Neither neo-liberalism nor state capture is the solution - Blade Nzimande

SACP GS says policy changes needed to build a new and inclusive economy


Delivered by Dr Blade Nzimande, Party General Secretary


“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it”—Karl Marx, Eleventh Theses on Feuerbach.

Today we gathered here, like we do every year, in memory of Joe Slovo, commander of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the joint ANC and SACP liberation army—the people’s army, leader of the SACP, the ANC, workers’ shop steward, a revolutionary, author, and thinker of note. Slovo joined the National Union of Distributive Workers as a young worker after he left school in 1941. A year later, in 1942, he joined the Communist Party. This was six years before the racist National Party came to power in a whites-only general election held in 1948. The National Party reinforced the system of racism on which the South African state was formed in 1910 as a British dominion of a colonial type.

The British and white capitalists of South Africa were equally interested in the merciless super-exploitation of the oppressed African majority in particular, and black people in general. This was based on capitalist expansion from Europe, with racial discrimination and segregation playing a key role as part of its colonial features in South Africa, buttressed by systematic under-development of the oppressed majority. The colonial and apartheid regimes were also built on the foundation of, and further reinforced, patriarchal domination based on capitalist relations. Under the successive racist, sexist, and exploitative colonial and apartheid regimes, women from the oppressed majority, who experienced the triple oppression of class, race, and gender, were the worst affected.

Slovo despised the colonial oppression and super-exploitation of the majority, the exploitation of all workers, and patriarchy. His attitude was in part influenced by his own experiences in Lithuania, where he was born in 1926. His family left Lithuania because of the anti-Semitism which had engulfed many parts of Europe during World War 2. He was later to be inspired by the heroism of the Soviet Union during the war in its fight against fascism. As a result, he enlisted in the army to fight against fascism.

Back in South Africa after the war, Slovo went for an assessment at the University of the Witwatersrand to further his education. His assessment was successful. He was admitted and later earned himself a BA LLB. He dedicated his life, education, skills, and experience to end oppression in South Africa, to achieve democracy and advance a socialist transition towards complete freedom and universal social emancipation.

A lot has been said about Joe Slovo, mainly starting at his memorial service and funeral in January 1995, and over the years since the SACP started this annual commemoration. For example, Slovo took part in the drafting of the major documents outlining the programme, strategy and tactics of our struggle for liberation and social emancipation. He did this not only in the SACP but also in the MK and the ANC. He made contributions to the drafting of the Freedom Charter, the popular ANC Morogoro Strategy and Tactics document, and SACP programmes, to name but a few. Slovo also produced essays and pamphlets in his personal capacity. These include his popular “South African Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution” that he produced in 1988. However, Slovo was not only a theoretician and an author. He was not an armchair revolutionary.

Slovo took part in the different fronts of the struggle for liberation and social emancipation. His participation in workers’ struggles as a shop steward, advancing improvements in their working and employment conditions, pushing the struggle against labour exploitation by capital at the workplace; his participation in World War 2 against fascism; his participation in the programmes and campaigns of our broader political struggle for liberation, democracy, and socialism, speaks for itself.

It was in the practical realm of the struggle that Slovo, working together with Nelson Mandela, and other revolutionaries, took part in establishing the MK and served in its Military High Command. He preceded Chris Hani as the Chief of Staff of the MK. This is one reason the SACP is completely opposed to the factionalisation of the MK veterans’ organisation. We want a unified association of MK veterans, which is neither a paramilitary force nor an instrument for the factional interests of certain leaders in our movement. Hence, in memory of true and disciplined MK members and commanders like Slovo and Hani, the SACP is part of the reconstitution of the organisation of MK veterans as a unified, principled, association.  

Back in the country after years in exile

After spending 27 years in forced exile from 1963, and during which period he did not hold back but intensified his revolutionary activity for liberation, democracy, and socialism, Slovo returned to South Africa in early 1990. He played a key role in the negotiations for our democracy.  

After that, neither did he sit back following our 1994 democratic breakthrough, nor did he wallow somewhere in the abstract, where others enjoy armchair criticism of those involved in implementing transformation and development. Towards the first one-person one vote democratic general election held without regard to race and gender in 1994, he was nominated to serve as a Member of Parliament. Slovo accepted the nomination and subsequently his appointment as the first Minister of Housing in the first democratically elected government led by Nelson Mandela as the President.

