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Sat Dec 03 00:11:39 CAT 2016

Marikana births new party

SIPHO MASOMBUKA | 2013-03-22 01:00:13.0
A policeman fires at protesting miners outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km northwest of Johannesburg, August 16, 2012.
Image by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / REUTERS

A political party has been born in the aftermath of the Marikana mine massacre - the Workers' and Socialist Party (Wasp).

The organisation yesterday announced that it would contest the 2014 general election on a pro-nationalisation ticket.

Wasp was formed by and is part of the Democratic Socialist Movement, an affiliate of the Committee for a Workers' International League.

Speaking to about 500 mostly young people in Pretoria, Democratic Socialist Movement general secretary Weizmann Hamilton said the Marikana massacre revealed to workers the "unfortunate and treacherous role played by a capitalist government and [the National Union of Mineworkers]".

Before the August 16 clash between the police and the striking mineworkers, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union had won over some members of the ANC-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers.

"The working class is on its own. It has no alternative but to reclaim its class independence and political independence," Hamilton said.

The goal of Wasp is to create a socialist society, he said.

The National Transport Movement - a union that broke away from the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union - has pledged its support to the new party, Wasp spokesman Mametlwe Sebei said.

Wasp hopes the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union will also come on board.

"Anyone who leads the working class must have a political programme," Sebei said.

"We have not engaged the union but we hope that, as time goes by, those engagements will take place."

Sebei said the party's leadership bodies will be formed in the near future. To register with the Independent Electoral Commission, a party must prove that it has at least 500 members.

Wasp said it gained more than 1000 members yesterday and expected to start registering them next week.

Hamilton cut his teeth in the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1970s and later joined the Committee for a Workers' International.

Sebei was national president of the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania from 2005 to 2007. He was also a member of the students' representative councils at the University of Pretoria and at Unisa.

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