SOUTH AFRICAN workers, landless labourers, campaigners and activists are preparing a massive demonstration outside the Earth Summit in Johannesburg. Inside the plush corridors of the conference complex in Sandton, surrounded by police and barbed wire, politicians and businessmen will be meeting from Monday.
They will claim to care about the poor and the environment. But really they will be discussing how best to protect profits. Outside there will be a huge protest on 31 August.
'The summit is a gathering of the rich and powerful, it is a gathering of the hypocrites, it is a gathering of the exploiters. We'll take Sandton,' said Trevor Ngwane, a protest organiser, last week. As a South African newspaper commented, 'South Africa can expect the same vocal protest that has accompanied major global gatherings since the 1999 Seattle summit of the World Trade Organisation.'
Dennis Brutus, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner and political prisoner, called the gathering 'a summit designed to increase hunger and hardship'. We should stand in solidarity with the protesters.