Amidst huge constraints, in his capacity as the Minister, he was innovative in finding policy ways to expand housing coverage for the workers, the unemployed, and, in general the poor, who were excluded by the commercial banking monopolies. Alternatives that Slovo started included social housing.

In memory of this theoretician, author, and vanguard cadre in the struggle to both interpret the world and change it, we need to strengthen integrated human settlements and combine it with the struggle against hunger, poverty eradication, and the struggle for access to quality healthcare for all: the Triple-H Campaign that was led by Chris Hani in the early 1990s. Through integrated human settlements planning and implementation, we must dismantle the legacy of colonial and apartheid spatial development, including racial segregation, gender discrimination and class exclusion. This requires increased investment by the government in developing adequate economic and social infrastructure, and in maintaining and securing public infrastructure.

Network infrastructure such as water, sewer and sanitation, paved roads and streets, railways, and reliable electricity supply, will play a key role in driving a developmental agenda in our country. Greater attention also needs to be paid to rural and township infrastructure development and maintenance. Infrastructure development and maintenance are also a key employment driver.

Expanding mobile communication connectivity has also become an important development imperative. Also, broadband infrastructure can unlock other economic and social development opportunities, including employment. We should assert it as an integral part of our national infrastructure development programme. Expanding free access to Wi-Fi hotspots, with greater attention to rural areas, townships, and other historically disadvantaged areas, targeting the upliftment of the working class and poor, can contribute positively to our national development and reduction of inequality.

There are, however, several things we need to guard against in driving infrastructure development. Vandalising and looting of our infrastructure networks is deeply worrying. That is one thing the state and society at large need to tackle decisively as a matter of urgency. Our rail network, for example, has been vandalised and looted. The railways have been destroyed in many areas. There is a relationship between this and illicit activities in the scrap metals sector.

Also, outsourcing of security to unscrupulous groups at PRASA during the state capture era, among others, suggests some beneficiaries of state capture patronage might be responsible for certain destructive activities that occurred in our rail networks after their unlawfully awarded tenders were terminated. It does not take rocket science to see that the vandalising and looting of our railways included economic saboteurs, who, over and above that, clearly appear to be harboured political motives. As things stand, trains cannot move in many areas. It is the working class and poor who are affected. Similarly, in municipalities, copper cables are under siege from theft. Also, there is a connection between this and drug dealing networks and drug addiction, besides economic sabotage, illicit activity in the scrap metal industry, and other acts of criminality.

Over and above serving as affordable transport for the working-class, the rail network is also a crucial part of our logistics infrastructure and in moving goods in our economy. We need our rail network rebuilt where it has been destroyed. This must be extended to the construction of new, post-1994 railways, to expand the rail network as part of building an integrated, reliable, safe, and affordable public transport system, and as part of building our logistics system to move the economy and support employment.

The fire in Parliament this week appears to be a continuation of the deliberate destruction and vandalising of public property or the failed July 2021 counterrevolutionary insurrection. We need an investigation to look at what exactly happened and how it happened. The surrounding similarities between the burning of Parliament and the failed July 2021 counterrevolutionary insurrection include the elements who were out unashamedly celebrating or saluting the destruction.

South Africa is not a banana republic. The decay must not be allowed to continue as if we are a “stateless capitalist society”. There has to be more visible action and consequences to stop the decay and protect the public and public infrastructure, as well as democratic transformation and development.

Another element we must guard against in infrastructure development is the neo-liberal tendency of financialisation. Monopoly-finance capital can laugh all the way to the bank, getting away with murder, on the back of a huge burden of unnecessary costs left in the hands of the people. The financing mechanisms that involve repurposing public infrastructure, as well as its development, and turning it into a tradable financial instrument for speculative, private capital accumulation and profiteering purposes, are unsustainable for the people.

Instead, what we need is to safeguard our national development imperatives to meet the material needs of our people, especially the overwhelming majority, the working-class and poor, and improving their quality of life through sustainable development strategies. This is one imperative we need to stress in view of one key lesson we can draw from the November 2021 local government elections.

