Cut ministers’ salaries, let them live on R350 too – Mathunjwa

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union leader Joseph Mathunjwa has dared President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet to live on the R350 grant given to youth.

Speaking at the commemoration of the 2012 Lonmin massacre in Marikana, North West, Mathunjwa said state capture was not only corruption but the capture of the mind of an African child.

Marikana is the scene of the first post-democratic massacre under the ANC government, when police on August 16 2012 shot and killed 34 mineworkers who were demanding a salary increase to R12 500.

On Wednesday, Mathunjwa said: “The state capture is the capture of the mind of a black child who has been taught to be docile and to feed off the crumbs”.

“We need to break the chains of being held hostage by the post-legacies of the struggle credentials by comrades in corruption, supported by foreign direct investors who are looting the state resources.”

To this day, he said, 12-million South Africans are unemployed. The R350 social grants to the unemployed youth cost the state R1.6-billion a month, he continued.

“Eight million youth are under social grants, which has transformed them into beggars.

“If the R350 social grant was sufficient, we call on the president, that the minister of social development must also be paid R350 a month.”

Mathunjwa said the Lonmin workers had tried to buy the mine using their provident funds but the neo-liberal government stopped them and gave the mine to Sibanye.

“This led to eight executives of Sibanye, former Lonmin, paying themselves R800-million in 2021. That money could have been shared among 30 000 workers if they owned the mine.”

He said South Africa had an abundance of minerals, but its citizens are faced with depression and hunger, noting that the solution was for citizens to reset their minds and demand what is rightfully theirs.

“When politicians look at you, they see votes and seats in the parliament. They don’t see through the eye of poverty.

“They don’t see you as a person that needs a better life. When they fill in the stadiums, they see members to give them seats in a council”.

He said South Africans should not tolerate any poverty, poor public health, a poor education system, and mining companies exploiting the resources without gain.

“We should not tolerate a country where our social wage has diminished the sale of SOEs [state-owned enterprises] to the private sector.

“The recent unbundling of Eskom is tied to the privatisation of electricity, a basic human need,” Mathunjwa said.

He said come elections in 2024, the voters should choose political parties calling for August 16 to become a public holiday. “Run away from their political party.

“If your political party’s manifesto doesn’t have a clause that says the constitution of South Africa must be amended or must fall, let’s design our own constitution that will talk to us as South Africans, run away from that political party.

“If your political party talks about privatisation of SOEs, that is not good for the future of your children, run away from their political party.”


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