Mozal

This booklet tells the story of the biggest EPZ of all in the southern African  region: the Industrial Free Zone in Mozambique known as MOZAL. MOZAL is an aluminium smelter located just 16 kilometres outside Maputo, the Mozambican capital. But MOZAL is not only a Mozambican initiative. It is linked to the Maputo Corridor, a special economic zone which runs from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga to the Maputo harbour. Moreover, South Africa has other involvement in MOZAL. South African companies have invested millions in this initiative. The South African government has also put a considerable amount of resources into  MOZAL. And many South Africans have been employed in MOZAL.

Political and industrial leaders in South Africa have praised MOZAL. For example, Brian Gilbertson, Chairperson of BHP Billiton has said of MOZAL. 

MOZAL, then, is an important issue not only for South Africans but for all people  in the SADC region. We hope this booklet will help trade unionists and other activists to debate initiatives like MOZAL and come up with alternatives that address the needs of the working people of the region, not the shareholders of global corporations like BHP Billiton.

 

 

 

NEPAD

Everywhere, in all the newspapers and on the TV, we read and hear about the  New Partnership for Africa.s Development or NEPAD. Sometimes people joke about the term calling it. kneepad.. Most of the opinions in the media and in  government tell us that NEPAD is an African plan to get our continent to grow.

That it is about ensuring that African people are no longer beggars but partners. in our own development. With all these promises, politicians, journalists and academics then go on to express concern if something or someone threatens the implementation of NEPAD. So the actions of the Zimbabwean government are said to be a threat to NEPAD if Mugabe doesn.t stop his land invasions. And the diplomatic stance of the South African (SA) government towards Mugabe threatens NEPAD because Western governments will see that African governments cannot rein their colleagues in. And we are told that the issue

of .peer revue. is vital for the success of NEPAD because without African governments checking up on one another, foreign investors will not come to the party.

 

In other words NEPAD is good for Africa and foreign investment is the cure for Africa. Anything that stands in NEPAD.s way is bad and must be addressed.

On the other hand, there are critics who say that NEPAD is .neo-liberal. and some have even waged demonstrations against NEPAD, as was the case when social movements marched during the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has also been critical of NEPAD, saying it is the Africanisation of GEAR..

But what is NEPAD and where did this programme come from? Why this  concern with foreign investment and what are some of the different views on NEPAD as a strategy? 

 

This booklet is an attempt to illustrate some of these debates about NEPAD. The booklet will attempt to summarise the main features of NEPAD. It is directed at activists who are grappling with what lies behind the debates and asking whether NEPAD is good or bad for ordinary people in Africa.

Privatisation and Globalisation 4

In South Africa privatisation and nationalisation have been subjects of heated debate for many  years. Perhaps these debates have never been hotter than in the period since the government adopted the GEAR policy in 1996. This booklet attempts to provide worker leaders, community activists and other progressives with information that will be useful in participating effectively in debates and struggles over privatisation and the role of the state in transformation.

The booklet is divided into five chapters. Each chapter deals with a separate aspect of privatisation: 

Chapter One defines privatisation and summarises some key debates 

Chapter Two places the struggles around privatisation in the context of a broader debate around the role of the state

Chapter Three focuses on the international experience of privatisation, with special case studies on the UK and Zambia

Chapter Four looks at privatisation in South Africa — both in the past and the present 

Chapter Five offers some international and local case studies of alternatives to privatisation   

 

CTA Argentina book

This booklet was inspired by a visit to South Africa in September 2007 of two leaders of the

Argentine Workers’ Federation (CTA) – Jose Olivera of the Union Obrera Metalurgica, and Cristian Horten of the Cooperativa De Trabajo1. The CTA (La Central de Trabajadores Argentinos, in Spanish) is a new trade union movement, the second largest in Argentina, formed in 1991 that represents about 1.3 million Argentinean workers - employed and unemployed, casual and informal.

 

The CTA comrades visited Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa and then went on to Maputo in Mozambique. In Cape Town they attended the attended the 7th Annual ILRIG Globalisation School, which brought together some 200 social movement and trade union activists from across the continent of Africa to explore Alternatives to Globalisation.

 

Comrades Jose and Cristian spoke passionately about how their metalworkers union, UOM, and the CTA had responded to the collapse of the Argentine economy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The CTA established from the outset its determination to represent all working people, whether employed or unemployed, contract or casual. Their assessment of their effectiveness was marked by honesty: “worker take-overs were not the salvation of the world, but they were a way out of a social and economic crisis in Argentina. We created jobs. Through cooperatives we have found an alternative model to contractors and the casualisation of work. There are better working conditions and salaries for the people involved”.

 

Cristian and Jose, with their tireless Argentinean-born interpreter, Florencia Belvedere, conversed with South Africans, day and night, about the many different initiatives undertaken in Argentina. Jose’s main responsibility is working with contractors, stressing that the union represents all workers and trying to bargain conditions for contractors that have parity with what permanent workers are able to bargain. Cristian stressed the key role of the UOM in the creation of his worker cooperative – the 7th of May Cooperative. This workers’ cooperative operates the ocean port of the Mittal steel plant in Villa Constitucion. The docks had been closed for five years when the then employer, ASINDAR, re-opened them, but with contractors who wanted to pay lower wages, with no benefits. The UOM insisted that it represented all workers and, more importantly, that it would not negotiate with labour brokers – it would only talk to the ultimate employer. The UOM used its bargaining power to force the employer to the table. Today UOM members at the self-managed Cooperative provide a range of cutting, rolling, packaging and shipping functions for a major steel company.

 

The commitment of the CTA and the UOM to represent unemployed and contract workers and to build active relationships with social movements generated a lot of intense debate at the ILRIG Globalization School and in later meetings with COSATU and NUMSA members in Johannesburg.

 

The aims of this book are to:

• Give a brief snapshot of the exchange visit

• Introduce South African activists to the CTA

• Examine the CTA’s experience of new forms of organising workers in this period of informalisation of work, casualisation and unemployment

 

• To explore whether their experience has relevance for South African trade unions by looking at examples of new forms of organising in South Africa

Local Government globalisation 7

The restructuring of local government took place to fulfil the requirements of the Constitution, to ensure that the apartheid local government structures were transformed, and to ensure that there is equity between the past white minority and the black majority. In many instances, before 1994 poor South Africans did not even fall within a sphere of local government or had no access to basic services such as electricity, waste removal or potable water. National laws, including the Municipal Demarcation Act, the Municipal Structures Act and the Municipal Systems Act, were passed to restructure local government and the financing of local government was the subject of laws such as the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Property Rates Act.

But this restructuring also took place in the period in which South Africa was reintegrated into the world at the end of Apartheid. And since the 1980s the world had changed quite significantly as a result of globalisation. So the local government institutions we have today are not only the result of restructuring required by the Constitution, they are also shaped by the way globalisation has changed the local state and installed ideas about service delivery, about the relations between the state and capitalism and about democracy everywhere, including South Africa.

The local state is claimed as the site of government closest to people and often is the one in which ordinary people have the most immediate experience of the nature and quality of democracy.

We therefore examine the impact of globalisation on the local state and the quality of democracy at the local level.

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