Workers’ Struggles in Southern Africa



We begin today’s show with a growing struggle of unionized South African truck assembly workers who are fighting for a standardized pay rate.

Hundreds of members of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa, also famously known as NUMSA, have been on strike since October 15th at First Automobile Works, a Chinese state-owned company in Port Elizabeth. The company says they should not be bound by the Motor Industry Bargaining Council contract for assembly line workers manufacturing cars because they are manufacturing only trucks.

NUMSA Eastern Cape regional secretary, Mziyanda Twani has said “We want the company to contract instead with the Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organization and its National Bargaining Forum, as do BMW, Ford, Isuzu, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

Twani said pay rates for truck assembly workers that are set by MIBCO are lower than those paid to truck assemblers by companies in the Automobile Manufacturers Employers Organization. “For FAW pays 39 rand per hour, while other assemblers pay 99.”


The General Industrial Workers Union of South Africa General Secretary John Appolis talked about the critical strike at the Clover Dairy company owned by the Israeli billionaire Werthiem family.


Next, In Namibia last September 9, union branch leaders of the Rossing Uranium Mine were fired by the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation. They are still fighting to get their jobs back and the Namibian government has shut off water and electricity at the home of their lawyer Hewat Beukes. 


South African trade unionist and researcher David Hemson who talked about the role of Chinese investment in Africa with Pacifica’s Steve Zeltzer.


Western governments along with their loyal media and think tanks warn that China is colonizing, exploiting, and forcing Africa into a debt trap. Is this true? Or is it Cold War propaganda? What is China’s actual role in Africa and how does it compare with the West’s? Rhania Khalek of Breakthrough News  spoke with two leading African leftists: Kambale Musavuli, an activist, writer, and analyst with the Center for Research on the Congo, and Mikaela Nhondo Erskog, a researcher at the Tricontinental Institute, a member of the organizing committee of No Cold War, and an educator and researcher with Pan Africanism Today, which works with organizations like NUMSA in South Africa.

Watch the full interview at Breakthrough News.


Producer/host: Steve Zeltzer
Production assistance: Ann Garrison
Editing: Polina Vasiliev
Exec. Producers: Akua Holt, Polina Vasiliev, Steve Zeltzer


“Umthwalo” by Zahara Thekwane

“Tsakani” by Paul Ndlovu



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