Thursday, February 11, 2010

Black Diamonds of South Africa

Once again , Socialist Banner demonstrates for fundamental change to our lives it has to be the system that we change and not just only swapping our the rulers around .

We read the poor represented 72 percent of the population of South Africa in the last year of apartheid in 1993. It now stands at 70 percent.

According to the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, seven out of 10 South Africans are poor, if the upper poverty line of R949 per person per month is used.Using the lower poverty line of R515 a month, there were about 22 million poor people in South Africa in 1993 and this rose to 26 million in 2008.

The report, titled Recession and Recovery produced by the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation said social assistance grants over the past 15 years "has done little to reduce inequality". Last year South Africa overtook Brazil as the country with the biggest gap between rich and poor.

Agnes Ntnluli said: "Now we are free but we are not happy ... we have no jobs, we are hungry"

“Before [in the apartheid days] the pass laws were a problem. Then they would have bulldozed us they just leave us here with nothing, just stinking toilets,” said Beauty Busisiwe Kubheka.

The new black middle class hang out in trendy coffee bars and restaurants. These “black diamonds” are the most visible sign of capitalism's progress.
“They are the new generation. They look down on us. We were just foot soldiers in the liberation struggle and have not really benefited... ” Benjamin Mabala said.

Azar Jammine, the Econometrix chief economist, notes that South Africa remained one of the most unequal societies in the world. Citing Bureau for Market Research figures,75 percent of South Africa's population earned less than R4,000 a month while 4 percent earned more than R60,000.
He believed that growing inequality - fuelled by the upper income earners regularly increasing their incomes by up to 50 percent a year - appeared to "have exacerbated the crime rate" as the destitute turned to crime to survive.

“I remember when Mandela came to Soweto after leaving prison to give a speech. The place was crazy. Everybody believed a new world was coming. Now, we are very much disappointed. They don’t meet our needs. When it rains the shack leaks. It is worse than before, though now they say we have freedom of expression” Mrs Kubheka said.

Just having the vote and an end of racist laws do not make people free.

A former Robben Island prisoner, Mzi Khumalo, took over a major company, JCI , and he was asked whether he would be sympathetic to the unions. "I have spoken to the unions at JCI and made it clear: we are here to run a business. I'm not for any of this brotherhood stuff." Guardian, 22 April 1999.

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