Our enemy class is jubilant about what has transpired since 1994 - Irvin Jim

Irvin Jim
26 January 2014

NUMSA GS says independent vanguard party of working class will call for nationalisation without compensation under worker control

Slides for NUMSA General Secretary Irvin Jim's address to the NUMSA Political School, January 26 2014

History of all hitherto existing society is the history of all class struggles

Structure of the Presentation

Why the working class needs to organise itself as a class for itself

  • Why existing forms of organisation of the working class are not adequate
  • Summary of what we understand the NDR to be about
  • How the Freedom Charter has been abandoned
  • Critique of ANC Vision 2014 and 2014 Manifesto
  • Why Numsa's resolutions are correct

The working class must consciously organise itself as a class if it is to lead the democratic revolution

Marxism-Leninism teaches us that, at all material times, we must fiercely defend the political independence of the proletariat from petit-bourgois and bourgeois influences, if the proletariat is to lead the democratic revolution.

Hence, as Lenin said, "the proletariat can play the leading part in this (democratic) revolution only if it is welded into a united and independent political force under the banner of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, which is to guide its struggle not only ideologically but practically as well".

The Communist Manifesto states: "All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority".

Lenin says: "In a word, in order to avoid finding itself with its hands tied in the struggle against the inconsistent bourgeois democrats, the proletariat must be sufficiently class conscious and strong to rouse the peasantry to revolutionary consciousness, to direct its attack, and thereby to pursue the line of consistent proletarian democratism independently".

By calling for the political independence of the working class we do not reject class alliances

However the most important precondition for any class alliance is the complete, separate, party political independence of the working class from bourgeois and petit-bourgeois political influences.

Our tactic should be that we "strike jointly" with our class allies, but we march completely separately!  The independence of the working class must be guarded jealously even against the most friendly among the petit-bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie.

Lenin makes this absolutely clear in his Two Tactics, when he says: "A Social- Democrat must never for a moment forget that the proletariat will inevitably have to wage the class struggle for Socialism even against the most democratic and republican bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. This is beyond doubt. Hence the absolute necessity of a separate, independent, strictly class party of Social-Democracy. Hence the temporary nature of our tactics of "striking jointly" with the bourgeoisie and the duty of keeping a strict watch "over our ally, as over an enemy," etc.

The Numsa Special National Congress said the current Alliance with the ANC and the SACP is not taking us forward towards Socialism

In the struggle against apartheid, the working class was striking jointly with the democratic black petit-bourgeoisie and sections of the democratic bourgeoisie, but the political independence of the working class is now being dissolved into bourgeois democracy.

This is the kernel of the perspective that was articulated by the Numsa Special National Congress when it said: "The Alliance has been captured and taken over by right-wing forces. Those who are perceived to be against neo-liberalism or to be advocates of policies in favour of the working class and the poor are seen as problematic, isolated or purged".

We saw the Alliance, particularly the ANC, refusing to nationalise the mines, monopoly industries and the banks and the SACP, after some flip-flops, finally endorsed the SIMS report, which was commissioned by the ANC and paid for by the Chamber of Mines. The SACP endorsed this report which says nationalisation will lead to unmitigated economic disaster.

For more than 20 years, the apartheid labour market has not been transformed. Year in year out a series of Employment Equity Reports show that the white population continues to control the economy and the wage structure remains racist and colonial. There is no equal pay for work of equal value.

The little progress we achieved in the Labour Relations Act is now seen as a threat to jobs and labour brokers have not been banned.

Without a political party committed to Socialism in theory and practice, the working class will not be independent

There are those who say Numsa is wrong to have taken a resolution that the working class must abandon the ANC-led Alliance. They say that we risk splitting the democratic movement and entrenching the right wing. They say the Numsa resolution will secure victories to our class enemies and imperialist forces will win the day.

The Numsa leadership in particular, was accused of working with imperialist forces to weaken and ultimately overthrow the national liberation movement. This is what is being pontificated by some "advanced quarters".

Here is a fact: Already the enemy class, white monopoly capital, has been celebrating for the victories it has scored under the ANC-led Alliance. They managed to send money abroad through capital flight because of dismantling of exchange controls, financial speculation has rapidly increased, and South Africa is used as an imperialist base to re-colonise the continent.

The major banks are foreign-owned, all mines are foreign-owned, big monopolies such as Iscor (Arcelor-Mittal and Kumba Iron Ore Mines), SASOL, pharmaceuticals and forestry companies are foreign-owned, etc. The economy is more foreign-owned now than under apartheid.

