28 February 2010

SACP Central Committee Statement

SACP Press Statement 28 February 2010

Central Committee Statement

The South African Communist Party Central Committee held its first regular meeting for 2010 over the weekend of 26th – 27th February.

The CC agreed that the SACP’s call to our membership, to our alliance partners, and to South Africans in general is straight-forward: Let us all remain focused on the key problems confronting our country – unemployment, poverty and inequality. Let us close ranks and unite around addressing these key challenges. Let us make a clear distinction between: 
  • differences and debates based on bona fide policy challenges, on the one hand; and
  • battles requiring an absolutely uncompromising stance on the other. 

In the latter category, in particular, the SACP believes we need to place in prime position the struggle to roll-back and defeat the corrosive scourge of corruption in and between the private and public sectors. The SACP calls on its members, on the working class, on the great majority of South Africans to join us in a relentless battle against this grave danger to all that we have already achieved in our democracy, and to all that we still wish to achieve.

Over the past months, SACP structures, working closely with COSATU affiliates, have played a leading role in the fight against corruption. In Krugersdorp, for instance, SACP local structures have exposed corruption involving councillors selling RDP houses. In KZN our provincial structure is leading a campaign for transparency around serious allegations and anomalies in the provincial developmental bank, Ithala. The CC expresses its full support for these and other actions taken up by our structures. We have resolved to seek to build a broad coalition of forces fighting against the scourge of corruption.

This is not just a moral battle, it is also a struggle against a system. We must roll-back an economy in which everything becomes a commodity, in which everybody has his or her price. Either we roll-back this system, or it will roll us back. We need to insist that there are basic human rights to safety, to education and training, to a job, to health-care and a sustainable environment, to shelter and to a community life of dignity. We need to roll back the domination of the market in all of these key areas of our lives.

All of our shared programmes in the ANC-led alliance are related to achieving a society based on these values of human solidarity. In particular, the SACP welcomes the categorical statement from government in the President’s state of nation address, and in the Minister of Finance’s budget speech that priority number one is to place our country onto a new, developmental growth path in which jobs and greater equality are the key priorities and key measures of success. Government’s recently unveiled Industrial Policy Action Programme is one key pillar in this regard.

But to advance all of these objectives we need to ensure that public resources are used developmentally and not misdirected into private accumulation. The misdirection of public resources through illegal and even legal but anti-social rent-seeking of all kinds must be halted – these include fraudulent grants, tender-preneuring, the excessive outsourcing of state capacity, import fronting under the guise of BEE, and exorbitant payments to public-sector managers.

There are a number of systemic issues that need to be radically transformed: 
  • More and more we run the danger of having state departments tendering out almost all of their activities. We need an activist state. It is the core task of the state to render directly a public service to the public – not to render out tenders to tenderpreneurs and all kinds of rent-seeking intermediaries.
  • Many tasks can also be conducted through the state working hand-in-hand with local communities and cooperatives – in the construction of housing for instance.
  • This is not to say that there are not services which need to be contracted by the state from private providers. Where this occurs we need much greater transparency around the tendering process. At the local level communities need to be informed about who has tendered and for what. And when a tender has been awarded the community, again, needs to be informed, with the reasons given.
  • On the question of life-style audits, the CC fully supports policies and regulations currently in place in regard to elected public representatives. The declarations required of public representatives need to be enforced and the importance of public access to these declarations is fully supported. We also fully support the statutory right and obligation of state entities like SARS to pursue life-style audits where appropriate and without fear or favour. We also see the media as a key ally in the struggle against corruption. However, we need to guard against the trivialising of life-style audits in which we have media-driven beauty contests and in which there is a very real danger of factional manipulation. 

Let us unite in action around our shared alliance programme of action. We make this call in the context of a political situation in which it is easy to lose focus, and to become distracted by the melodrama of small but loud-mouthed factional groupings hell-bent on undermining the very substantial strategic unity that now prevails across our alliance and across much of government that is hard at work.

However, to speak of a substantial strategic unity across our alliance and through government does not mean that there are not important, outstanding matters that require further discussion, debate and resolution.

These matters include the premature proposal for a wage subsidy to encourage youth employment; the unfinished discussion within the alliance on how to align macro-economic policy with the key strategic challenge of placing our economy onto a different, developmental growth path; and the recent exorbitant electricity tariff hikes.

