Wednesday, October 28, 2015

EFF Marches on Reserve Bank, Chamber of Mines And Johannesburg Stock Exchange

COMMENT - This is a momentous day. The EFF in South Africa organized a huge march of an estimated 50,000 people, painting seas of Chavez red berets and clothes, at South Africa's most powerful financial institutions, the Reserve Bank, the Chamber of the Mines, and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange or JSE. They met with the CEO of the JSE, and made the following demands:

To the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, we demand the following:

1. All companies in the JSE should move towards socialization of their ownership, meaning that they should give real and meaningful shares to their employees, who will in turn receive dividends at the end of each financial year. A minimum of 51% of all JSE companies should be owned and controlled by workers. This is different from the BEE schemes which empower fewer individuals.

2. All companies represented in the JSE must introduce a minimum wage of R4500 for all their workers, and taking into consideration the sectoral minimum wages contained in the EFF Elections Manifesto, which are: Mineworkers: R12 500 per month, Farm workers: R5000 per month, Manufacturing workers: R6500, Retail Workers (Cashiers and Retail Store Assistants): R5000, Builders: R7000, Petrol Attendants: R5000, Cleaners: R4500, Domestic Workers: R4500, Private Security Guards: R7500, Full time Waiters and Waitresses: R4500

3. All companies in the JSE should ban labour brokers, and permanently employ their workers with proper medical aid and retirement benefits.

4. All JSE companies and all companies in South Africa should implement the principle of equal work for equal pay for all workers irrespective of race, class and background.

5. All companies and corporations that have majority of its businesses in South Africa should have the primary listing in the JSE and their Head Offices in South Africa.

6. All companies in the JSE must procure the upstream and downstream goods and services from township and rural based economic role players owned by historically disadvantaged individuals.

7. All the retail stores in the JSE should source a minimum of 70% of their goods and services from South African producers, particularly food, confectionery, beverages, textile, leather, furniture, plastic, and many other basic products that are traded in South Africa.

8. Urgent action plans and programmes from all companies and corporations in the JSE on how to increase and sustain the labour-absorptive capacity of their companies. Thoroughly drafted human resources, skills transfer, and training and education provision with sustainable care programmes should accompany this.

9. Each and every company in the JSE should adopt a minimum of 5 schools in townships and rural areas and make that each adopted school has access to quality services, including computer labs, laboratories, libraries and access to high speed internet.

10. Each and every listed company with the total turnover of R1 billion and above should adopt one of the Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges and assist with all the basic necessities of a TVET college.

11. Each and every company in the JSE should adopt a minimum of 100 students and assist with their higher education and training programmes and bursaries from registration, tuition, residence, food, books, and transport money for their adopted students.

12. All companies in the JSE should make massive investments in all parts of South Africa with the aim of decentralizing economic activities and industrial programmes to all parts of the country.

13. Urgent action plans on how to decentralize South Africa’s economic development from the existing centers of economic development to other parts of the country.

14. Urgent development and implementation of Corporate Social Investment Plans, which will bring real value and benefits to communities where business operations happen.

15. All JSE companies should have all their trading bank accounts with South African banks and should be willing to be subjected to scrutiny on illicit financial flows, transfer pricing and profit shifting.

16. End to expatriation of profits to developed countries, and mandate all companies and corporations to declare publicly transactions between subsidiaries in details for the tax authorities to access necessary information to collect maximum tax due to public purse.

17. All JSE companies should commit to usage of South African based professional services, such as those for auditing, accounting, legal, marketing and all other basic services.

Today's march:

(NEWS24 SA) The Great EFF Mass Protest March
Chris Kanyane
By Chris Kanyane
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

We have seen the jihad launched by university students across the country last week. And today, this Tuesday, with EFF mass protest action across Gauteng we witnessed something that is even staggering in terms of sheer appeal, high level organizing that made the mass protest march very peaceful.

The City of Johannesburg was swimming under the blockbuster red sea of EFF juggernaut supernova protest march. The protest march in terms of its reach, depth, creativity and scope was unprecedented. The atmosphere was livid.

It was a 16 kilometres long walk of raw passion.

One lady who participated in the march expressed her personal exuberance as follows:

“I was just out there in the red sea of thousands and thousands of people, holding hands with strangers. What a sensation I felt! I felt like I belonged. I was so excited – so inspired. A young guy whispered in my ears “this is history, this is history”. I smiled and wiped my face with a comfort cloth. I just wanted to become part of something beautiful”.

photo eff

EFF is an explosive big tent protest movement that has surely energised people on the grassroots. It encapsulates the raw passions of grassroots communities from all age groups but on the main it is powered by youthful energy and dynamism. Members and supporters are passionate, emotive in their participation. But there are not from Mars – these are simple ordinary folks, Jabulani, Sipho, Themba, Mpho, Tebogo, embracing a cause that they believe in.

There has been a false theory that has clouded our view and the surging of the EFF. We base the premise of our analysis of the EFF on the charisma of Julius Malema as the leader. But it seems every person involved with EFF brings some spark of charisma. The charisma seems to be evenly spread across the members and the supporters. And when they gather there is a national sensation.

The movement has no baggage and no cronyism. That makes it exciting for every person to participate freely. Passion and exuberance defines participations. Within those passions are aspirations and hopes.

The grand meeting place for the EFF protest march was central Johannesburg – the Mary Fitzgerald Square , the cosmopolitan cultural mecca of South Africa. The Square is thus named after Mary Fitzgerald. A woman considered to be the first trade unionist in the country.

