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South African Economy Paralyzed As Miner Strike Spreads To Truck Drivers

Tyler Durden's picture


While we have been predicting that the South African miner strike, which started 2 months ago, and which despite (or rather due to) a one-off concession by Lonmin to hike worker pay by 22% is more entrenched now than ever, would spread to other countries, we failed to anticipate that it could also move to other domestic industries. Which is precisely what has happened as 20,000 truck drivers in the South African country decided to go on strike following the example of their miner brethren, demanding a 12% wage hike, and in the process crippling the South African economy, bringing virtually every industry to a halt. Why did they take the risk? Because they suddenly realized that they have all the leverage in a globalized society in which as we explained in "Trade-Off: A Study In Global Systemic Collapse", even a several hour complete trade paralysis can and likely will lead to total social de-evolution: an outcome which the status quo which determines wages paid to workers, would seek to avoid at all costs. Next up: the second global worker revolution. Marx would be proud.

From AP:

ATMs lacked cash, fuel stations were running dry and hospitals saw vital coal supplies diminish Tuesday as South Africa felt the pinch from a truck drivers' strike that entered its second week.


The strike has halted the delivery of goods across the country, as more than 20,000 workers dig in on their demand for higher wages.


Fuel pump stations have begun to dry up in several areas in Gauteng province, the country's economic centre, according to the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA).


"Some garages in Gauteng have been reporting fuel shortages since this past weekend," said Fani Tshifularo, the association's spokesman.


"Unfortunately garages do not keep large reserves of fuel on premises, so shortages are likely to occur faster," he said.


On Tuesday hundreds of strikers brought central Johannesburg to a crawl, as they marched across the central business district. They handed a memorandum of demands to the offices of the transport sector bargaining council, before dispersing.


"We are here to protest that we need a 12 percent (pay rise). Whatever the employer is promising us, it's just peanuts," driver Mabule Molelemane said.


Other protest marches were held in major cities across the country.


According to transport authorities, 80 percent of all freight in South Africa is conducted by road.

Next steps: hoarding as society realizes that suddenly the trading arteries of society are jammed up, and it is every man, woman and child for themselves. Sure enough, the warnings begin:

SAPIA warned the public to refrain from panic buying, saying the shortages were not yet widespread.


Since the beginning of the stayaway, striking drivers have torched delivery trucks and assaulted non-striking workers, aggravating the supply crunch.


"We are concerned about the safety of our workers, as a result plans have been made to provide additional security to non-striking workers to deliver fuel," said Tshifularo.


The strike has also halted the delivery of coal to public hospitals, which need the fuel to operate boilers for cooking and water heating.


The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, the largest public hospital in the country, said it had not taken delivery of coal since last week.

And while the dramatic risks and implications for both the South African economy, the region, and the world in general can not be overstated if this economic paralysis continues, the irony is that with each successive striking victory, more and more workers both in South Africa, and everywhere, will soon be empowered to demand equitable treatment, which means higher salaries, which means less corporate profits, which means higher prices for everyone.

We hope the Wall Street sell side community is starting to get the picture.

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Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:34 | 2851513 Cassandra Syndrome
Cassandra Syndrome's picture

Perhaps the South African Central Bank can print more Truck Drivers?

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:36 | 2851521 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Cassandra Syndrome

Fucking Google can.

Driverless trucks coming to a nation near you.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:45 | 2851570 Dalago
Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:49 | 2851575 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



Automated MNU Instructional Voice: [in MNU Humvee] When dealing with aliens strikers, try to be polite, but firm. And always remember that a smile is cheaper than a bullet.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:49 | 2851590 youngman
youngman's picture

They probably do already

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:55 | 2851617 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

How dare these workers form unions and go on strike!  How dare they ask for better wages! 

This is why we should ban unions in America!  The serfs may rise up against us!

Let them eat cake!

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:57 | 2851851 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

It's just one big continuum.  The collective bargaining of today becomes the socialism of tomorrow, running head first into the brick wall of resource constraints.  In america, we've probably experienced the peak of collective bargaining, but unfortunately we asked for too little in the process. 

