South Africa: WASP registers for the 2014 elections

Moses Mayekiso, inaugural general secretary of NUMSA heads electoral list

The Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) has registered for the elections to the national assembly and for the provincial legislatures of North West, Limpopo and Gauteng. The national candidate list was made public at a press conference in Johannesburg today, March 13, 2014

The presidential candidate and number one on WASP’s national list for the 2014 elections is Moses Mayekiso. Moses was a leading trade union activist in the 1970s and 1980s for the Metal & Allied Workers Union (Mawu) of which he became general secretary. Mawu, along with other unions founded Cosatu in 1985 and Mawu was a key founding union of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa). Moses became the first general secretary of the newly created Numsa, elected from jail for his labour movement activism and anti-apartheid activities. Moses was the hero of an international campaign demanding his release and demonstrations to “free Comrade Moss” were held in cities around the world.

Moses Mayekiso, number one on WASP’s national list

Moses was general secretary of Numsa when the union in 1993 adopted a resolution calling for the formation of a workers’ party. In joining WASP and taking his place in the leadership, Moses is retying the knot of history.

Moses was the first president of the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO – the ‘fourth’ member of the Tripartite Alliance) and has spent recent years working to re-found that movement on genuine socialist principles as the Congress of South African Non-racial Community Movements (COSANCOM) prompted by the abject failure of SANCO to lead the rising tide of service delivery protests.

Moses was an ANC MP 1994-96 but resigned to focus on the crucial grass-roots work of building SANCO in the aftermath of the fall of apartheid and the urgent task of re-building communities.

Mametlwe Sebei, WASP spokesperson

WASP’s list represents and reflects the working class and poor of South Africa

All the candidates on WASP’s lists for the 2014 elections are workers, trade unionists and community and youth activists. The best people to represent the voice of the working class is working class people themselves. WASP rejects the ‘professionalization’ of politics that takes the view that ordinary people do not have the competence or abilities to assume elected office.

Leading candidates (speaking at today’s press conference) include:

Mametlwe Sebei – key figure in the post-Marikana strike wave August-September 2012

Weizmann Hamilton – general secretary of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM – CWI in South Africa), one of the founding organisations of WASP, and long-term anti-apartheid and trade union activist

Liver Mngomezulu – deputy general secretary of the National Transport Movement union (NTM)

Matron Mhlanga – Joburg street trader and executive member of African Traders Organisation (ATO)

Sithembile Nqulo – mineworker, Carletonville

Lebogang Mtsweni – Numsa activist (personal capacity)

Jabulani Madlala – Numsa activist at Toyota factory, Durban (personal capacity)

Paul Gaaje – emergency services worker, Fochville

Nkosinathi Mpopo – mineworker, Rustenburg

Workers’ representatives on worker’s wages

The basic salary of MPs in South Africa is R72 000 per month meaning MPs are removed from the day-to-day worries of working class and poor people. They are among the best paid in the entire country and part of a small elite. WASP entirely rejects this privileged position for so-called ‘representatives’ of the people.

All WASP MPs and MPLs will take no more than the average wage of a skilled worker. The additional salary will be ploughed back into the building of WASP and supporting struggles of workers, communities and youth. The salary and all expenses of WASP MPs and MPLs will be available for scrutiny by all South African citizens. WASP will make real use of the ability to remove sitting MPs and MPLs from their position if they become corrupt or do not fully stand by the manifesto of the party. This right of recall will not be vested only in the leadership of WASP, but in the membership of WASP and all WASP affiliates.

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March 2014