The Workers and Socialist Party is appealing to you for support in the upcoming South African general election which will be held in April or May next year. WASP was born out of the mineworkers struggles of last year that culminated in the Marikana massacre. The criminal killing of 34 striking miners – mown down by police armed with automatic weapons deployed by the ANC-led government – brought condemnation from around the world, in particular from workers organisations and trade unions. We were demanding nothing more than a higher minimum wage to lift ourselves and our families out of the crushing poverty in which we live. Many of us have moved hundreds of kilometres from our homes to work in the mines in order to support our families. Many of us live in shacks in shanty towns around the mines with no electricity or running water. On average, every mineworker is supporting eight to ten dependents: spouses, children, elderly parents and other relatives.
The hopes of millions of working class families and communities were invested in our struggle of last year. But the ANC-led government not only turned a blind eye to our suffering – the people on whose behalf they claim to govern – but was prepared to drown our demands in blood. Many of us were forced to leave the National Union of Mineworkers – in government with the ANC – who refused to support our struggle and set up our own independent shaft-based worker controlled strike committees to conduct our struggle. It is these committees that took the decision to launch the Workers and Socialist Party to give us back the political voice that the ANC’s betrayal has denied us.
Even before the Marikana massacre, the ANC was rapidly losing support. 12.4 million did not vote in the last elections such was the disillusion. South Africa has been dubbed the ‘protest capital of the world’. Workers take strike action to improve their poverty wages, entire communities protest at the lack of water, sanitation, roads and housing, and young people protest at the cost of education and the lack of jobs that has left youth unemployment at 50%. The WASP has been established to unite the struggles of workers, communities and youth. We are standing for (1) the nationalisation of the mines; (2) a massive programme of job creation with a living wage; (3) investment in infrastructure of road, water, sanitation, decent housing and social services; (4) free education; (5) free healthcare.
The WASP is organising workplaces, communities and young people to nominate their own representatives to stand as WASP candidates: the best people to represent the interests of workers are workers themselves. Even a small group of WASP MPs in the next parliament – which we believe is entirely possible – would be a major step forward for the working class of South Africa and give us a voice. We appeal for your support to help make this potential a reality. Messages of support and the publicising of our campaign will be vital. But what is most crucial is the funding necessary to wage an effective election campaign. South Africa uses a proportional representation list system.
The money for the election deposits alone is R 605,000 ($60,000, €45,000, £38,000). This is the money that must be raised before a single poster or leaflet is even printed. In total we need to raise R 2 million ($200,000, €150,000, £125,000). In the spirit of internationalism with which WASP is imbued, we appeal for your support in this matter to compliment the fundraising drive we are conducting in South Africa itself. A step forward for the working class of South Africa is a step forward for workers around the world.
Download a PDF of the WASP International Appeal.