The thing I don't understand about incremental collective bargaining is the deep rooted desire to continue in the status quo.  If I was a mine worker and was to the point where I was wielding machetes and threatened with death on a daily basis by virtue of my strike, I cannot fathom that I would accept a measly pay increase and then go about my business.  It would seem we would be right back where we started in only a short trot into the future.  If you're at that point, why would everything not be on the table?  Why would you willingly choose to become a slave again, albeit for a few more table scraps?  Seems like a wasted opportunity.

[and yes, I realize we get into psychological limitations...  e.g. battered wife syndrome, but I digress]

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 11:00 | 2851856 LULZBank
LULZBank's picture

Fitting post for the handle.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:09 | 2852031 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I concur that it's easier said than done...  and that I haven't been posed with the same situation.  However, it doesn't change the fact that this form of collective bargaining is a temporary solution, at best...  Sometimes it's merely caused by inadequacies in a particular locale or industry...  sometimes it's a symptom of much larger/macro problems.  In the end, capital always wins the dispute.  Either by continuing to profit from wage arbitrage or after the collective bargainers continue on the path too long and blow themselves up.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:35 | 2852145 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

The first key to affecting change is starting with something achieveable. 

Wed, 12/05/2012 - 03:43 | 3034897 Dealyer Turdin
Dealyer Turdin's picture

Because houses can come out of hoses and cost 50 cents, because the sun makes duckweed, and fish can feed themselves, because weed is a weed, and castles are just for parties, so yeah, the Taxman cometh to his oblivion, where he seeth not what man has made, but that which he would not pick up to return to his masters with, the loom of the loam, my shite!

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:54 | 2851615 Raymond Reason
Raymond Reason's picture

...and killing is softer with a song. 

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:57 | 2851620 hedgeless_horseman
Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:13 | 2851613 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

"Driverless trucks coming to a nation near you."


Hey, that's good thing.  The sheeple won't have any guilt when they blow them up in-route to acquire the food inside.  bring it.  Just think of what that will do for Krugman's "broken window" eCONomy.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:20 | 2852102 Treason Season
Treason Season's picture

And I was hoping Gully was inside, damn!

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:38 | 2851537 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

NFLX: the only stawkk to BUY today.  

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:59 | 2851623 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

You mean:  the stawk to sell, right?

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:48 | 2851585 slaughterer
slaughterer's picture

My Portfolio made 650% gains on NFLX in one day.  How does that stack up to gold and silver today?  

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:53 | 2851608 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

STFU about that piece of shit NFLX.  Troll your fucking book at Yahoo.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:05 | 2851654 HD
HD's picture

Whitney Tilson says NFLX will be the next Amazon - which only proves that hopium unicorn dust slowly eats away at the cognitive centers of the human brain. I'm assuming his next call will be that Radio Shack is the new Apple.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:58 | 2851629 Mr Lennon Hendrix
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Do you want a cookie?

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:14 | 2851683 LULZBank
LULZBank's picture

Also, ask where exactly he wants it.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:12 | 2851677 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Well now, unless you turned that profit into something real, it "stacks up" like any other paper promise.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:20 | 2851718 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture


Wed, 10/03/2012 - 11:34 | 2851946 Toxicosis
Toxicosis's picture

And how will that stack up to hyperinflation tommorow? 

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:00 | 2851634 Sparky_ZA
Sparky_ZA's picture

Yeah we have a central bank but they do not do bail-outs. Added to this our banks are pretty tight with credit and we don't do nirp or zirp.

But we are pretty fucked here. I assume to keep the exchange rate stable at 8:1 we need to print when US prints. Property inflation low, food and energy high.

Well, just sold my house

Moving away from the central part of the country to the relaxed coast.

It is going to get bad here if the currencies collapse. I think far simpler than the US. Here we have few sheeple just the deadly preditors. No complexity, no complaints, just kill or be killed. All the divisions you could possibly think about lie very close to the surface here. Just take away some water and all is ready for some blood to be spilt.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:14 | 2851686 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

In all sincerity, why aren't you leaving the country?

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:31 | 2851756 LULZBank
LULZBank's picture

He did'nt listen to Simon Black.

Why the heck you think one would not leave a country?

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 11:44 | 2851967 Sparky_ZA
Sparky_ZA's picture

Where to go?

America, If I did not have a wife and 2 kids I would consider coming now. I do believe that what will come the collapse of your currency will be good. Single,

Europe, wife and kids have german passport. Europe..... not sure, seem they have a few problems.

