Workers Vanguard No. 895

6 July 2007


PDC Protests Police Attacks Against South African Strikers

The following letter, addressed to South African president Thabo Mbeki, was issued by the Partisan Defense Committee on June 12.

The Partisan Defense Committee joins workers around the world in protest against the brutal repression being meted out by your ANC government against the approximately 700,000 public service unionists on strike since June 1. As this massive strike led by COSATU and other unions to defend workers’ livelihoods began, thousands of armed soldiers and cops launched a furious campaign against strikers at schools and hospitals around the country. Among many reported instances, police in Cape Town fired stun grenades at strikers picketing Tygerberg Hospital, injuring workers including one who was hospitalized in intensive care. In Durban, police fired rubber bullets at striking nurses, arresting 20, and carried out another grenade attack at Addington Hospital. Now your government threatens mass firings of striking health workers for defying a government ultimatum that they return to work.

This is an outrage. We demand an immediate end to this campaign of terror against striking workers. Workers all over the globe have followed and will continue to follow the struggles of the South African working class against neo-apartheid capitalism over which you preside: a system in which the white capitalist class, its senior partners in the City of London and Wall Street and a thin layer of black businessmen and politicians reap rewards, while the conditions of the working class, rural toilers and township masses continue to be miserable.

The PDC demands an immediate halt to all police attacks and freedom for all arrested strikers. We demand all charges be dropped with no reprisals against striking workers. We also demand the rescinding of all firings and the immediate reinstatement of any dismissed worker.