Imperialist domination has accelerated its grip on the South African economy.

The financial sector: Dominated by 4 large privately owned banks (ABSA, Nedbank, FNB and Standard Bank).  ABSA is 56% foreign-owned, Standard Bank is at least 40% foreign owned.  The Reserve Bank privately owned.

SASOL is about 30% foreign-owned and Arcelor-Mittal is 65% foreign owned.

The pharmaceuticals sector:is Dominated by foreign-owned Aspen, Adcock-Ingram, Sanofi, Pfizer, Norvatis, etc. have all significant foreign-ownership. Today these companies are blackmailing the country and the minister is accusing them of genocide and chemical warfare. As the working class we should ask: what happened to the 100% state-owned pharmaceutical company that we called for?

Telecommunications: The Thintana Telkom Deal in 1997 (Malaysians and Americans), which led to massive job losses in Telkom from 67 000 to 25 000, has left the country poorer and in a worse socio-economic position.

The construction sector is also monopolised, dominated by four players: Murray & Roberts, WBHO, Aveng and Group 5, with foreign ownership.

These facts, which are just the tip of an iceberg, show that our enemy class is already much more jubilant about what has transpired since 1994. Is the ANC manifesto in any way changing these power relations in the economy?

Even the Vision 2014 announced in 2004 that was promised to the working class has not been fulfilled, and the current ANC Manifesto adds promises on top of broken ones

Reduce unemployment by half: In 2004 the unemployment rate was 23%, but in 2013 it had risen to 24.7%. In 2004 the number of unemployed was 3.7 million, but in 2013 it had risen to 4.1 million.

Reduce poverty by half: In 2004 the number of social grant recipients was 7.8 million, but in 2011 the number of social grant recipients had risen to 15.5 million. In 2004 the percentage of people living below R524 a month was 48%, but in 2011 this had increased to 52.3%.  This means that in 2004 people who were living below R524 were 22 million, by 2011 this number had increased to 26.5 million.

Provide the skills required by the economy: According to the Department of Labour's National Scarce Skills List in 2008 the total skills shortage in the economy was 512 357 people, the Department of Higher Education and Training's Skills Demand List reports that in 2012 the total skills shortage had increased to 1.7 million people.

Someone even promised to eliminate informal settlements by 2014!

Now we have a 2014 Manifesto that has yet another Vision 2030 of the NDP.

As Numsa we are doing a thorough analysis of all the Manifestos since 1994.

The working class is not at the helm of the Alliance

Colins Chabane is quoted as saying: "The government is not in alliance with the Congress of SA Trade Unions. It is in alliance with the ANC". He is further cited as saying that any conflict that arises over the NDP would be between the ANC and the COSATU, and   would not involve government.

Pravin Gordhan is quoted as saying: "I think we make too much of alliance politics ... alliance politics doesn't dominate all of the policy making and policy implementation in South Africa... It probably dominates the conversation in a few not unimportant areas, but they are few".

President Jacob Zuma is quoted as saying: ""When, for an example, if labour believes it can co-govern, that's the mistake, you can't, because if that were the case it would be another system".

President of COSATU Sdumo Dlamini agrees that the working class cannot govern with the bourgeoisie, he is quoted as saying: "That is true, we cannot co-govern with the ANC". He forgot that we called for the Alliance to be the "political centre of power".

The general view is that organised workers should be consigned to the barracks of the shopfloor and emerge to only vote, after voting they must go back to the barracks. We cannot be "gumboots unions".

We say that the working class, in trade unions and outside of trade unions, must be independently welded into a political party through which it must govern. They must take keen interest in governing the country.

If anything, those who oppose the working class co-governing, prove that Numsa is correct to say

In practice the Alliance is still in the hands of one alliance partner, the ANC. The ANC is the centre and implements government programmes and policies alone, with little or no consultation with other components of the Alliance.

The treatment of labour as a junior partner within the Alliance is not uniquely a South African phenomenon. In many post-colonial and post-revolutionary situations, liberation and revolutionary movements have turned on labour movements that fought alongside them, suppressed them, marginalised them, split them, robbed them of their independence or denied them any meaningful role in politics and policy-making.

As Numsa we have been detecting an abuse by the ANC of other Alliance partners. The alliance is used to rubber stamp neo-liberal policies of the ANC and not as a centre of power that debates policy issues and implementation.

The Alliance operates and works during election periods and it is our experience that the working class is being used by the leader of the Alliance - the African National Congress (ANC) - as voting fodder.

