On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng. Liv Shange, deputy general secretary of WASP chaired proceedings.
Weizmann Hamilton, WASP’s general secretary, spoke on WASP’s history and the desperate need for the working class and poor to have their own party that fought for their interests. Hamilton explained the reason for making the title of the manifesto “Only Socialism Means Freedom”. The 1987 Cosatu congress that adopted the Freedom Charter as the political manifesto of the trade union movement was held under the slogan “Socialism means Freedom”. In the twenty years of democracy under ANC rule, this slogan needs updating as it is clear that on the basis of the continuation of capitalism – whether managed by a white minority government or a black majority government – means poverty, unemployment and inequality. It is clear to millions now that only socialism means freedom!
Liver Mngomezulu assistant general secretary National Transport Movement spoke and gave his solidarity from his 50,000 strong trade union, an affiliate and firm supporter of WASP.
Moses Mayekiso, WASP president introduced the key points of the manifesto to the audience. Moses said: “We are saying that unless the economy is turned around through the nationalisation of the mines and other key sectors there will never be security is South Africa. Why should there be poverty when our land is rich? But to have real emancipation you need to have structures to give power to the working class. “
ECONOMY – nationalise the banks, the mines, the commercial farms, the big factories and big businesses under democratic control of working class and communities as part of a socialist planned economy.
THE LAND – nationalise the 36 000 commercial farms under democratic workers and community control; state help to small and subsistence farmers; community committees to determine the use of non-agricultural land.
WAGES & INCOME – for a minimum wage of R12 500 and the institution of a basic income grant of R8 000 for all those living in South Africa.
SERVICE DELIVERY – a massive public works programme to build 2.5 million homes with adequate electricity, sanitation, water and road connections; for free healthcare provided by one universal national health service; for free high quality and accessible education.
RIGHTS – for working class unity against sexism, racism, xenophobia and repression
CORRUPTION AND DEMOCRACY – for a workers’ state and a socialist government; all public representatives to be elected, recallable and receive only the average wage of a skilled worker.
FOREIGN POLICY – for international working class solidarity; no support to capitalist governments of any sort.
Other speakers – all candidates for WASP in the elections – reflected WASP’s wide appeal and roots in the working class and poor communities.
Moses Mayekiso, WASP President
Baznarar Moloi, Katlehong community leader welcomed people to the venue. Lebogang Mtsweni, Numsa branch secretary in Tsetsi and a shop steward, explained how her union, the biggest in South Africa had decided not to campaign for the ANC in 2014 because the ANC was no longer a party of the working class. She pointed out however that an alternative was needed and that was why she was standing as a candidate for WASP.
Sithembile Nqulo, an AMCU member and gold mineworker from Carletonville and Nkosinati Mpopo, an AMCU shop steward in Rustenburg both both spoke of how the Marikana massacre was a brutal wake-up call to the mineworkers. The ANC was prepared to collaborate with the minebosses and drown their struggle in blood. It was out of that struggle that WASP was born and hundreds of thousands of mineworkers are looking for an alternative to the ANC.
WASP announced plans to launch a petition demanding the resignation of President Zuma in the wake of the Nkandla corruption scandal, the launching of a service delivery campaign to give leadership to the dozens of daily service delivery protests in poor communities and create national coordination and a campaign to unite the unemployed youth with the students.