Jim will smash ‘ANC pact with white capital’
Swapping his overalls for military-style camouflage trousers and a white golf shirt, unionist-turned politician Irvin Jim on Tuesday announced that his new political party’s first objective was to destroy the deal he alleges was sealed by the ruling ANC and “white monopoly capitalists” in the negotiations preceding the 1994 elections.
Jim, secretary-general of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), is now also national chair of his newly established Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party.
He was speaking to about 150 people, including children, who had braved heavy rains to listen to him at the Babs Madlakane Hall in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage.
He took aim at the “failings of the ruling party” and of capitalism.
He delivered a firebrand speech built largely around what he said were the deleterious effects of both the ANC and capitalism on the working class, which he made clear was his primary audience.
“A state in capitalist mode is nothing more than an organ of oppression,” Jim said.
Many in his audience were wearing his party’s T-shirt, which displays a picture of Jim and the party’s Soviet-style hammer-and-sickle logo.
Jim said that as a result of the deal made in the lead-up to the first democratic elections, white monopoly capitalists dominated the minerals, energy and finance complex of SA.
“Every five years, the ANC promises a better life.
“This country is rich, the minerals should have been passed on to the people.
“The state should have used its power to give the ownership [of the minerals] to the people.
“If this had happened, we would have changed the power relationship in this country.”
Jim said people needed a middle-class life to enjoy the freedoms of democracy.
“[Now] you can go to any beach you want to. But you need a car to get there.
“And if you want to have a braai, you will need to be able to afford meat.
“You [are free to] put your son in Grey High School, but you cannot afford to put your son in that school,” Jim said.
“South Africa’s economy can no longer be owned by whites, it must be owned by both blacks and whites. The minerals we have here belong to all.
“We must nationalise those assets and they must be put under workers’ control. They must be for the benefit of all.”
Jim went on to attack the national minimum wage, privatisation and support for independent power producers, which he said would result in the closure of companies.
He said his new party was active in all provinces.
“We are mobilising.”