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At the time of penning this piece, in specific response to an editorial ” Mining Works” (Mercury 14.8.2015), the Rand had dropped to R12.90 and R20.10 to the U.S. Dollar and British Pound respectively.

I recall what Moeletsi Mbeki ,the author of ” Architects of Poverty:Why African Capitalism needs Changing” predicted that “SA’s ‘Tunisia Day’ ( that period when the Islamic Salvation Front trounced the National Liberation Front of Algeria in 1991 and it promptly cancelled that election!) will happen in 2020! He opines because by that year China’s policy of “mineral intensive industrialisation will (have been) concluded.

I suspect Moeletsi’s prediction may be off by a few years,in the light of that editorial and what I conclude here under for, that day could happen in 2016 or at the very least the powder keg would have been ignited to usher in an era of intense unrest and by 2019 a coalition of parties would have trounced the ANC.

I spent three days in Richards Bay, (between 12-14 August )and I came face to face with a town that was dying and, as if the dry spell or severe drought wasn’t enough,the jagged edge of potential unrest and simmering anger loomed as major mining companies were in the throes of “downsizing”(let that read dismissing employees).

Considering the volume of referrals of unfair dismissals and unfair labour practices to the CCMA in that town, I believe that the Mercury editorial may be on to something.

It took President Zuma six years into his presidency to acknowledge that job losses and power cuts are linked but does not constitute a mitigating factor using the Moeletsi Mbeki scale to allow the ANC a comfort zone. Incidentally that is not the only cause for job losses.

Let me use Richards Bay as a yardstick to press the point why I suspect that SA’s ‘Tunisia Day’ could happen much, much sooner than Mr Mbeki predicts. As I went about my duties I couldn’t help noticing the “For Sale” sign boards on properties, as well as advertisements in the Zululand Observer that circulates in that town.That and the “Job seeking” section which seemed to dominate the many pages of that newspaper coupled with the inordinately high volume of referrals to the CCMA (in my opinion) led me to the conclusion that the town was quietly dying. It’s difficult to paint a picture of the dejected faces of dismissed employees sitting on the benches in the reception area of the CCMA in Richards Bay as they sought either compensation or reinstatement and sometimes both against their erstwhile employers on the grounds of being unfairly dismissed or unfair labour practices as alleged in their referral forms.

With Marikana being dissected in Parliament lately and the Deputy President being labelled a “murderer” by the EFF what I sense is that the ANC is facing rebellion both from within and outside and like the National Liberation of Algeria could find itself ousted through the polls, if Jesus (pbuh) had not come by that time (President Zuma said that the ANC would be in power until Jesus – or was it “Julius? – comes).
With mining houses job shedding comes the reality of a fierce competition for scarce jobs with labour brokers exploiting their vulnerability thus exacerbating the potential for unrest unless the ruling party starts to seriously address the myriad of systemic failures by frankly  assessing its failures and acting robustly towards rectifying them.I like what Moeletsi Mbeki likened the ANC leadership to a ‘group of children playing with a hand grenade’.

One day, he reckons, they will figure out how to pull the pin out and everyone will be killed and it’s pathetic blaming of apartheid is being scorned by the masses who have anointed Julius Malema as their saviour.

Yes,there is truth in the closing words to that editorial, ‘there is no time to lose’.

About Kgomotso Radiphochwa (Project Manager)

I am Kgomotso Radipochwa born and bred at Morokweng, Northwest Province. I am currently living in Cosmo City. I am co-founder and Director of Impilo Foundation and the current Project Manager for Zandspruit Citizen Journalism Project. Citizen journalism project is centred on empowering Zandspruit Community to research and report on issues that are important to citizens of immediate area, and that will support community development. The project aimed to promote participatory democracy within the community. I am currently a student at Monash South Africa, studying Bachelor in Social Science majoring in International Studies and I was Community liaison Officer for Monash South Africa Community Engagement. I also sit on Lensaria Development Networks Board of Directors. My personal philosophy about community development is to create opportunities to develop thinking community, deepen understanding and enable community member to take thoughtful action

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