Missing the bigger picture in South Africa

Attention is on platinum strike despite violent protests else where that have left many children unable to go to school.

We all seem so fixated on platinum strikes in South Africa and I fear the bigger long term implication of the crisis in Marikana is being forgotten.

For example few people know miners in the gold sector have gone on strike. Even less people know violent protests in the Northern Cape province over a lack of basic services has meant thousands of children haven’t been able to go to school for months.

And while this is going on, the battle for the ANC is gaining momentum.

I laugh when some people quickly dismiss the Malema factor in all this. Every mine strike has been marked by his presence and his very loud mouth.

Love him or hate him, the expelled ANC youth league leader Julius Malema says what the people want to hear.

Forget about how corrupt he may be, or how he is being used by President Jacob Zuma’s political opponents to weaken the president. The fact is put him in front of the poor working class and he’ll get them fired up.

I predict there will be more strikes in the mining sector, more service-delivery protests and, yes, more opportunists like Malema trying to push their own agenda. 

We have the trade union body COSATU elective conference on September 17, anyone remember that? COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was very critical of Zuma recently.

The unions are clearly divided and that division translates into who a union body will vote for at the ANC elective conference in December. 

It’s not a given Jacob Zuma will get a second term as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Let’s not forget the bigger picture.

Those who understand South African politics know exactly what I mean.

They also know the next few months are going to be explosive.

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