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Press statement by the Rössing Nine

Press statement by the Rössing Nine

Comradely greetings to all our comrades, workers, brothers and sisters around the world.

Rössing Uranium Ltd has been producing and exporting uranium oxide from Namibia to nuclear power utilities around the world since its inception in 1976 and the union movement got into focus, so much so that the struggle spilled back from South Africa back into Namibia. In 1978 the labour movement (union) was born at Rössing Uranium Mine when the oppressors tried to brutally suppress but did not succeed and they jailed the leaders under Administrative General (AG) proclamation 26.

The repression continued but failed to suppress the rising working-class movement. In 1984 the workers won the rights to organise the union movement and register trade unions. The culmination of those rights were contained in the 1992 Labour Act (Legislation), the pinnacle of labour rights in Namibia. The problem is while as the Namibian working class succeeded in winning these significant union and labour rights as was enshrined in the 1992 Labour Act and the 1990 Democratic Constitution of Namibia, the multinational corporation came down with a vengeance to nullify the unions and labour rights in its entirety.

The mechanisms used against the union movement and working-class rights were among others: privatisation, Labour judicial corruption, the return of the labour-hire through outsourcing, formalisation of labour-hire companies, etc. One of the reasons which facilitated the derogation of rights was the co-option of working-class leaderships into state structures. Endemic corruption furthered the historic weakness in the struggle of the working class in that it failed to create a working-class leadership in its own name and for its own interest.

The historic significance of this struggle is that it pointed the workers to the end-goal by showing everyone the indispensability and the power of the working class, through the 1971 to 1972 general strike that brought the entire nation to a standstill and inspired the South African working class to rise up since 1973 until South Africa overthrew Apartheid in 1994,

The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) was formalised in 1986. The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) Rössing branch signed the first ever recognition agreement in Namibia on the 14thNovember 1988 that governs the relationship between the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) and Rössing Uranium Ltd., which is still in existence to date.

Under Rio Tinto as a majority shareholder in Rössing Uranium Ltd., as employees we were part of the greater Rio Tinto and labour relations were based on the existing laws. Although we had our difference, we still mutually coexisted and the Rio Tinto respected and complied with legislation, the internal policies and agreements. Rio Tinto understood the role of the union with regards to the Supreme Law of Namibia and Labour Act 11 of 2007.

This all started to change when Rio Tinto sold all its shares in Rössing Uranium Ltd. to China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) in July 2019. The CNNC management used every opportunity to suppress and threaten union rights by demanding to renegotiate among others the following agreements to less favourable agreements:

  1. Procedural (Recognition) Agreement of 14 November 1988
  2. Performance and Conduct Procedure (Disciplinary Code)
  3. Recruitment Policy
  4. Retrenchment Package Agreement
  5. 5 Conditions of employment
  • Leave Days
  • Sick Leave days
  • Commutation system
  1. Salary scales and structures
  2. Medical Aid Provider

Their renegotiation attempts failed and this culminated in grave attacks on the Branch Executive Committee. Among the attacks are the exclusive unprocedural correspondences between the General secretary of MUN (Eben Zarondo) in which the Chinese General Manager instructed him to discipline the Branch Executive Committee, and when he failed to find any grounds or faults, CNNC Rössing Uranium Ltd. took the matter in their hands by unlawfully and illegally dismissing the Branch Executive Committee.

Between July and September 202, the management unlawfully and illegally suspended, charged and dismissed the Nine Executive Committee Members in their individual employment positions on witch-hunt and unfounded allegations against MUN (Mineworkers Union of Namibia) of allegedly leaking confidential information about the illegal employment of the 4 Chinese nationals in management to the media, breaching employment contracts, bringing the company’s name into disrepute and dishonesty.

The illegal and unlawful employment of the Chinese was exposed by the media to the nation, drawing the attention of immigration control officers to investigate, arrest and detain them and a police case number CR08/08/2020 was registered upon the full establishment that they were indeed illegal and unlawfully working for CNNC Rössing Uranium Limited and for violating the Namibia Immigration Control Act.

The illegal and unlawful employees were then transferred to Narraville Police Station to be held in custody and to be brought before court for prosecution. However, close to midnight that very day, an awful and disgraceful act happened in that, the accused were jail-broken on an instruction from some high-ranking government official. These instructions were illegal and unlawful, as the officials that dispensed the instructions are not part of the justice system, neither are they from the office of the Prosecutor General or the Police and no document or police bail was processed for their release, only instructions from above.

For the mine to dismiss an organ of the union is a compete renunciation of the laws of Namibia. What will be the full social, economic and political implication of this? It will mean that Namibia is not a sovereign state, there is no rule of law, and legal entities in Namibia are without any legal protection.

MUN Rössing Branch is the foundation and torch-bearer of the union movement in Namibia. These attacks on the union movement as expressed in the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation Rössing Uranium Limited situation echoes the capitalist attack on the union movement around the country and around the world.

