South Africa in brief

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 16, February 1982

  • uMkhonto strikes again!

On 26 December 1981, an uMkhonto we Sizwe unit armed with rockets, grenades and AK-47 assault rifles launched a daring attack on Wonderboom Police Station in the heart of Pretoria. South African newspapers commenting on this attack and other uMkhonto operations are being forced to let out the truth about the ANC’s armed struggle. The Rand Daily Mail wrote ‘Sabotage in South Africa has been unparalleled in the past year . . . Loss of life has been low, but the blow to white morale has been incalculable . . . the daring of the attackers has the authorities worried’.

  • Apartheid saves British economy

Multinational British companies with South African subsidiaries are surviving only because apartheid allows them to extract superprofits by paying starvation wages to black workers. The South African Sunday Times speaks of ‘international groups which have had to rely on their South African connection to stay in the black’. Amongst these groups is Mitchel Cotts whose 19m rand South African profits accounted for 71% of the whole company’s profits! 63% of Metal Box’s profits came from South Africa whilst Pilkington, the glass manufacturer, made massive losses in Britain, its South African subsidiary made 65m rand profit. Without the superexploitation of black workers, which apartheid enforces, all these British firms would have gone to the wall. It is no surprise therefore, that the British government, guardian of British capitalism, while readily denouncing martial law in Poland, remains silent when apartheid imprisons and murders black trade unionists whose struggle for decent wages and conditions threatens British profits in South Africa.

  • Winnie Mandela banned again

Winnie Mandela, wife of imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela, who was banished to the obscure Afrikaner town of Brandfort after the Soweto uprising has had her banning order extended for another 5 years. But this time with the additional clause that she is not to meet more than one person at a time and forbidden to be quoted in the South African press. Since 1958, not a year has passed without Winnie being arrested, and persecuted by apartheid. None of this has broken her spirit. In Brandfort she has openly flouted apartheid laws and is engaged in helping to organise and politicise the black community!

  • Sun City for whites only

The obscenity of apartheid is displayed shamelessly in Sun City, a £50m luxury gambling den and entertainment resort built by white capitalists in the so-called ‘independent’ homeland of Bophuthatswana. Whites from all over South Africa can travel there to gamble their ill-gotten wealth and indulge in all manner of degeneracy, all of which is illegal in ‘white’ South Africa. Meanwhile, outside the bounds of this luxury resort, black people forced to live in Bophuthatswana suffer starvation and unemployment. While whites in Sun City enjoy to excess the wealth they have robbed from South Africa’s blacks, the population of Winterveld, a ‘town’ in the same homeland, live, in the words of the Financial Times in ‘a city – of shanties . . . ranging from corrugated iron sheds to mud huts . . . it is a rural slum. There are no services – no electricity, no sewerage, just the occasional borehole or pump and it contains more than half a million people’. Singers such as Lulu and Shirley Bassey pocket large fees for entertaining rich whites in Sun City, regardless of the fact that it is situated in the middle of a concentration camp created and run by the racist South African regime.

  • Mxenge’s work continues

Following the brutal torture and murder of Griffiths Mxenge, the tireless ANC lawyer loved by South Africa’s blacks, his widow Mrs Nonyamezelo Mxenge declared: ‘If by killing my husband they thought the work he was doing would come to an end, they have made a mistake. I’ll continue even if it means I must also die’. She has now taken over Griffiths’ law firm in Durban which worked largely for political prisoners in South Africa. Despite her terrible personal tragedy Mrs Nonyamezelo Mxenge stated ‘I see a very bright future in the very near future. These things which are happening around us, detentions, deaths in detentions, killings, are the kickings of a dying horse’.


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