Deepen struggle to reclaim public power from parasites on all fronts - SACP

Party says workers and poor are on the receiving end of unelected corporate rule, state capture and corruption

Statement on the occasion of the 2017 September 27th Cosatu-led strike against corporate state capture and corruption 

27 September 2017

The SACP wholeheartedly pledges its support behind today’s Cosatu-led action against corruption and state capture, and partly associated with the two evils, lack of investment in the productive sector, job losses, unemployment, poverty and inequality! 

Let’s defend public ownership and workers’ funds in support of development and democratic national transformation!

It is the SACP since the launch of its Financial Sector Transformation Campaign, more than 17 years ago, that has consistently been urging workers to get closer to their retirement funds, how and where they are invested and who is financed from the funds. In this regard, today the SACP is happy that the trade union movement is getting closer to playing a more active role. One of the immediate tasks facing the South African workers is to decisively confront the unrevealing manoeuvres by parasites to capture the almost 2-trillion rand of government employees pension fund administered by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). 

If anything towards such a capture happens, the workers of this country, Black and White united, regardless of which trade union they belong to, must stop the economy and drive out the parasites from all the key levers of public power that they have gained access to. 

State owned enterprises, public entities and regulatory authorities, whether it is SABC, SAA, Transnet, Prasa/Metrorail, PetroSA, Eskom, Telkom, Denel, the SA Post Office, Sentech, Usaasa, the Central Energy Fund (CEF), SARS, and so on, have been encircled by capitalist greed and plundering through corruption and state capture. The problem has become systemic, and is found at different levels of state organisation. Instead of national production development and democratic transformation, state owned entities are surgically sliced into tenders. They are being used to enrich a few individuals in the name of all, Africans in particular and Blacks in general. There is another dimension to the plunder, the involvement of conservative forces and monopoly capital.  

MultiChoice for example, a subsidiary of Naspers, the mouthpiece of the Broederbond, the ideological vanguard of apartheid, has become very rich. It is a digital and satellite pay television monopoly. The SABC, our public broadcaster is, on other hand bankrupt. It is seeking a bailout when in fact it has been exploited to enrich MultiChoice, parasites and others in different self-enrichment networks. 

The Guptas are, of course, a serious problem that we must confront as a matter of urgency. The independent judicial commission, first called for by the SACP, and which the former Public Protector prescribed as a remedial action, must be established as a matter of urgency, in fact as urgent as yesterday. The Guptas and their networks must be held accountable. 

In the same vein, we must hold accountable all others involved in corrupt dealings and corporate state capture. Domestic-based private companies, transnational corporations such as KPMG, and the SARS commissioner, Tom Moyane, who colluded with the company to concoct the fiction of the so-called SARS rogue unit that he then used to dismiss officials from work must be held accountable with equal force. The same must apply to others involved in perversion, corruption and state capture. 

The workers and poor are on the receiving end of unelected corporate rule, state capture and corruption. Thousands and thousands of workers are unemployed because of these problems. Thousands in the mining sector are now facing retrenchment because of corporate greed. We must fight this scourge, if we are to defend democratic national sovereignty, if our country is to become prosperous! 

Let’s build a capable democratic developmental state to serve the people wholeheartedly! 

In 1994 we achieved our national democratic breakthrough under a very difficult situation. The imperialist regime of neo-liberal globalisation was on the rise. The agenda, pushed mainly by transnational corporations in general, with finance monopoly capital in particular playing a dominant role, attacked trade regulation, pushed for deregulation of national economies in order to allow private monopoly capital to do as it pleases. Capitalist bosses and their mouthpieces pushed for the privatisation of state owned enterprises, outsourcing of state functions, casualisation of workers and all sorts of temporary employment relationships, including labour brokering. 

The SACP says: Down with labour brokering down!

In our country, instead of a democratic developmental state with internal technical and professional capacity, as well as strategic discipline to serve the people wholeheartedly, a different form of state was gradually fostered after 1994, based on the agenda of privatisation of state assets and outsourcing of state functions. In short, our post-1994 state has become a tender state. Almost everything that remained in the hands of the state is centred on, and is organised through tenders. 

The state can in fact deliver on many of its functions on its own without the privatisation and outsourcing agenda, if its productive capacity and strategic discipline were not hollowed out by tenderisation. Tenders are used to enrich a few individuals in the name of everybody – particularly the abused name Black people. Ironically, it is Black people in general who are ruthlessly exploited in tenders. 

Further, while the mineral resources of our country have been restored to the ownership of the people as a whole, with the state acting as our custodian, the reality is that this is undermined in many ways. The state’s custodianship of our mineral wealth is more centred on issuing out mining licences to privately owned companies that eventually assume control of our mineral resources through their ownership of the profit derived from the resources. 

Very recently, a mining charter strengthening privatisation of ownership through the so-called free carry-shares for individuals was released. The SACP says NO: We must use ownership transformation in the mining sector to assert the Freedom Charter’s principle: The mineral wealth of our country belongs to the people as a whole. There must be national ownership development in mineral resources as opposed to enriching a few in the name of all.   

Water and other business licenses issued by the government are firmly entangled in the regime of the tender state, and cannot be left enriching a few individuals and large corporations. The reason why many people remain poor and unemployed is because of the system of the self-enrichment by a few, who use national resources and/or privately amass the wealth produced by the labour of exploited workers. The SACP says this entire regime of robbery must come to an end! There must be peace, transformation, development and prosperity for all – especially the direct producers of wealth, the working class. 

Corruption and post-1994 capture by corporations, of sections of, and corruptible, public representatives, public office bearers, public sector officials, board members and executives of state owned entities and development finance institutions, all anchored on the tender state, have become widespread. Instead of independent decision-making to serve the people, the networks of captured individuals make decisions that are primarily motivated by private interests based on tenders. 

Some of the captured individuals were appointed to their positions because of the influence of private business interests that had captured their appointing authorities and them. Concerned about the rot, three years back in 2014 the SACP became the first organisation to point out that our country was facing the problem of corporate state capture, and linked with it, increasingly, cancerous levels of corruption.

In June/July 2015, the last alliance national summit to be held to this day produced a declaration. All alliance partners agreed, through the declaration, to the existence of the problem of corporate capture. We all committed ourselves, without exception, to do our best to uproot the problem. Today’s action led by Cosatu fits in very well with the letter and spirit of the alliance’s 2015 declaration. We call on all South Africans, Black and White united, to deepen the struggle against corporate state capture and corruption. We must make our government, and our state as a whole, to serve the people wholeheartedly, as opposed to private corporate, personal, family or factional interests. 

We must deepen the struggle to reclaim public power from parasites on all fronts! 

Issued by Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, National Spokesperson and Head of Communication, 27 September 2017