What we have just said about the Alliance was noted by the Numsa Special National Congress. Within ONE MONTH after our Special National Congress, we were told that we cannot co-govern, and indeed, true to form, the President of COSATU agrees that the working class cannot govern the country along side the bourgeoisie as a transitional situation towards full worker control!

Those who say Numsa is wrong to ditch the ANC-led Alliance must take heed of what Engels said in 1850

Engels said: "The workers must not be led astray by the empty phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers' candidates will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance of victory. All such talk means, in the final analysis, that the proletariat is to be swindled".

When we talk about the need for an independent vanguard party to champion the interests of the proletariat, we are being frightened that the Alliance will break.

When we are inside the Alliance and say that the Alliance must be the political centre of policy formulation and implementation, we are rebuked that we cannot "co-govern". We are told that we confuse "minimum and maximum" programmes, and that as trade unions we must go back to basics, which is focusing only on shopfloor issues and leave political power to the ANC.

In this process of the working class being managed, poverty, unemployment and exploitation are rising.

This is exactly what Engels warned the working class against, way back in 1850!

Let us learn from history comrades, we are the industrial proletariat, we possess international experiences summarised in Marxist-Leninist theory

The NDR has never been the minimum programme of the ANC-Alliance, the Freedom Charter is the minimum programme

President Zuma is quoted as saying: "That is why in the alliance we use the term, a minimum programme of the alliance; it cannot be maximum. Now if all of us, whether in labour or in the ANC, failed to understand that difference, then we have a problem, because we are likely to overstretch issues that are not supposed to be overstretched and begin to think that in fact, as the labour movement, you begin to determine how the party, the government of the ANC, must continue governing and implementing policy. Of course it cannot happen". And Sdumo agrees!

ANC SG Gwede Mantashe says: "The tripartite alliance is an alliance between the national liberation movement and the two working class formations. These partners do not melt into an alliance and lose their class character and ideological outlook. They understand the National Democratic Revolution as the minimum programme. It is the preparedness to compromise that has made our unique alliance to work. We must continue working for the unity and cohesion of the alliance".

But the confusion seems to emanate from the SACP, when it says: "For the SACP a radical NDR is our minimum programme".

So the so-called minimum programme that everybody is talking about is the NDR. But this is pure confusion because the NDR is a revolutionary strategy, and its minimum programme is the Freedom Charter. In short, if the NDR is the minimum programme, then what is the Freedom Charter?

When we call for the Freedom Charter, as the minimum programme that informs the Strategy of the NDR, we are not "overstretching" anything.

This basic confusion between strategy and programme, explains why Numsa Special National Congress was correct to note that: "There exists little common understanding within the Alliance of the real objectives of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR)".

That is why Numsa is correct to form an independent, mass political party of the working class that is committed to socialism

We are of the view that, as Engels put it: "Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention....The progress which the proletarian party will make by operating independently in this way is infinitely more important than the disadvantages resulting from the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body".

The independent vanguard party that Numsa has resolved to be the catalyst to, will not "aspire to a change in social conditions which will make the existing society as tolerable and comfortable as possible" to quote Engels, but it its sole aim will be to stretch bourgeois democracy to its utmost limits, to show that bourgeois democracy is incapable of meeting the aspirations of the working class majority.

In this sense, the party we call for will not embed itself in the capitalist state.

It will retain its independence to agitate and mobilise the working class against the very capitalist state and the dominance of white monopoly capital.

The independent vanguard party of the working class that we envisage will not be a lapdog

Our envisaged party will call for nationalisation. If the bourgeoisie agrees, we will call for nationalisation without compensation. If the bourgeoisie agrees, we call for nationalisation without compensation under worker control.

Our envisaged party will call for progressive taxation. If the bourgeosie agrees, we call for heaviest taxation to the point of bankrupting the rich, if they agree, we will call for abolition of inheritance.

All these demands will be about dealing a blow to private domination by a few individuals of decisive means of production. None of such demands emanated from the SACP.

That is why in Numsa we say: "The South African Communist Party (SACP) leadership has become embedded in the state and is failing to act as the vanguard of the working class".

The envisaged vanguard party of the working class will be rooted in the United Front

As NUMSA, we must lead in the establishment of a new UNITED FRONT that will coordinate struggles in the workplace and in communities, in a way similar to the UDF of the 1980s. The task of this front will be to fight for the implementation of the Freedom Charter and be an organisational weapon against neoliberal policies such as the NDP.

In the same way the united front tactic has nothing to do with the so-called ‘electoral combinations' of leaders in pursuit of one or another parliamentary aim.

