We have all heard Julius Malema’s numerous strident calls for “economic freedom in our lifetime”.   Now, having seen the National Union of Metalworkers of SA strikers’ behaviour, turning to violence and destruction when industry did not immediately give in to their demands for increases in excess of three times the inflation rate, I too have decided to become an economic freedom fighter.

View or download the letter by Ross Williams appearing in Business Day today – Setting workers free.

I will fight now for the freedom of workers from my “imperialist white capital”, by ensuring that I take all steps necessary to increase mechanisation in my manufacturing business, and to outsource manufacture offshore where I cannot mechanise.   In so doing, I will be able to take bold steps towards freeing the downtrodden workers from the indignity of punching a clock-card machine and selling their labour in return for wages, and set them free.

Free from having to work for the highest labour rates in the country, from a guaranteed annual bonus equivalent to a full month’s pay, from legislated provident fund contributions where the employer contributes the same amount rand for rand as the employee, from 20 days’ paid annual leave, from excessive and openly abused paid sick leave, from paid and accumulating family responsibility leave, and the host of other “benefits” that entrap them.

After all, what kind of a person would I be to expect people who would otherwise be free (ie unemployed) to continue to work in a business where they get daily on-the-job training, at the company’s expense, to enable them to improve their skill levels and thus earn more?   How can I ask them to work a full 40 hours a week, when most of their families and peers are able to sit at home with no such obligations?

No longer shall I be able to be classed as a white imperialist, using my invested risk capital to exploit workers.   I shall instead strive for the rapid emancipation of as many of my employees as possible from the dastardly system that has just seen them being granted increases in excess of double the current inflation rate, along with enhanced benefits.   My comrades deserve nothing less.