banks

Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign

ANC, Banks

Five community members faced charges of intimidation related to an interdict brought against them by the fi ve major banks and a half-government owned housing company. The fi ve were randomly interdicted a few months ago for leading occupations of the provincial government, banks, home loans offices and taking unicity officials hostage.

October

18th, 2002

Mpumalanga, near Durban, South Africa

Residents burn ANC councillor’s home and car

Residents of Mpumlanga township

ANC

The house of ANC councillor for Unit 2 Mpumalanga township, Bongani Khumalo, and his brand new, bright yellow BMW M3 were burnt by community members who have long been tired of Khumalo’s lavish lifestyle and lack of responsiveness to community issues. The action was celebrated in Mpumalanga.

October

21st, 2002

Soweto, South

Africa

Antiprivatisation activists in

court

Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee (Kensington 87).

ANC

The Kensington 87, who were arrested on April 6th for disconnecting the water of the Mayor of Johannesburg, appeared in court for the fourth time. The case was postponed until 22nd January 2002.

October

23rd, 2002

South Africa

Strike

FAWU

Amalgamate Beverages

Industries (ABI) – Coca-Cola

450 FAWU members had been on strike at Midrand for two weeks. 2000 KZN and Free State workers embarked on solidarity strikes. Workers said bosses failed to fulfi l a R1-million performance-award agreement.

October

25th, 2002

Westville,

South Africa

Students and staff banned from speaking at graduation

COMSA, ASA, SRC,

Students

University of Durban Westville management

Unions and students were banned from speaking by the Rector who said they use graduation as a political platform especially to attack her.

October 26th

2002

Free State and

Northern Cape,

South Africa

COSATU pickets against rising

food prices and interest rates

COSATU

Food retailers and the provincial governments

In Bloemfontein and Kimberley, workers picketed at Shoprite and Pick ‘n Pay in the morning, moving to protests outside the provincial governments in the afternoon.

October 26th

2002

Grahamstown,

South Africa

Protest march

200

schoolchildren

Capitalism

High Street was brought to a standstill by children protesting against abuse, neglect, cruelty and exploitation and calling for friendly and accessible services.

October

26th, 2002

Khayelitsha,

South Africa

Mass rally

Anti-Eviction

Campaign

ANC

A rally involving anti-evictions, the Gauteng APF and a water activist from Palestine was held in direct competition with an ANC rally in the same area. The ANC rally was empty – organisers blamed a soccer match. Yet about 2000 residents attended the AEC rally, burning coffins bearing the name of the local police chief and the ANC Provincial Minister of Housing.

October

27th, 2002

South Africa

Study on link between retrenchment and suicide in mineworkers launched

University of

Transkei

Mineworkers

Since 1990 more than 200 000 mineworkers have been retrenched. The study examined the suicides of three former mineworkers and two children who died at their own hand. It found that workers were not compensated and in one case, a dish of porridge was found next to a deceased worker’s child, which was described by the investigating officer as “not worth eating”.

November

1st, 2002

East London,

South Africa

Children’s rights

protest

SA National Council on

Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (Sanca)

Capitalism

About 500 schoolchildren from Duncan Village primary schools marched to the Gompo Town Hall in support of children’s rights and ending child abuse.

 November

1st, 2002

Fort Beaufort,

South Africa

5 day occupation by teachers

SADTU

Provincial Education Department

40 educators staged a 5 day occupation against the Department’s failure to pay about 200 teachers from different Abet education centres in September and October. More than R920000 is owing.

November

4th, 2002

Umtata,

South Africa

Strike

UNITRA Community radio

presenters

UNITRA Board

42 striking presenters interdicted by high court after occupying radio station for three days demanding the immediate removal of the board and its management for unfair labour practices.

November

6th, 2002

South Africa

Protest against forced removals

300 Thembelihle residents

Gauteng Premier

Residents called for an immediate moratorium on all removals in Gauteng. Premier Shilowa’s spokesperson said forced removals would continue. Residents demanded an urgent land summit for urban landless people.

15th August

2002

Malawi

Strike

Court workers in all courts, including guards Minister of Finance The court workers were on strike demanding that the minister of finance pay them a salary increase of over 300% which Parliament approved two years before. Strikers were angry that MPs had recently voted themselves increases in expenses. Workers said that President Bakili Muluzi and his ministers continue spending millions of kwacha (the Malawian currency) addressing political meetings almost daily.
6th

Sepember 2002

Malawi

Largest textile factory, DWS, closed down

2000 workers to be retrenched

IMF and World Bank

DWS was to be closed even though Malawi textile exports had surged. The IMF however told the government to stop subsidizing the factory and privatize it. Since there was no buyer, it was being closed down. The company’s financial  difficulties started in the early 90’s when the government ended its monopoly status – in-line with International Monetary Fund and World Bank policies – and liberalised the textile market. In a letter of intent to secure poverty reduction funding, Malawi promised to liquidate DWS.
16th

September

Mauritius

Street demonstration of factory workers after closure and re-opening; two mile march to centre of capital, Port Louis

Private Enterprises Employees Union and Federation of Progressive Unions

Ely Company

Agreement signed between Union and Ely, gaining some of the severance allowance due.

18th

September

Mauritius

Primary school teachers strike- threat, and two week “go-slow” by thousands ends in agreement whereby Govt will pay substantial interim extra allowance on wages

Common front of all four unions in primary school sector (GTU, GHTU, GUTU, UPST)

Government

The Government was bringing in a plan to “reform” the education system, and had not included references to teachers’ work conditions. Movement considered a victory.