The united front tactic is simply an initiative to join with all workers belonging in a common struggle to defend the immediate, basic interests of the working class against the bourgeoisie.

We therefore think that every action, even the most trivial everyday demand, can lead to revolutionary awareness and revolutionary education; it is the experience of struggle that will convince workers of the need for socialism.

The key thing therefore, in this united front will be that it must be based on concrete struggles, and not on some historical sentiment or holding hands of leaders in front of media cameras

Thank You!

Issued by NUMSA, January 26 2014

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 responses to this article

Its No Wonder ...
that commenters have been bemused by this arch piece of marxist/socialist anti-intelligence. They have gone in search of something more intelligible than this NUMSA self-serving rubbish from another age. You guys are going nowhere fast.

You have . .more

by Gdoyi on January 27 2014, 00:06
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Numsa GS
When one is beaten ideological, when one loose political power when system doesn't favour one anymore the only answer is formulation of Angered Politely Party. All these parties when they are formed objective is one ,to secure one or three sit in . .more

by Dukes on January 27 2014, 04:22
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a great road map to destroy the last functioning bits of South Africa.

by Walter on January 27 2014, 05:25
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Stop the talk, TIME FOR ACTION now!
We have allowed them to continue with parallel Apartheid (Afrikaans education) while we offered them Reconciliation and today they exclusively enjoy the Land and Wealth of the country. They even raise their tails claiming they invented Cars or Toilets . .more

by Kom Net Met Dromedaries on January 27 2014, 07:04
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Pipe dreams...... Part 1.

NUMSA have such a miniscule grasp of economics, that they would be able to play a game of Monopoly.

However... the struggle rhetoric with all the hackneyed phrases would make Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin proud.

All these foreign . .more

by Roy Allen on January 27 2014, 07:11
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Pipe dreams - Part Two.

What I find most ironical is that most of the problems currently being encountered within SA, are a direct 'follow on' to the ANC's 'struggle' tactics against the Nationalist government. This has turned out into a 'dual edged sword' that id now . .more

by Roy allen on January 27 2014, 07:11
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Freedom Charter............
The Freedom Charter was written in the 1950's by a bunch of white communists.
Not only is it unworkable and out of date but part of it was sidelined by the Big Man ,Uncle Nelson. He at least realized that major parts of it were out of modern step and . .more

by Pele on January 27 2014, 07:34
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Spot on NUMSA
Phambili basebenzi, lets bring this racist economy to its knees. Its better for the entire county to go to bed cry due empty stomachs that to have the elite crying due overfilled stomachs.

by Viva NUMSA Viva on January 27 2014, 09:33
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Dear mr Jim
Dear Sir. With respect to your beliefs for a better South Africa for all.
Please name me one country where your beliefs as listed in your long drawn out waffle above have actually worked? You have had how many years of Marxist Lenin politics in . .more

by jj on January 27 2014, 10:08
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by Roy Allen. I Will Tell...
you who the rabble rousers are counting as their back - Chine.

Little do they know, that like Zimbabwe and others North, China will come in smiling (they already are) with Chinese smiles and their avaricious claws firmly in grip of their . .more

by Gdoyi on January 27 2014, 11:41
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Just as a business owner speak to your employees and you will be surprise what they actually think about Zuma, Police, Municipality, Hospital, Government and lastly Irvin Jim and the unions. Just explain to them who pocket the money and who actually . .more

by Jannie on January 27 2014, 12:09
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This is archaic lunacy. NUMSA's language is the language of the 1930s. God help South Africa if even a portion of this nonsense is adopted as policy.

by NJT55 on January 27 2014, 12:14
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Question for Cde Irvin
So when are you going to stop talking and "walk the talk"?
Or are you going to continue, like that other vanguard of the working class - the SACP, to talk the talk while political fronting behind the ZANC?

If you believe in your dogma . .more

by Racist in ZANCspeak means someone who thinks (differently from them) on January 27 2014, 13:10
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Whitey arrived too early.
Poor old Africa. More intelligent people travelled north from the cradle of humanity to open up the first world while the less gifted travelled south and proceeded to wipe each other out ala Shaka Zulu and others. Old whitey then returned to Africa via . .more

by Herman Schroder on January 27 2014, 14:22
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I fail to see how Zimbabwe comes into this debate. Can't you as South Africans have your own debates without dragging us into them?

by Chimurenga on January 27 2014, 15:10
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South Africa Destiny - Growing Decline is Inevitable
One clear lesson is evident from African independence over the last 70 years is that it has ALWAYS resulted in severe decline never to recover again.
The writing is already clearly on the wall regarding SA with a declining economy, failing . .more

by ExPat on January 27 2014, 15:13
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Would it not be easier
to just ask Bob MugAbe to incorporate Seffrica into Zimbabwe and then we can immediately "rise" to the standards of living in that paragon of State controlled economy.