Youth wage subsidy unwise

On the proposed youth employment wage subsidy, the SACP notes that this idea was unwisely floated in last week’s budget speech without proper processing and without any consultation with COSATU, the SACP, or, for that matter, the ANC itself. While we certainly need to take the challenge of millions of unemployed youth extremely seriously, the potential abuse of a wage subsidy to employers appears to have not been seriously considered. Unless this measure is very diligently regulated and monitored, the danger is that employers will use it as a cover to dilute worker rights, and use it to substitute incumbent full-time workers with temporary, subsidised youth employees. The SACP will engage with our alliance partners on a range of proposals, including around youth in-service training, that we believe are better able to address the challenge of youth unemployment.

Business Unfinished

In regard to the alignment of macro-economic policy with our industrial policy and developmental growth path, the SACP notes that the alliance task team mandated by our alliance summit in November has not done the work required of it. The SACP will be engaging its allies in the coming days to ensure that real progress is made in this area. In particular, we believe that unduly high interest rates are continuing to attract short-term speculative flows into our country, which, in turn, inflate the value of the rand. An over-valued rand impacts on our critical manufacturing sector by dampening export competitiveness and by encouraging imports that undermine local job creation.


On the electricity rate hike the SACP has joined millions of others in expressing grave concern about its impact on workers and the poor. However, condemnation of the hikes is not enough. In the first place, lest we now repeat old errors, we need to recognise the fundamental source of the generation capacity back-log which has now required a costly generation build programme. The core of the problem dates back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, when government set about privatising Eskom on the seriously mistaken illusion that the private sector would be willing to build generation capacity and still provide affordable electricity. The years lost as a result of this illusion are now costing all of us.

In the second place, it is not good enough to lament. Failure to address the generation back-log at this point would be even more disastrous for our economy and therefore for jobs. We would like to see government together with all South Africans provide much more active leadership around proactive steps to have a popular energy-saving campaign. During the rolling black-outs there were the beginnings of such a campaign, but it seems to have largely been forgotten. We need to take a leaf out of the inspiring example of a country like Cuba which, when facing very serious energy challenges, has not simply imposed, top-down price-hikes on its people, but has always sought to work closely with its mobilised citizens. In this context, we need to see a much bolder approach to the mass roll-out of solar geyser heaters and other ways in which, at a grass-roots level, everyone can contribute to saving energy costs.

We need also to return, once more, to strategic questions around the impact of capital-intensive energy guzzling industries like aluminium smelters. These plants create few jobs and are sustained by long-term, low-priced electricity deals. The raw material (bauxite) is imported, and these smelters are basically exporting South African electricity. South Africans are paying for this irrational arrangement.

However, to repeat the core message emerging from the Central Committee, while youth unemployment, macro-economic policy and the price of electricity are all areas requiring further discussion within our Alliance, it is absolutely imperative that we do not allow these debates to distract us from the key unifying task confronting our movement. Let us build unity in action around our shared strategic priorities. Let us implement together the important new industrial policy action programme. Let us defeat the corrosive effect of corruption in the public and private sectors.

In line with CC practice of receiving policy briefings from ministers and senior officials, this weekend’s CC received briefings on, amongst other things, human settlement and rural development policy.

Year of the Branch

The SACP has declared 2010 to be the Year of the Branch. In this year we hope to build even more localised branches by focusing on the voting district as the key building block. As we build our local structures one of the first strategic tasks is for communists to support government’s Local Government Turnaround Strategy. We urge all our branch, district and other structures to mobilise the people to actively participate in shaping the turnaround plans of every municipality in the country over the next few weeks. For these turnaround plans to be effective, they must be owned by local communities. We must ensure that these plans are mass-driven, not technocratic, and are included in the integrated development plans (IDPs) that shape municipal budgets. We must link the campaign on the municipal turnaround plans with our 2011 local government elections campaign and build our new voting district SACP branches. It is through local vigilance, local participation, organisation and mobilisation that we will also defeat the scourge of corruption.


On the international front, the CC noted the deepening social and economic crisis in Greece. This is one more indicator that the global capitalist crisis is far from over. The crisis in Greece is linked to the neo-liberal orthodoxies embedded within the EU, in which there is a monetary union but not a fiscal union. Countries like Greece have been forced to impose tough monetary including interest rate and inflation policies that favour big European banks, while the fiscal responsibility for raising public funds and allocating them resides at the national level. The SACP supports its allies in Greece, including the trade union federation, PAME, and the Communist Party of Greece, KKE, in their struggle to ensure that it is not the working people and poor of Greece who are forced to carry the burden of this crisis.

Our solidarity goes to the people and government of Chile following the devastating earthquake on Saturday.

Together, let us be vigilant!

Tivusa Tingwenya!

Let the tenderpreneurs, the fraudsters, the rent-seekers, those who grow fat from stealing from the people, let them tremble!

Issued by the SACP

Contact: Malesela Maleka, SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802

by e-mail


Post a Comment

Post a Comment