Just a brief overview bio of Mary Fitzgerald so as to contextualise the great EFF march. In 1912 and 1913 with a burst of enthusiasm Mary Fitzgerald led arguably the first major protest march in South Africa – leading the miners in front.

With the miners increasingly organised through her efforts there was a need for a communication. Mary Fitzgerald founded and edited the radical publication known as The Voice of Labour. She used the publication as a vehicle for confronting capitalism as expressed through financial institutions.

Mary Fitzgerald further organised burial societies for the Black miners who were dying in large numbers due to poor working conditions underground. The workers were working under appalling conditions, with mine accidents and deaths ever accumulating.

The EFF mass protest march included in its key demands freed education from crèche to university. That is the currency of the time that has caught the national conversation since last week.

Early in the morning people across Gauteng, from townships such as Soshanguve, Mamelodi, Soweto and so on started self organising – sporadic small groups coalescing on street corners waiting for the transport that they organised and paid from their pockets. This notwithstanding that majority are poor and live in conditions that should not exist in the 21st century.

By about time going to noon tens of thousands of people were on the move, flooding the streets in central Johannesburg- self organising themselves.

Today some people tend to consider mass marches, sit-ins, demonstrations as scary, unruly and out of fashion, so mass protests on the scale of EFF should be denounced. I invite those who suffer this fixation to realise that genuine change is made from bottom up – people feeling the pain expressing it in its raw form.

We can consider what was achieved last week by #FeesMustFall movement. If there was no such protest march to Parliament and the Union Buildings students could not have forced the hands of the authorities for 0% increase in university fees in 2016. Through sheer swarm intelligence the students outfought and outbeat the authorities and emerged victorious.

Who can forget what happened in Cape Town? The swarm intelligence that went into the conception, planning and execution and ultimate storming of Parliament; the thoughtful, meticulous reading of the police movements by students and then launching a push: outsmarting, outflanking the armoured police and soon within a few minutes they were knocking on the doors of the National Assembly. It was a victory for them.

Today’s bad economic conditions (with the growing ranks of the poor) are undermining the very idea of progress and prosperity.

A sense of history demands us moving away from being fiction makers and start addressing in a sober – sobering practical reality, the worsening conditions of people on the ground – the masses are steeped in grim lives, trapped by poverty and depression.

As a nation we tend to equate countless promises with achievement. After piles of promises made we go into a spree of premature celebration, as if just by making those promises achievement is made. And that is where we are with persistent waves of uprisings, at the ward level, community level, and national level.

A country, like a person, cannot leave on luck perpetually. Luck and chance can only carry a person or a nation so far. As of now we have exhausted our stock of luck.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

(THE POST ZM) Policy analyst calls on govt to establish metals reserve bureau

COMMENT - Just reducing dollar dependency is not exactly what I had in mind when using metals reserve as the basis for Local Currencies, however the idea is applicable. What it should not become, is a plaything for the same individuals who dully maintained that debt at 40% of GDP is of 'internationally acceptable standards' and other such nonsense. If you have the choice between a Windfall Tax that is free of interest, and a Europbond of very high interest... the Finance Minister chooses the high interest rate option? What is going on?

Policy analyst calls on govt to establish metals reserve bureau
By Stuart Lisulo |
Updated: 24 Oct,2015 ,10:00:00

THE government should consult the IMF and World Bank to develop a metals reserve bureau that would help reduce dollar dependency and insulate Zambia against external shocks, says Humphrey Mulemba.

And the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research says the government needs to act swiftly to manage the country’s public debt, which has doubled to over 40 per cent of GDP in five years.

Commenting on Zambia’s risk of falling into debt distress owing to the increasing public debt position as pointed out by the IMF, Mulemba, an independent policy analyst, stated that the government needs to take an innovative approach in seeking external financing that would help reduce US dollar dependency, currently hinged on copper exports, to repay the country’s mounting debt stock.

The government’s issuance of a US$1.25 billion Eurobond in July pushed the country’s external debt stock to over US$6 billion, shifting Zambia’s position closer to the suggested threshold of 40 per cent for developing countries.

“An innovative idea is to seek the Bretton Woods institutions’ help to develop a metals reserve bureau alongside the sinking fund proposed in the 2016 budget; this is to help Zambia reduce dollar dependency. The idea of the metals bureau is to ring fence the forex denominated debt only against the basket of metals as opposed to it being extended to the performance of the kwacha,” he stated in response to a press query. “The reason being that metals are dollar-based and hold more currency equivalent stability than the Zambian kwacha.

Mulemba said the metals bureau could be developed through the IDC and ZCCM-IH, which would help in debt repayments and insulate against external shocks.

“The pool of metals chosen will be based on the comparative advantage of Zambia and can be achieved through the IDC in collaboration with ZCCM-IH. This will help cushion the current situation and further develop a rigorous system that will be able to sustain future shocks as experienced in the recent past,” he added.

And Mulemba, formerly a policy analyst for the Civil Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR), warned that the consequences of continued external borrowing amid a devalued kwacha would make repayments more expensive.

“With a depreciating kwacha, the payment rates in forex for international loans will become more and more expensive, potentially eroding the financial base of the country to fund development projects,” said Mulemba.

And ZIPAR executive director, Dr Pamela Nakamba-Kabaso, stated in a press statement that the government needed to urgently act to manage the country’s mounting public debt stock.

“The last 5 years have seen the debt-to-GDP ratio grow from 20 per cent to 41 per cent of GDP in 2015, which is just about the sustainable threshold of 40 per cent of the GDP,” stated Dr Nakamba-Kabaso in the local think-tank’s reaction to the 2016 national budget.

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