Workers and Socialist Party
|Founded||18 December 2012|
|International affiliation||Committee for a Workers' International|
The Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) is a South African political party founded on 18 December 2012 by the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and mineworkers. The party's official launch was on 21 March 2013, the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 and Human Rights Day, a South African public holiday. The party is affiliated to the Committee for a Workers' International.
The initiative leading up to the founding of WASP was a response on the part of the DSM and mineworker strike committees to the aftermath of the Marikana miners' strike. WASP's application for registration with the Independent Electoral Commission has been approved, and the party intends to contest the 2014 South African general election. WASP is organised as an "umbrella-type" federation, including affiliated community and social movements that retain their separate organisational identities within the broader party structure. The DSM is now likewise affilitated to WASP.
In December 2013 the National Transport Movement, a 50,000 strong split from the Cosatu affiliated SATAWU union, affiliated to WASP.
WASP's manifesto calls for the nationalisation of the mines, farms, banks and the other "commanding heights" of the economy under democratic workers' control, increased state welfare, and the raising of the minimum wage. The party has pledged that WASP members elected to public office will only be allowed to accept workers' wages, with the surplus of their salaries being donated to the party itself, and that they will further be held accountable through being "subject to the right of immediate recall". The party has distanced itself "outright" from the "corruption of pro-capitalist politicians and political parties".
Mametlwe Sebei, WASP spokesperson, has stated that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) "can no longer claim to represent working class South Africans, and workers are getting organised in opposition to the ANC to hammer that point home". Scepticism has been raised, however, as to whether these predictions will turn out to be true. Citing a persistent loyalty to the ANC among many South Africans, prominent political analyst Steven Friedman says that although "There are millions of workers who are angry", "It's one thing for people to sing songs at a rally and another thing to change party loyalty".
WASP received 8 331 votes (0.05% of the total votes cast) on the national ballot and a further 4 159 votes on the three provincial ballots contested.
- DSM (18 December 2012). "Workers and Socialist Party founded by DSM and mineworkers". www.politicsweb.co.za. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- WASP (26 March 2013). "WASP Launch a Huge Success". workerssocialistparty.co.za. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- WASP (27 May 2013). "Worker and Socialist Party Application for Registration Approved by the IEC". workerssocialistparty.co.za. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- Niren Tolsi (11 January 2013). "Wasp: Party with a sting in its tail is going mainstream". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
- Elaine Swanepoel (22 March 2013). "Marikana a political watershed in SA". The Citizen. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
- Wasp tell Juju to buzz off as talks fail, Kwanele Sosibo, Mail & Guardian, 18 October 2013
- Mike Cohen (22 March 2013). "New South African Socialist Party to Push for Nationalization". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- WASP (22 March 2013). "Manifesto & Programme for Action". workerssocialistparty.co.za. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- SAPA (22 March 2013). "Scepticism over new party". News24. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- ELECTIONS 2014 ANALYSIS, WASP, 10 May 2014