Anglo American former chairman, Gavin Relly’s “revolution of economic opportunity” has yielded very little for the Black masses of South Africa. What it has instead done is to keep Apartheid intact without the overt racist ideology, argues Mxolisi ka Nkomonde. Tweet him on @MxolisiBob
In Anglo American’s Annual Report for 1989, Gavin Relly, the former Chairman said Anglo American seeks an interface with the unions where a “revolution of economic opportunity” will come to light in which “Blacks liberate themselves from the oppressive arm of officialdom and take charge of their lives in a way which was simply not possible in the past”
The biggest problem with Relly’ thinking and his parasitic Anglo American corporation is that most of the colonial and apartheid laws were at the core of their business for at least 60 years. And so how can the same parasite claim to be the “leader” of some “economic revolution”?
The answer lies in Labour Union leadership which became part of the oppressive forces against Black people in South Africa.
Anglo American launched its “Employee Share Scheme” where mine workers became “investors” in their own oppression with the help of their Union Leaders, specifically the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The “empowerment” fund had a board of trustees that consisted of leaders from mining capital and union leaders. The general secretary of NUM, Cyril Ramaphosa became the first Chairman.
It is through vehicles such as “Employee Share Schemes” that mining capital would control Blacks through financial tyranny with union leaders becoming a part of the bureaucracy in the financial cartel that has existed in South Africa since the days of Cecil Rhodes and Rothschild in the late 1800s.
After 1994 this relationship between “Employee Share Schemes” translated into a new concept called Black Economic Empowerment where AMB Capital under the “advisory” of New Africa
Investments (NAIL) which boasted Cyril Ramaphosa as Deputy Executive Chairman led a “broad based empowerment” deal with Johnnic Holdings Limited, an Oppenheimer controlled company thus part of the Anglo American conglomerate, which controlled atleast 25% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product at the time.
The deal was worth R2.7bn and R2.1bn of the funds came from labour union pensions or “Employee Shareholder Scheme”. The New York Times on the 24th of September 1996.
described it thus: “Both sides got a bargain. Blacks bought a big share of the nation’s best known company at 11% below market price. Anglo hopes it bought a shield against the potential hostility of a new black government for the decades it supported apartheid and profited from a cruel system of migrant labor”.
The New York Times went on to say: “In many cases, these deals lead to instant millionaires”. These “instant millionaires’ were union leaders and politicians while workers kept their Apartheid wages in return for “broad based empowerment”.
These “Employee Share Schemes” go across the spectrum not just in mining and they include:
- National Council of Trade Unions Investment Holdings
- Mineworkers Investment Company
- Sactwu Investment Holdings
- The Food and Allied Workers’ Union Ikhwezi Company
- Kopano Ke Matla
Unionists such as Marcel Golding, John Copelyn, James Motlatsi, Michael Cheadle joined Ramaphosa as “businessmen” fulfilling Gavin Relly’s vision of a “revolution of economic opportunity” that he laid out in 1989.
In October 2016, Anna Orthofer, PhD candidate from Stellenbosch University published research on income and wealth inequality in South Africa which has these startling revelations:
- The wealthiest 10% of the population own at least 90-95% of al the wealth
- The highest earning 10% receive 55-60% of all income
- The next 40%of the population (considered middle class) earn 30-35% of all income but
owns 5-10% of all wealth
- The poorest 50% of the population who still earn 10% of all income own no measure of wealth at all
Since wealth and income in South Africa are still determined by race it goes to show that Gavin Relly’s “revolution of economic opportunity” was all about keeping Apartheid intact without the overt racist ideology.