26 March 2013

Over 500 Tshwane workers, mineworkers’ delegates, trade union and community activists packed Lucas Van Den Bergh Community Hall in Pretoria for the launch of the Workers & Socialist Party on March 21. The hall could not accommodate the turnout and attendees over-spilled onto the neighbouring field.

eNCA Reported on WASP’s Launch

The launch surpassed all expectations. It is without a doubt that WASP is striking a chord with working class people. Today’s launch will have worried many in the establishment – the ANC and their partners in government, the Cosatu leadership and big business. A new power is rising. The working class are getting organised and they are preparing a mighty challenge to the status quo. The ideas of socialism are being re-embraced.

The meeting was chaired by Weizmann Hamilton, the general secretary of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM). Headline speakers included Mametlwe Sebei (WASP spokesman & DSM executive member), Elias Juba (chairman of the national mineworkers committee), Ephraim Mphahlela (president of the National Transport Movement NATAWU), Elmond Magedi (Socialist Youth Movement), Liv Shange (DSM) and Joe Higgins (Socialist Party MP in Ireland).

Speakers from supporting organisations included workers’ delegates from Klerksdorp Uranium, Kumba Iron Ore in Northern Cape, Bokoni Platinum, Gold Fields KDC, Harmony Gold, Mpumalanga coal mines, Anglo Gold Ashanti amongst others.

WASP will now prepare for its next phase of development. WASP will shortly announce a date for convening of a conference to establish democratic structures, a leadership and flesh out its manifesto. There are many other fronts WASP plans to open up: a campaign to re-call corrupt councillors, taking up the issue of labour broking, the collection of one million signatures in support of WASP, and preparing the ground for a general strike should the mine bosses and government dare to enact mass retrenchments in the mining industry.