As far as the race for the successor of President Zuma in the African National Congress (ANC) is concerned, the white monopoly capital, in conjunction with its propaganda arm within the media, is in favour of ‘Cyril Ramaphosa’. However, his political career is notable, his protectionist stance towards white monopoly capital cannot be ignored. His involvement in Marikana massacre is one classic example.
Who is Ramaphosa?
Famously known for being the man who negotiated with the initiation of ‘rainbow nation’, Cyril Ramaphosa is primarily a businessman, rather than a hard core politician, resembling Donald Trump of the US, and is a centre-right, neo-liberalist by true nature.
The much-maligned Deputy of Zuma, he has played an integral role in the development of major trade unions; South Africa’s constitution; and most importantly the man behind the negotiations for the peaceful culmination of apartheid while steering the nation toward its first democratic elections.
In 2015, it was reported that he had a fortune of R6.75bn, Ramaphosa is the South Africa’s richest black person after Patrice Motsepe, his brother-in-law, according to the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times newspaper.”
White Monopoly Capital owns R15-trillion of the Johannesburg Stock exchange‚ with only 3% owned by black people, and Cyril Ramaphosa is one of the biggest investors in these firms. Here are the corporations in which Ramaphosa has stakes on:
1. McDonald`s SA (100%)
2. Mondi Shanduka Newsprint (42%)
3. MPACT (10%)
4. Alexander Forbes (7.8%)
5. BIDVest (0.6%)
6. Coca-Cola Shanduka Beverages (70%)
7. Diepkloof Retail Development (52%)
8. FeverTree Consulting (51%)
9. Helios Towers*
10. Investment Solutions (7.8%)
11. Kangra Coal (30%)
12. Lace Diamond (13%)
13. Liberty Life (1.5%)
14. Lonmin (9.1%)
15. MacSteel SA (7.5)
16. Matrix Marketing (28.2%)
17. Standard Bank (1.2%)
18. TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris (25%)
19. MTN (0.45%)
20. Pan African Resources (26%)
22. Scaw Metal (5%)
23. SEACOM (12.5%)
24. Shanduka Coal (50.01%)
Karoo Renewable Energy facility* Kuvaninga de Mozambique (37.5%)
Shanduka Energy & Aggreko partnership* Tshingua Solar (20%)
His involvement with white monopoly capitalists
Radical economic transformation in South Africa is becoming the need of the hour as “white monopoly capital” is responsible for keeping a majority of the black South Africans in a marginalised position in terms of the mainstream economy, even after 22 long years post the culmination of the apartheid era.
Draconian laws in the nation’s constitution were stalling the economy’s transformation, and said that the ruling party needs to strengthen the Competition Commission’s arm; and must pass an anti-oligopolies legislation, wherein an oligopoly happens to be a state of limited competition, the market being controlled by a very limited number of firms.
The brutal truth of the massacre in Marikana
For its workers in Marikana, apartheid working conditions were preserved by Lonmin, while shifting of a significant amount of profits to Bermuda was done, for the sake of skipping South African tax. The mastermind behind this was Incwala Resources, a company governed by Ramaphosa.
What happened in Marikana?
The Bench Marks Foundation claimed: “The benefits of mining are not reaching the workers or the surrounding communities. Lack of employment opportunities for local youth, squalid living conditions, unemployment and growing inequalities contribute to this mess.” The foundation argued that the workers were being totally exploited, which was a motivation for the violence. The foundation was also critical of the low wages given out to the workers as compared to the high profits earned by the Platinum mine owners.
The International Labour Organisation too was critical about the condition of the miners, stating they were being exposed to “a variety of safety hazards such as falling rocks, exposure to dust, intensive noise, fumes and high temperatures, among others.”
Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies said the conditions in the mines were “appalling”; and stated the owners that “make millions” had several questions to answer about the way they treated their workers.
Al Jazeera later reported that the conditions in the mine led to “seething tensions” as a result of the “dire living conditions, union rivalry, and company disinterest.”
Initial protests against Lonmin and Ramaphosa connection
On August 10, 2012, the rock drillers in Marikana triggered off a wildcat strike for seeking a pay hike to R12,500 per month, which would eventually lead to tripling of their monthly earnings.
3000 workers quit their jobs on the same day, after Lonmin’s management refused to meet the striking workers. On August 11, 2012, leaders of NUM reportedly opened fire on the strikers of NUM, who were in the process of marching toward their offices.
Between August 12 and 14, in the vicinity of Marikana, about nine persons were killed.
Ramaphosa was fully aware of the plight faced by the Marikana miners, as he was the entrepreneur of the largest and the most powerful trade union in the nation – the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which was evidently very closely related to actions that ignited the massacre. He was present at Lonmin’s board meet, where a consensus was reached that the demands of the striking miners would not be entertained.
How Ramaphosa got the clean chit from this barbaric crime?
Ramaphosa made use of his political connections to mull over the protests with the ministers of Mineral Resources and Police, all of whom then utilised their strong positions to articulate what needed to be carried out in the interest of white monopoly capital.
As the miners were very persistent about meeting with the Lonmin management, and the management deemed this type of agitation as criminal, Ramaphosa being the Lonmin’s puppet as he is, unapologetically gave an order to shoot, just for the sake of Ramaphosa’s company Shanduka owning 9.1% shares in Lonmin.
As a part of his 30-minute testimony toward the Farlam Commission, Ramaphosa confirmed of “being briefed by senior management of Lonmin on the escalating violence taking place at Marikana” and also that “Lonmin was anxious that government urgently be informed of the seriousness of the situation”.
Ramaphosa also unveiled an e-mail he addressed to Lonmin on the day prior to the massacre: “The terrible events that have unfolded cannot be described as a labour dispute. They are plainly dastardly criminal and must be characterised as such. In line with this characterisation, there needs to be concomitant action to address this situation.”