South America. Hmmm not sure

Asia. do not know if I will fit in.

Was thinking Canada.....

Besides, I have done my national service here before troops had any rights. We were trained hard and well. Given the right circumstances, I am a predator.

I know it sounds lame and I will get some down votes for this comment, If Ron Paul was pres in America I would come over there and sweep the steets if I had too.

It almost seems that no matter where you are in this fucked up world ....you are in for a hard time.



Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:21 | 2852109 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

Avoid the USSA, it is heading for Civil War II on one hand or the NWO's 1984 on the other. You might look into Australia or New Zealand, but they are in the process of being New World Ordered as well. Canada too, although there is lots of wilderness to get lost in.

I live in ageing Japan, where they prize social stability and will never cannibalize each other, but there's just not as much opportunity as there used to be. Singapore or Hong Kong are expensive, but if you have a viable skill set, there's work to be done. Don't worry about fitting in, if you're not native born, you never will. But if you're useful, you can do well. Other expats I know swear by Chile and Uruguay. Do some due diligence, consider your skill sets and where they can be immediately put to use, and get your family out. If you do stay, I'd align myself with other veterans and families you can trust right away. My people in SA say things are going from bad to worse.

Good Luck & Stay Safe,


Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:32 | 2851743 Monedas
Monedas's picture

I'm astonished to know they let those transplanted jungle bunnies drive heavy equipment !  You have to be a high level commie to be trusted with state property in North Korea !   Another example of English/Boer generosity of spirit !  That's where my decent instincts come from ! The depth of the humanity of her majesty's subjects and those of us in that loving circle is breath taking .... this is where my civility and gracious pride come from ! 

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:51 | 2851828 LULZBank
LULZBank's picture

I prefer the Egyptian civilisation. They made some wonders like Pyramids etc.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 11:19 | 2851888 Monedas
Monedas's picture

Wonderful monuments to death and slavery and God !   They were the Space Shuttles of their moment in history !   Circus and employment for government worshippers !

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:27 | 2852130 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Gods (plural)

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:16 | 2852083 fajensen
fajensen's picture

Entropy and Exponents will creep up on you: System complexity and interconnections grow linearly, however, the effort required to maintain this system will grow at an exponential rate thus rapidly outstripping the available ressources. "Globalisation" will go PooF!

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:34 | 2851515 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

Workers revolution is exactly what's needed. Along with banker hangings and Jim Cramer hanging is a good start

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 12:17 | 2852088 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

What have all the past "workers revolutions" led to?  Less liberty.  You want hangings, start with the complicit msm, then the complicit politicos and then the bankers.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 13:38 | 2852384 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Cramer will be hung to his own sound effects.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:35 | 2851516 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture

Will this upset the next season of Strike Back shooting schedule?

Stirke Back is like the ZH fantasy show, guns/blood/head shots and hoochie. Even the dressed girls have firm protruding nipples.

Oh and vast global conspiracies.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:35 | 2851518 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Remind me again. Does South Africa have a printing press?

Problem solved.


Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:44 | 2851805 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

Don't need one.  They are next door to Zimbabwe.  They can share;)

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:37 | 2851527 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

So I'm guessing that dropping money from a helicopter thingy isn't working out too well.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:39 | 2851532 holdbuysell
holdbuysell's picture

The linked article on systemic collapse is excellent. With only 3 days of food in the pipeline at any given time a truckers strike could be disastrous.

Thanks Tyler for reposting that paper.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:54 | 2851611 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

I agree 100%. Anyone who didn't read it last time around should take this opportunity to do so.

"Trade-Off: A Study In Global Systemic Collapse"

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 10:22 | 2851724 GMadScientist
GMadScientist's picture

"Sometimes, I feel a dereliction of duty is in my best interest." - Chief Chump Daryl Gates


Dumb example.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 11:37 | 2851955 Induced Coma
Induced Coma's picture

+1 for Schmuck and Hedgeless.  Had not read the first article, digging into it now. Always good to keep second article fresh in mind. Thanks guys.



Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:38 | 2851533 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

Charlie Munger says, Suck it up blackies!

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:38 | 2851535 LULZBank
LULZBank's picture

It aint comin' out without splitting your ass Bitchezz!!!

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 09:39 | 2851536 Super Marco
Super Marco's picture

Wow, thanks a lot Lonmin!

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