[Marxism] ANC govt terrified of music, says Hugh Masekela [?!?!]

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 10 14:57:19 MDT 2007


Walter Lippmann wrote:
> The ANC had the support of the masses of black
> South Africans, but they weren't militarily strong enough to 
> defeat the apartheid regime in armed combat. 

Well, they could have mobilized the masses to oppose the capitalist 
class and push for deep structural reforms. But clearly they preferred 
to join the capitalist class and oppose reforms.

The Guardian (London)
April 22, 1999

Black heroes sell out to capitalism;
South Africa's liberation veterans stand accused of lining their pockets

Chris McGreal in Johannesburg


The directors of South Africa's largest black-run company were forced to 
abandon a plan to pay themselves millions of pounds in bonuses hours 
before a shareholders' meeting yesterday.

The scheme by four of the most prominent names in South African business 
and politics has caused uproar, raising questions about whether black 
economic empowerment is creating opportunities for the 
long-disadvantaged majority or simply building a black bourgeoisie 
trying to become as rich as the old white establishment.

Former freedom fighters and militant unionists who spent decades 
struggling to topple South African capitalism have become instant 
millionaires as the directors of new black-run companies or white-owned 
firms keen to get a few black faces on the board.

Trade unions, the Communist Party and a slew of other organisations that 
once campaigned for the nationalisation of the gold mines and other 
'commanding heights' of the economy have joined the scramble to buy into 
private businesses.

But critics say black-owned firms treat workers little better than the 
white companies that financed apartheid.

Criticism has focused on the four directors - three black, one white - 
of New African Investments Limited (Nail). They planned to ask 
shareholders to grant them share options worth pounds 13m, which would 
have put about pounds 2m in the pockets of each.

The black directors are Nthato Motlana, President Nelson Mandela's 
former doctor; Zwelakhe Sisulu, son of the former African National 
Congress leader Walter Sisulu; and Dikgang Moseneke, the former head of 
the militant Pan Africanist Congress.

Shareholders accused the directors of misleading them in Nail's annual 
report, which said the company, and not the directors, owned the share 
options. Nail's directors were not available for comment.

But the amount the directors planned to give themselves has caused the 
most anger. Although Nail has been built from nothing into a pounds 1bn 
conglomerate of holdings from financial services to the media, its share 
price fell last year by 45% amid a general collapse in South African stocks.

There have also been questions about Nail's financial structure.

Jenny Cargill, a director of BusinessMap, an investment analyst company 
that has produced the most comprehensive study to date of black 
empowerment companies, is critical of the directors.

'It's an extraordinary amount of money,' she said. 'On what basis should 
it go to the executive directors and not the shareholders?

'Nail has a responsibility as a black empowerment company partly because 
Motlana used the fact that he knows Mandela to get funds.

'They used their political contacts to build their business in order to 
gain access to assets. That puts them in a different position to your 
average company.'

Since the end of white rule, businesses have been keen not only to 
recruit blacks as directors but to see that influential blacks have a 
stake in the economic system. The problem was how to make capitalists 
out of people with no capital.

With an eye on the new political reality, banks lent to blacks. White 
firms stumped up money to get black enterprises off the ground in return 
for non -voting shares. The directors of the more successful new 
companies swiftly became rich.

Among the wealthiest is Cyril Ramaphosa, the former mining union leader 
who resigned as the ANC's secretary general in 1996 to join Nail. He 
made millions of pounds before he was forced out this year amid a bitter 
boardroom battle.

He was the source of the leak to the press which embarrassed the 
remaining directors into dropping their attempt to claim the share options.

Mr Ramaphosa's former deputy in the miners' union, Marcel Golding, went 
on to found the Mineworkers Investment Company, where he is reported to 
have earned pounds 800,000 in share options for arranging a merger with 
another company.

'Everybody focuses on the millions I make,' he said. 'It is a 
substantial amount of money but it was generated because I risked my own 
money to create the company.

'Two years ago it was worth 350m rand ( pounds 35m). Now it is worth 
2.5bn rand.

'No one talks about the fact that we are probably going to make 300m 
rand for the unions from a primary investment of 3m from the 
mineworkers' union.'

The unions themselves have joined the scramble. They say globalisation 
has greatly reduced their power to obtain high wages and better condi 
tions, and investment is another way to fund improvements for their 
members, through education bursaries and housing loans.

But there have been problems. They borrowed heavily to invest and last 
year decided to sell some of their assets to reduce the cost of debt 
repayment. Their plans, however, were foiled when a sharp drop in the 
Johannesburg stock market meant it did not make financial sense to sell.

Some unions have run into conflicts of interest. The largest union 
investment company, belonging to a major transport union, has invested 
in South Africa's transport industries, raising the bizarre possibility 
of the union negotiating with itself over pay and conditions.

And some union members have criticised investments in the country's 
flourishing casino and gambling industry, which is seen as profiting 
from the false hopes of the poor.

Furthermore, black owners do not necessarily mean a better deal for workers.

When a former Robben Island prisoner, Mzi Khumalo, took over a major 
company, JCI, 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," he said.

Instead JCI shed hundreds of jobs. It collapsed a few months later.

Mr Khumalo is still worth several million rand.






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