As leaders of the workers’ movement (union), we will defend the fundamental rights which Namibian workers have fought for more than a century and won,

The sad situation informs the way forward and the basic element of the program is as follows:

  • The rebuilding and training of the working-class basic organisations and structures of the union, both national and international
  • The rebuilding of national and international solidarity as the means of achieving such workers’ organisations
  • The rebuilding and r-affirming of the working-class movements for political power nationally and internationally t avert the onslaught on the rights of workers.

The role of imperialism today as reflected in the Rössing example is to destroy fundamental rights and derogate social, economic and political relations and in particular the proper relations brought to bear on the working class worldwide.

We firmly believe that the only outstanding matter to resolve this increasingly destructive situation is the crisis of leadership in the working-class movement. We dedicate ourselves to work to resolve that crisis by building such a leadership nationally and internationally.

We thank our brothers and sisters who stand in solidarity; the Rössing Uranium Ltd. employees, MUN Walvisbay Salt Refinery, Namibia United Fishermen Association, AR movement, individuals and we further extend gratitude to our brothers and sisters internationally from the USA, UK, Brazil, Japan, Greece, Australia, Argentina and many others.

Your solidarity actions national and around the world is already a major step in realizing our program of action and change.

In solidarity

Injury to one is injury to all

The Struggle Continues

The Nine Dismissed Union Leaders

New Issue 13 Die Werker out now!

The latest issue (Oct 2019) of Die Werker

Inside this issue:
Onslaught on the working class.
Transnamib will not listen.
The Workers Advice Centre (WAC) was instructed by Namibian workers to conduct three foundational investigations. It summarises the most Demonstrative facts of the semi- colonial dilemmas and atrocities.
Unresolved contradictions come to bite again.
Namibia Fishermen United Association to: working class organisations, the judges of Namibia – petition.
Electronic voting system proven a national scam.
Greetings to the SWANU on its 60th anniversary.

A powerful manifesto and a serious appeal

As the Workers Revolutionary Party of Namibia submits the Manifesto reproduced below to voters in the 2019 National Assembly Elections, reports flood in from around the globe of movements by the masses in Iraq, Lebanon, Chile and elsewhere in direct and open opposition to poverty and exploitation and the corruption and economic mis-management of their ‘own’ venal governments acting as the local agents of imperialist powers and interests.

They follow on from the events of the “Arab Spring” earlier in the decade and the more recent echoes of these movements in Tunisia and Sudan.

These movements are impressive in their scope and energy and their ability, especially since in Iraq and Lebanon they unite sectors of the population hitherto separated by religious and ethnic affiliations. 

Powerful as they are, however, all these movements are hampered by the lack of a political programme and of a well-thought-out strategy to alleviate the suffering expressed in their simple and compelling demands. 

In a few boldly-drawn paragraphs, the Namibian WRP Manifesto sketches out the main lines of that programme and underscores the rightly central role which the working class is called upon to play within such movements, how it links to other parts of the masses and what targets it can set itself to ensure future progress.

Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International is extremely proud to submit the Manifesto to the consideration of serious socialists everywhere. Our comrades in Namibia have established significant roots among mineworkers, fishery workers, pensioners, homeowners and tenants and more

The Namibia WRP are experiencing a wave of media and other public interest in their Manifesto. They need resources to spread it far and wide. Workers International will provide whatever support it can so that they can send material, speakers and organisers the length and breadth of the country in the election campaign. Please help us:
account details:
The Correspondence Society
acc no: 20059400
sort: 60 83 01
payments from outside UK would need IBAN number:
GB93NWBK60023571418024

THE CONTEXT OF THE 2019 NATIONAL ELECTIONS

Namibia is an example of a Comprador State. In a political context the word “comprador” is used to describe an agent having control over a nation’s workforce by acting on behalf of foreign masters. In Namibia it means the Namibian government having control over the working people on behalf of foreign and capitalist masters.

Using law enforcement agencies, the care-taker regime since 1990 has systematically destroyed the legal rights and gains of the working class through legislation and corruption. At the behest and in favour of corporate business, these agencies, which include the Office of the Labour Commissioner and the Courts of Law, disregard the laws concerning the rights of workers. 

The State is destroying the nation’s infrastructure (roads, hospitals and schools) by a lack of maintenance and brazen theft. Our education system is proof thereof. The adage “education is the greatest equalizer” remains out of reach for the masses, where enrolment in private schools is reserved for children of the middle class and the children of the working class and the poor (peasants) receive sub-standard ‘location’ education.

The State’s express policy on the land issue is “no land to the poor”. The plight of those who lost their land to imperialists is not addressed by the care-taker regime. On the contrary, the state further disowned the impoverished communities by seizing their remaining snippets of land.

