South African Communist Party
3 December 2017
Annual Augmented Central Committee statement
The Augmented SACP Central Committee was held in Ekurhuleni over the weekend of December 1st- 3rd. As is customary, the last CC of each year is expanded to include a wider representation from SACP provinces and districts, and from the Young Communist League of SA.
In the Political Report presented to the CC by general secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande, the central focus was on progress made in regard to the key resolutions of our 14th Congress held in July, and specifically on questions related to:
- the current deteriorated state of the ANC-headed Alliance,
- the importance for the SACP of working for a serious reconfiguration of the Alliance, and
- the simultaneous and related task of actively building a mobilised left progressive front.
Our 14th Party Congress resolved that the SACP should engage our Alliance partners and other progressive forces on these perspectives and on the future possible modalities of SACP and more generally left electoral participation. It was further resolved that these engagements should be at all levels – national, provincial and local.
It has not been easy to have a constructive official engagement with the ANC on these issues, although from many quarters of the ANC there are expressions of interest in taking these discussions further. Clearly, and understandably, the ANC is currently caught in the run-up to its own highly contested national elective conference.
While there is interest from the side of our other alliance partners, COSATU and SANCO, it is clear that there, too, a better sense of what they will regard as the way forward will only become clearer in the new year. However, there is strong support from both for pursuing actively the desirability of a reconfiguration of the Alliance. The SACP is certainly not alone in believing that the ANC on its current trajectory is unable to offer unifying leadership to our Alliance and, indeed, to the country.
The CC agreed that while the ANC’s December conference will, for better or for worse, have a major impact on the future viability of our Alliance, it would be a mistake for the Party to over-invest expectations in the conference. Contrary to much media reporting, the SACP is not supporting a particular slate or presidential candidate.
We do however have some basic and principled expectations of the conference. In wishing delegates to the Conference well, we urge them to elect a leadership collective that will move the ANC out of its current leadership paralysis. The Alliance, and indeed our country, require an ANC leadership collective that is finally prepared to lead decisively not just in words but in action:
- the struggle against corporate capture of the state, other forms of corruption, and general leadership arrogance,
- the establishment of an independent judicial commission into state capture,
- support for the criminal prosecution, without fear or favour, of all those exposed in the Gupta e-mail and parliamentary hearings, and
- the removal of serially incompetent ministers.
Needless to say, this will also require dealing with the NPA, the Hawks, SARS, and SASSA, amongst others, as well as intensifying the first early steps in rebuilding honest and effective governance of key SOEs.
The SACP notes and commends the increasingly effective role that the majority in the ANC parliamentary caucus has been playing in leading parliamentary investigations into corporate capture of key parts of the state. We urge that the Energy Portfolio Committee investigate alarming evidence of probable gross financial criminality in PetroSA and the Strategic Fuel Fund.
The CC congratulated the SACP Free State comrades on their performance in the Metsimaholo by-election and thanked communities for their support to the Party. While the SACP had hoped to achieve a marginally better result, winning three council seats after only campaigning for two weeks was a remarkable achievement. We also achieved this result in the face of considerable destabilisation efforts and threats emanating from Ace Magashule and his corporately captured Free State ANC faction.
This is the first time in the post-apartheid period that the SACP has contested an election independently. It has sent a strong signal that we are indeed prepared to do so, and we refuse to be taken for granted.
In the course of campaigning the SACP encountered considerable anti-ANC hostility from working class communities. Notwithstanding this, the SACP did not run an anti-ANC electoral campaign – although this might well have won us considerably more votes. We ran a campaign focusing on the socio-economic condition and aspirations of working class communities and on the principled basis that the ANC does not belong to the corrupt and corporately captured. Already there are signs that this local action, occurring weeks before the ANC’s December Conference, has the capacity to contribute to a more sober engagement about the imperative of a radical re-configuration of the functioning of the Alliance, if we are to arrest the continued precipitous decline of the ANC.
