South African Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party Founded

04 April 2019: Members of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg during the launch of the party. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee
On April 4-6, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) held its Launch Congress in Boksburg, South Africa. Over a thousand worker delegates from provinces across the country and international guests met to announce their party’s intention to participate in upcoming national elections under the slogan “equality, work, and land.”

The party draws its strong base from the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), which has over 800,000 members throughout South Africa. Last year SAFTU organized a nationwide strike—one of the largest in recent history—to demand reforms to the country’s labor laws and an increase in the national minimum wage. More generally, SAFTU organizes for the “creation of JOBS for all, a living minimum wage, return of LAND, good housing for all and free quality education.”

SAFTU was formed as an initiative of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) who broke the ruling African National Congress (ANC)-led ruling alliance after the Mari-kana Massacre of 2012, during which 34 striking miners were killed by police.

The ANC once led the heroic struggle to bring an end to apartheid (the Jim Crow system of white political rule) but has since betrayed the poor and working masses. The ANC’s Cyril Ramaphosa, a billionaire and current South African president, was found to have egged on the police responsible for the massacre. The ANC has pursued anti-worker labor laws and has implemented widespread privatization of public resources which have worsened the conditions for the working class of South Africa.

The Workers Party stresses that history has shown that human dignity and rights for workers cannot be guaranteed by the ANC or any other capitalist government. In a party statement, the SWRP declared “for all the world to know that we as Socialists are committed to building the organ-ization of a revolutionary working class. A class aware of its own interests. A class that will over-throw the capitalist parasites. A working class that will seize power for the project of building So-cialism, in which no human will be exploited by another.”