Vavi: Mines, apartheid created killers
Johannesburg - Colonialism, apartheid and international mining houses created serial killers and rapists, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Wednesday.
"While of course other countries have produced gruesome lists of killers, South Africa's history has created conditions under which there is a greater number of serial rapist and murderers. The problem is rooted in our colonial and apartheid history," Vavi said in a speech prepared for delivery.
He was speaking at the unveiling of the Umzinto Wall of Remembrance in KwaZulu-Natal to remember the victims of sugarcane serial killer Thozamile Taki, who killed 13 women and dumped their bodies in sugarcane and tea plantations.
"None of us can ever excuse such acts of barbarism, but I believe we do have to try to explain how such atrocities can happen. Because Thozamile Taki was not unique. There have been others in our recent past found guilty of similarly despicable acts," said Vavi.
He said slavery, racism and the "apartheid-era 'Bantustans' where (people) existed as a reserve army of unemployed workers" were part of the causes of serial crimes.
"Meanwhile, their racist bosses made their fortunes, exploiting our mineral wealth and cheap labour, creating huge international monopolies like Anglo-American and DeBeers, which are still exploiting us today...
"This cruel and immoral system was ruthlessly imposed through violence."
Vavi said colonialism and apartheid caused the current social problems, including the high unemployment figures.
"We have become the most unequal society in the world, with top businessman Pine Pienaar of Mvelaphanda taking home 4000 times as much as a farm worker getting the minimum wage.
"Proof that such problems are still with us today, was yesterday's (Tuesday's) announcement that unemployment is still rising."
The latest figures brought the official unemployment level to 25%.
"In the longer term it is becoming more and more urgent, if we are to prevent a full-blown social and political crisis, to restructure our economy to one that creates jobs, gives people a living wage and makes our society more equal and just, and creates an environment in which family and community life can thrive and prosper," said Vavi.