The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

South Africa:
Apartheid Continues

Apr 26, 2010

In South Africa a notorious racist, Eugene Terreblanche, the leader of the extreme right pro-apartheid Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), has been killed.

In 2001, Terreblanche was found guilty of murder, having beaten to death a black worker on his farm with an iron bar. He was known as a terrorist bomber and found guilty of assassinations. Nonetheless, he was walking around a free man. This April he was killed at his farm, supposedly by two of his black farm workers after he refused to pay them their wages.

The murder of this despicable individual became more than macabre news because it shone a light on South African racial relations. The terrible tension between black and white broke out in a fight at the court where the two workers accused of his murder were brought on April 6. It was a fight between white supporters of the AWB and blacks carrying an African National Congress (ANC) flag.

Black President Jacob Zuma called for “unity of the country,” a completely hypocritical appeal, given the condition of the immense majority of the black population in the 16 years since apartheid officially ended in 1994.

The promises of Nelson Mandela’s government for agrarian reform weren’t kept. Good farm lands remain essentially the property of a wealthy white minority. This minority has found the ways to continue to rule over the majority of poor black workers. Even as black politicians tear each other apart in unending clan battles, the population suffers the full brunt of the current economic crisis.

World speculation in food staples has led to a 16% increase in food prices in South Africa in just one year. Mining production has gone down by a third, thanks to the crisis, and manufacturing production is down by 20%. More than 750,000 jobs were lost in one year. Monthly wages of 1,000 Rand ($219) are common.

For investors, however, the Johannesburg stock market has gone up by 30% since April 2009. South Africa has been invited to become a member of the G20 – which permits President Zuma to parade before the cameras next to Obama and other heads of state.

During apartheid, the ANC camouflaged its policy of defense of bourgeois interests with the words “liberty” and “universal suffrage.” In the end, the struggle of the black working class in the 1970s and 1980s only succeeded in changing the color of the political personnel serving the capitalist exploiters. The bourgeoisie these black politicians serve is still largely white. And for the large majority of blacks, there is nothing but social apartheid.