Tough lick for Irwin Jim though, he is not a Shona and will not share in the . .more

by James Bell on January 27 2014, 15:16
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All societies in transition are nervous and stressed. It reminds one of Europe at the beginning of the renaissance.

by Bokdrol on January 27 2014, 16:34
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To James Myburg/The webmaster

Why was my contribution regarding the US pilot who made R3 million in a week thanks to trade unions deleted??

It was under my own name and was neither racist, sexist, anti-god or anti DP??

You after all represent the "Democratic" . .more

by Roy Allen on January 27 2014, 16:34
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What a wonderful life!
Annual worker's monthly salary = R400 --- Cost of 7 year old Polo = R260 000
Quoted from Alec Hogg's BizNews ..

And yes, I know there's free education, medical care etc etc.

by RogerH on January 27 2014, 19:12
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@James Bell
Fortunately, Robert Mugabe knows where the boundaries of his country begin and end and is unlikely to ever think of annexing South Africa to Zimbabwe. The same cannot be said of some people I know. They seem to think that Zimbabwe is a province of . .more

by Chimurenga on January 27 2014, 20:00
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@Chimurenga 20.00
It is quite fascinating how history is distorted by bigots.

In 1910 who ruled the areas formerly known as the Cape colony, the Natal colony, the former Boer republics off the Orange Free State and Transvaal, the former colones of South and North . .more

by James Bell on January 27 2014, 21:16
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@James Bell
You are right on the money with respect to white people's inclination to enslave other races. But your understanding of history is a bit limited. Southern Rhodesia was formally annexed to the British crown on 1 October 1923 after the colonists had . .more

by Chimurenga8 on January 27 2014, 23:10
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Enslavement?? Or...merely Darwin's Theory of, "The Survival of the Fittest"?

Had this natural selection process NOT occurred in the 'gene pool', mankind would today, consist of a bunch of cripple, blind, and retarded . .more

by Roy Allen on January 28 2014, 00:05
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@Roy Allen
Top of the morning to you Mr Allen. It's strange that there are still jingoists among us long after the sun has set on the British empire. What sort of world are leaving in man?

by Chimurenga on January 28 2014, 10:10
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@Roy Allen
Revise the last statement to read: "What sort of world are you living in man?"

I got distracted; I am watching Helen Zille and Ramphele necking on eNCA.

by Chimurenga on January 28 2014, 10:21
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@Roy Allen
If hugs could win elections, these two sisters would beat the ANC hands down in the forthcoming elections. Unfortunately, it takes more than hugs and plastic smiles to persuade voters to cast their votes in one's favour.

by Chimurenga on January 28 2014, 10:23
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Please post my last two comments.

by Chimurenga on January 28 2014, 10:32
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zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...cough, cough, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........

by The Velvet Underground on January 28 2014, 14:17
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Ding Dong Bell Poor P****'s in the Well.
Does he really believe all this nonsense ? Is he blind to what happened in the Eastern Block with the Iron Curtain ! And what about the rest of Africa where they tried all this claptrap. Did it work ? NO IT DID NOT WORK. And It will Never Work either. So . .more

by Foghorn Leghorn on January 28 2014, 14:30
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Ding DONG II (Just in case the Gremlins cut short the above to fit.)
.....Did it work ? NO IT DID NOT WORK. And it will Never Work either. So there ! Instead of filling your head with all this rubbish go and learn some real skills. Then you won't have to steal to eat.

by Foghorn Leghorn on January 28 2014, 14:36
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For starters, I guess theat you are a Zim illegal immigrant, staying in some apartment in Berea - with 15 of your buddies from Zims- working as a security guard and planning a 'heist' as a result of the information that you have obtained through your . .more

by Mukirwa on January 28 2014, 16:23
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What is your point? I tried to make sense of what you said but failed. Perhaps it's my lack of education as you rightly pointed out.

by Chimurenga on January 28 2014, 18:20
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Who will Answer ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
When the Rainbow Nation of 1994 gets to look like the current day Zim-Bob-we - Who will Answer ?
Based on having received their national inheritance off the backs of the skills brought from Europe to create the most developed nation - Who will . .more

by White African on January 28 2014, 21:52
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