The SACP warns the Free State corporately captured faction that any punitive action directed against SACP members in the province will be vigorously countered and will only back-fire against him and his faction within the ANC itself. We also note that this faction has threatened another re-run of the by-election. The SACP is not scared of such an eventuality – it would give us much greater scope for campaigning this time around. However, plunging the Metsimaholo municipality into prolonged paralysis for narrow party political electoral purposes would be a gravely irresponsible position to take.
A Full Scale Inquiry into Naspers and MultiChoice Buying of Government Policy
The SACP has for some years been calling for a full-scale inquiry into the corruption surrounding government’s decision to change its Set Top Box (STB) policy to remove encryption to solely benefit Multi-Choice. Current government policy is in contradiction with ANC policy in favour of encryption to reduce monopoly power and encourage competition in the Pay-TV sector. We note Naspers’s Koos Bekker’s high-handed dismissal today of the set-box matter as a marginal issue. Of course he would – the failure to move to encryption entrenches the absolute domination of our media sector by the Naspers-MultiChoice monopoly born and bred in the apartheid-era. Related to this, we have also called for a full inquiry into the corruption surrounding the agreement between SABC and MultiChoice in which a private monopoly was gifted the valuable public archive. Monopoly capital cannot be allowed to corruptly buy government policies and public assets!
The revelations this week of the minutes of SABC Board meetings with MultiChoice have reinforced our call for this inquiry. It is unacceptable for Naspers and MultiChoice to carry out an investigation into themselves. We call on parliament to initiate a full scale inquiry and for other independent statutory bodies to do so. Koos Bekker from Naspers, Imtiaz Patel from Multi-Choice and their cohorts must face the music.
The Gupta emails also point to suspicious payments by MultiChoice to ANN7. Knowing how Naspers and Multi-Choice operate, we also call for this to be investigated.
We have repeatedly said neither the Guptas nor the Ruperts! Now let’s tackle the monopoly capital of the Bekkers!
Electricity and Water tariff increases
Over the past ten years NERSA has approved electricity tariff increases by almost 353%. These increases are way beyond initial justifiable levels and are without policy guidance. The increases also reflect years of mismanagement and corporate looting of Eskom. The proposed 19,9% increase for 2018/9 cannot be justified. It will have a seriously negative impact on the lives of ordinary South Africans as well as on mining and industrial users with further retrenchments a likely outcome.
Water tariff increases are now scheduled to be increased by 14,4% with even greater impact on the working class and poor. This cannot be allowed. This proposed increase comes on top of the Minister of Water and Sanitation announcing that she proposes to cut off water supply to some 30 municipalities. This high-handed pronouncement fails to address the underlying problems of municipal sustainability as well as massive irregular spending in her own Department.
Stop Gender-based Violence! Build community safety and cohesion
Over the coming year, and following our 14th Congress resolution, the SACP will be intensifying our “Know and Act in Your Neighbourhood” campaign around the struggle to deal with gender-based violence, and all other symptoms of social alienation and disintegration in our communities. The SACP will intensify our work with many local and sector-focused formations in building community police forums, neighbourhood watches, safe-houses for those abused, support for victims in the courts, and other community initiatives to deal with the scourge of patriarchal and other forms of violence. The militarisation of the SAPS is aggravating the crisis. Weak institutional capacity to provide effective support in our government community safety and criminal justice also needs to be addressed.
The SACP is deeply concerned at news that government has abandoned its longstanding and principled opposition to Morocco’s continued colonial occupation of West Sahara. We will be engaging with our Alliance partners on this matter.
Centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution
The CC noted the important commemorative events organised by the SACP throughout South Africa on the occasion of the centenary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. For the first time in human history workers overthrew the oppressive rule of the bourgeoisie and embarked on the difficult route towards socialism in the face of unceasing destabilisation by the imperialist powers. In the course of these commemorations the SACP noted the absolutely central and selfless role played by the Soviet Union in the struggle against colonialism and white minority rule in Southern Africa. Whatever its own failures and ultimate stagnation, the Bolshevik Revolution remains a clarion call to the workers and oppressed of the world, still suffering under grim heel of imperialist oppression, in a world facing the prospects of capitalist-driven ecological and civilizational collapse. A world based on social solidarity and environmental care is both possible and imperative.
Issued by the SACP, 3 December 2017