18th

September

Mauritius

200 secondary school teachers hold sit-in

Union of Private Secondary

Education Employees (UPSEE)

Private Secondary Schools Authority

Secondary school teachers were offered increments for diploma courses followed. PSSA did not respect this agreement, saying “too many teachers” had got the diplomas.

September

26th 2002

Kenya Teachers on strike at public schools

Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT)

Kenyan Government

A one-month strike began, paralysing learning in virtually all public schools in the country. During the strike, President ArapMoi tried to have teachers evicted from their houses. Moi said the only option was to retrench some teachers as recommended by the World Bank and IMF. Some branch officials went into hiding after police visited their offices. In Teso, teachers chased the local District Education Offi e out of town. When the strike ended on October 26th, 2002 there was dissent in the union, with workers accusing union leaders of making unilateral decisions and playing into the hands of the establishment.

October 2nd,

2002

Angola

Strike

Law and Engineering Faculties of Angola’s only Public University (UAN)

UAN management A 15-day strike began over a wage demand of USD 2,500 for titular lecturers and USD 860 for assistant lecturers.

October 3rd,

2002

Mombasa, Kenya

Riot

Striking teachers

Police

Riot police battled striking public school teachers as they held street demonstrations to demand salary increments withheld by the government for five years. Union officials confi rmed that at least 10 of their members were in police custody after the authorities outlawed their protest

October 4th,

2002

Mauritius

Formal declaration of trade dispute and threat of strike action

Government General Services Union (GGSU)

Government

Demand of R2,500 interim wage increase, before the public service wage mechanism board comes out.

October

16th, 2002

Mauritius

One-day strike of customs officers. This followed the success of the teachers’ go-slow. Minister of Finance threatened sackings

Customs and Excise Officers’ Union

Government

The Government planned to bring in a foreign head of Customs, even before the Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal had announced its decision on the dispute over this issue. Resolution: Government backed down, but made the CSAT meet within 48 hours and OK the nomination. A Mauritian to be named under him in a new post.

October

17th, 2002

Mauritius

Gathering and march of 300 construction workers on bosses’ offices.

Construction and Allied Workers’ Union

Development Works Corporation

After the 1992 strike of all 800 workers in this sector, the bosses sacked them all for illegal strike. In court, some five years later they were found to have been on strike “legally”, something very rare in Mauritius because of the repressive Industrial Relations Act. DWC then had to pay severence allowance at punitive rates. However, they did not pay correctly. About 6 weeks before the gathering, another judgment in a test-case stated that the DWC still owed money.

October 19th

2002

Zimbabwe

600 Striking teachers fi red

Teachers

Government

More than 600 teachers were fired after a two-week impasse with the government over pay increments. The teachers went on strike after the government rejected their demands of an immediate 100% pay rise saying salary adjustments would be reviewed only next year.

October

24th, 2002

Luanshya,

Zambia

Wage strike and riots by municipal workers

Members of the Zambia United Local Authorities Workers’ Union (ZULAWU)

Government and police

Police fi red teargas at the wives of municipal workers, most of whom had babies strapped to their backs, during a riot where workers demanded salaries which have been unpaid for the past eight months. The workers complained of serious hunger and general suffering and shouted down their Zambia United Local Authorities Workers’ Union (ZULAWU) representative who tried to calm them down by assurances that local government minister Michael Mabenga would issue a comprehensive statement about their plight. The council workers’ strike came barely a month after the mine workers at the non-operational Luanshya mines also clashed with police and stoned their DistrictAdministrator to press for their dues. President Levy Mwanawasa told residents to stop the practice of riots as it was bad for investment.

October

24th, 2002

Mauritius

2,000 nurses demonstrate and march through city centre. Strike threat.

Nurses Association (NA) and Nurses Union (NU)

Government

The Government was bringing in a plan to “reform” health services and has not included references to nurses’ work conditions. Victory of the teachers’ movement inspired this one. Also many nurses quitting to work in UK.

October

25th, 2002

Nairobi, Kenya

200 artistes protest

Acrobats, dancers, actors and musicians

Kenya National Theatre Manager

More than 200 artistes stormed the office of the Kenya National Theatre manager over alleged disparaging remarks that prostitution and drug peddling were rife at the theatre. The stand-off lasted for two hours and police were called to rescue the manager. Management issued an apology.

October 27th

2002

Harare, Zimbabwe

Secondary school pupils protested against Zimbabwe government’s decision to dismiss their striking teachers

Students

Government

Riot police put down a student protest. Students denounced both the government and the teachers and accused them of hijacking their future. They had gone for almost a month without classes. They said their parents’ money was going to waste as they were without teachers despite the government’s claims that it had replaced all dismissed teachers.

October 28th

2002

Accra, Ghana

Imprisonment for being hungry

22 year old welder’s apprentice,

Kwadwo Kumi

All Needs Supermarket, Takoradi, Ghana

Kumi was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in hard labour for stealing two packets of Maggi cubes valued at 36,000 cedis.

November

1st, 2002

Blantyre, Malawi

Riot

Demonstrators protesting against a third term for President Muluzi

Armed paramilitary police

Peaceful protestors were teargassed and shot at

November

4th, 2002

Zimbabwe

Student leaders abducted by the police

Zimbabwe National Students Union

CIO and armed soldiers

Tinashe Chimedza, Secretary of ZNSU and Danford Damba University of Zimbabwe SRC president and other yet to be identifi ed student leaders were abducted. Running battles broke out at the University of Zimbabwe with police.


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