ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)
ActionSA Leader Herman Mashaba says he could not believe it when he watched on television how President Cyril Ramaphosa was booed and chased away by trade union members at a Workers Day event held in Rustenburg in the North West yesterday.
“Workers in this country have been abused, lied to and betrayed by the ANC. You can lie to people for so long, but you can’t really lie to people with their lived experiences.”
“I could not believe it when the whole thing was unfolding. In fact, I was saying to my wife when the president was chased away that I could not believe it,” he said.
Furious and fuming workers who gathered in Rustenburg told Ramaphosa to leave the rally because he had done nothing for them.
Ramaphosa was about to deliver the keynote address when he was told to go.
The workers wanted the president to address the challenges they were facing day-to-day, including lack of funds as well as being hired permanently.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) – the two biggest mine unions in South Africa – have demanded a pay increase of R1 000 per month over the next three years, similar to the amount Sibanye-Stillwater’s rival Harmony Gold agreed to pay its workers last year.
Reacting to the fiasco, Mashaba said the workers clearly demonstrated that they were tired of empty promises and Ramaphosa’s “charm”.
“They demonstrated to him that they are gatvol. We are in a country where youth unemployment is sitting at 74 percent. This is unsustainable. We are a country with open borders where the home affairs are failing to protect borders in the sovereignty of South Africa. This thing is, unfortunately, affecting poor South Africans, and for people who have not worked in the last 10 to 20 years, you can’t lie to them,” he said.
Mashaba told IOL that it would take a “miracle” for the ANC to survive the 2024 elections.
“I cannot see the ANC surviving this one,” he said
He mentioned that when he was the mayor of Johannesburg, he found a divided union in office – one which he said was led by the ANC with no members.
“They did everything to disrupt my term, sending their union members to come and disturb me, but there were some of the members who did not want to be involved in politics. They were there to ensure that the government must do what the government must do,” he said.
The ActionSA leader made it clear that his party will not have a direct relationship with unions but will work with workers in certain instances in an effort to serve society.
“(Ramaphosa) promised people of Alexandra houses, and even today, there’s not a single house that is built for the society of Alex. So he is actually playing the same trick, thinking that the workers are stupid and will think that he is going sort this matter. Why didn’t he sort it out in time? He should have done it a long time ago,” Mashaba said.