The judiciary is subservient to the same masters, foreign and local corporate business; banks, industries and capitalists. It destroys the rule of law.

The modus operandi of the imperialists and international corporations in conjunction with the State is to exploit the workers by means of low wages, hazardous work conditions and the blatant disregard of labour laws. This practise is common in southern Africa.

The imperialists and capitalists have a vested interest in our presidential and national assembly elections. Our elections are a farce. It is run and controlled by the Indian Army and nullified our sovereignty. Both the registration of voters and voting by the electronic machines are a mockery. Voter registrations are duplicated. Voters can cast their votes multiple times. 

Since independence these farcical elections are approved by the USA, EU, AU, SADEC and the IEC as “free and fair” in the name of ‘political continuity’ to serve their interests and to ensure the unbridled exploitation of the colonies. 

Under the Comprador State, Namibia as a whole is disintegrating by the day. The prospects for the nation are a continuously lowering material and cultural standard of living. The vast resources of fish, minerals (strategic and precious), oil and gas reserves, and the most essential resource, the land of the people, are corruptly sold to foreign masters.

The State, bankrupted by rampant looting of the Treasury, is further intensifying its insolvency by turning the country into a tax haven for money launderers. Industries operating in Namibia are registered for tax purposes elsewhere, where they pay no taxes in any event. 

There is no HOPE, only DESPERATION unless the programme of the workers’ party is realised. 

PROGRAMME

The only force which can turn the economic and human wastage around is the organised working class.

The WRP as the vanguard of that organisation is participating in the 2019 National Elections for no other reason, but to throw light on the main issues wracking this nation and the Southern African working people and to propagate its proposals to achieve working class organisation to fight the scourge.

It harbours no illusions about the mockery of elections which will once more yield results contrived by the Indian State in collusion with the Namibian State. 

ISSUES

1.Plundering of natural resources

Namibia’s coastline is unguarded. This allows for unlimited exploitation of marine resources. Also, this resource is sold to imperialist countries (South Africa and Spain) by the State on behalf of individuals.

2.The land question

The majority of Namibians have no access to land. Dispossession is absolute and total. The Comprador State has gone as far as legislating the Traditional Authorities Act 25 of 2000, which prohibits communities from owning their land. The so-called traditional authorities have no authority or jurisdiction over land.

The stated policy of the regime is, “no land to the poor”.

3.Labour situation

Legislation, pervasive corruption, non-policies and dysfunctional administration and executive combine to set off unbelievable levels of unemployment with literally hundreds of youth rushing for single job openings. 

The incumbent regime is oblivious of mineral and natural reserves of priceless minerals (strategic and precious) and massive self-generating resources such as marine and other natural resources. The greatest source of life, land, is squandered away in the same manner.

The obscene squandering of all these resources for laughable bribes by national and international capital leaves the nation abused and bewildered. 

PROGRAMME

The WRP uses these elections to articulate its clarion call to the working class to organise at all levels to declare war on the destruction of the nation through the destruction of its sovereignty, its self-determination and its liberation, etc.

The programme of the WRP calls on the working class to rebuild their unions in the fishing, mining sectors and industrial and commercial fields under the guidance of the workers’ party. This rebuilding shall take place in the process of arresting the unadulterated exploitation of the country by such demands as opening the books of corporations from mines to factories, and from banks to insurance companies; a public audit of the resources exploited and taken out of this country; the cessation of the money laundering mechanism put in place by the Comprador regime; the derogation of labour rights through legislation and corruption; and, a national review of the de-education of the youth. 

The WRP programme calls on the working class to organise at all levels to optimise the utility of their resources; the optimum utilisation of these massive resources to create permanent jobs, to demand rational industrialisation demanded by the total human and technical and natural resources at its disposal.

The WRP call on the working class to treat issues affecting women, men, youth, homosexuals, etcetera as issues affecting the working class as a whole and not issues to be separated.

The working class has no interest in the designs of the black and Khoisan middle classes to step into the shoes of the white landowners by laying claim to the lands of the people. Its sole interest is to restore the collective property of the disowned communities which was collectively disowned. The WRP advise the working class and poor peasantry to call for a national land conference to discuss the restoration of legality in the country by restoration of illegally expropriated lands. (The peasants never held individual title, they held collective ownership. Both the black and white middle class baulk at the idea of a historical inquiry into the land issue in Southern Africa.)

ONLY the ORGANISED working class armed with a programme for all the working people of the NATION can take power and lead the country out of extreme backwardness and squalor in the midst of untold wealth. 

ONLY the ORGANISED working class led by a workers’ party can break the suffocation of the nation by imperialism.

WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY PARTY (WRP)

TO REBUILD THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL

A political party duly registered in terms of the electoral laws of the Republic of Namibia

4479 Dodge Avenue, Khomasdal  P.O. Box 3349 Windhoek

Tel: 061-260647

ericabeukes@yahoo.co.uk

jacobusjosob@ymail.com

Defend Casual Workers Advice Office in Johannesburg!

On Monday evening 2 September 2019, during a campaign of xenophobic violence, a 200-strong gang wrecked the premises of the Casual Workers Advice Office (CWAO) in Johannesburg, South Africa. The door was broken open, glass was shattered and the premises were thoroughly trashed. The CWAO stated: “We lost our furniture, printing and communications equipment, our case files … this is a heavy loss in already difficult circumstances.”

CWAO works mainly with labour broker workers who are among the most exploited and marginalised sections of the working class.

Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International condemns the xenophobia which divides the exploited and the oppressed and exculpates the imperialists and their servants in the South African state who exploit the masses and violently bar the way to social progress.

Please support the CWAO’s appeal to restore their premises and facilities and continue to organise and defend casual workers. You can donate to their fund here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/solidarity-with-casual-workers-advice-office-sa

Hewat Beukes expressed the views of WIRFI on these matters in this posting:

UNRESOLVED CONTRADICTIONS COME TO BITE AGAIN 

In 1971/72 Namibian contract workers went on a general strike in the mines, agriculture, and in the colonial industrial and commercial sectors. It was an indelible demonstration of workers’ power. It inspired and set off the South African veld fire of strikes which culminated in the struggle for union rights and the student struggles of 1976. By 1978 Namibia had a fully-fledged union movement in tandem with South Africa. The bourgeois nationalists in both South Africa and Namibia, the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Stalinists did not like it. Lacking a workers’ party, the workers’ movement was relatively easy prey to slander and liquidation both here and in exile.

The ‘Marxist left’ which ought to have given clarity failed to see the attacks against the working class as the deployment of a toxic lumpen proletariat by a tribal petit-bourgeoisie to subjugate the class and its struggles to the alliance of the bourgeoisie and pre-capitalist tribal structures. They even went on to mistakenly characterise the kangaroo courts, necklacing of workers, etc. as “self-rule” and “dictatorship of the working class”. The most insidious, reactionary, and horrific reaction against the rising working class could not come from the race regime. It came from the tribal agents of the bourgeoisie within oppressed communities.

This lumpen vice-like grip on working class communities is now being used to revive the caretaker regime’s grip on the working class. It is not directed against organised crime: drug dealing, etcetera. It is directed against mostly vulnerable impoverished refugees, as a smokescreen for lumpen elements to loot and advance petty crime. The political objective is far more sinister, which is to deliver the working class bound hand and foot to the capitalist exploiter and international capital.

It is the obligation of the workers’ movement to correctly define and characterise the present instigated attacks against the working class under the smokescreen of xenophobia. Its central objective is to disable working class organisation and subjugate working-class communities. It is the same monstrous legacy of the 1970s and 1980s. It is meant to lift the caretaker petit bourgeoisie out of its crisis. 

This politics is encompassed by the ongoing denial that the determining factor in the independence of Namibia, the universal right to vote in South Africa (nothing more) and the independence of Zimbabwe were the mass uprisings of the working classes in Southern Africa since 1971. The scale of disruption of Apartheid tyranny in Southern Africa by the South African working class as the decisive factor of change (albeit in caretaker states) is denied and absurdly assigned to individuals to boot.

There can be no revolution in Southern Africa if these historical analyses are not concretised in the organisational structures of the working class. The agencies of the bourgeoisie shall be identified analytically. We shall know and recognise the operations of reaction as against the operations of working-class struggle for political power.

Hewat Beukes

7 September 2019

Out Now! Latest issue of Die Werker, June 2019

 latest issue of Die Werker 

 In this issue:

The discrimination against the San continues unabated.

Organisation and program in place of hopelessness – Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party launched in South Africa 

Message from the WRP to the SRWP.

Birth of the United Seafarer’s Association.

The Committee of Parents petition the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for accounting on the atrocities committed against Namibian refugees.

Where have all the trains gone? 

TSUMEB: The Endobo Hostel fraud.

Workers Advice Centre pledges to join SAFTU in the giant federation’s fight against the organised criminality of the First National Bank.

TCL miners resume their struggle for their stolen pensions. 

Out Now! Issues 9 (Special) and 10 of Die Werker/The Worker

Inside this issue:

The Workers Revolutionary Party at the High Court of Namibia.
Paul Thomas of the Nama Genocide Technical Committee speaks at “Quo Vadis” Hamburg.
Snippets from 1991 Land Conference.
Second Conference not for the poor!
Extract from the WRP’s Land Proposal to the working people.
Letters.
Zimbabwe Elections.
Fishermen Fight On!

Special Issue June 2018
After keeping the WRP out of Parliament for 3 years, Schlettwein and Katjavivi opens FNB account to steal Party’s funds of N$9.5 million