Wake up and smell the coffee

One feature of the November 2021 local government elections was the extremely low voter turnout. While the global COVID-19 pandemic had an impact, the bigger picture comprised a worrying trend of loss of faith in the democratic electoral processes. Neo-liberal policy failures, including its austerity agenda, and state capture, are among the key factors that produced the problems depressing the increasing number of the non-voter population. 

For example, in the quarter preceding the local government elections, July to September 2021, a combined active and discouraged work-seekers population numbering approximately 12.5 million was unemployed. In terms of national population groups, the overwhelming majority affected, as with the high levels of poverty and inequality, are Africans. They are followed by the Coloured people, who are followed by Indians/Asians. Africans remain the overwhelmingly worst affected in terms of both women and youth unemployment as well. Again, they are followed by Coloured and Indian/Asian women and youth.

What the racial and gender dimensions of the unemployment crisis show is that we are facing the persisting legacy of what the SACP meant when in its programme adopted in 1962, titled the Road to South African Freedom, characterised South Africa as a colony of a special type. In this situation, the colonisers and the colonised lived in the same territory, BUT which was segregated along the lines of race and gender based on class divisions. To overcome the legacy of racism, poverty, the super-exploitation of the historically oppressed, and inequality, our response to the interrelated systemic crises of unemployment, poverty, inequality, and social reproduction must be transformative and developmental.  

To be clear, the global COVID-19 pandemic did not create, but only worsened, high levels of racialised, gendered and youth unemployment. The November 2021 local government elections took place amidst this crisis. Corruption (perceived or real) and its intensification under the state capture period, as well as municipal dysfunctionality and high levels of criminality in our communities, compounded the neo-liberal policy failures we have seen post-1994 since the adoption of GEAR in 1996. It was in this context that the trend of a decline in ANC voter support continued.

Especially the malady of factionalism did a lot of damage to the image of the ANC in many of our communities and other sectors of society. There were ANC members, for instance, who counter-organised the ANC election campaign in a factional conduct against its elected leadership, especially President Cyril Ramaphosa. The factional network in which they are embedded comprised individuals who never accepted the outcomes of the December 2017 National Conference of the ANC held in Nasrec, Johannesburg. They set themselves the goal of actively boosting the decline of the ANC so that they could argue that it performed better in the past. Instead of forming part of its unity and renewal process, from the onset, they started campaigning for the election of their faction at the next National Conference of the ANC. If truth be told, the renewal and unity of the ANC is a material threat to their corrupt interests.   

The factional conduct that is causing damage from inside the ANC is much wider, however. It includes, but is not exclusive to, gatekeeping, marginalisation of Alliance partners, and manipulation of candidate selection processes. In certain wards, candidates who were fielded with the IEC were the products of the corrupting of the selection process. This caused disputes. It also resulted in others contesting as independent candidates or under the mushrooming pop-up parties or crossing the floor to existing opposition parties. Conversely, others did so because they were themselves problematic and factional in their conduct. All they wanted was to become councillors at all costs, including disregarding the outcomes of internal and community democratic processes.

Criminal syndicates and gangsters (Boko Haram in Mamelodi, for example) have also found their way into the scenario, causing more havoc through infiltration of some structures and through unleashing violence and terror against whoever is targeted. Some of the criminal syndicates and gangsters also operate inside, or as, the so-called business forums. Among others, they thrive by hijacking subcontracting in tenders as well as by rent-seeking criminality. In certain instances, they might have been involved in corrupting or manipulating candidate selection processes and imposing those who they have captured or those who will serve them.

To succeed, the fight against factionalism must be a fight also against corruption and criminality. Besides, competition or fights for tenders, subcontracting and control of other resources, is a key source of factionalism and related contestation of leadership positions. The tenderisation of the state and its consequences must be undone as part of the wider effort to build a capable developmental state and to deal with the malady of factionalism. Factionalism will not bring an end to itself. It must be dealt a mighty blow, altogether with its material basis.     

That said, there is a correlation between factional and ill-disciplined conduct within our movement and the economic crisis characterised by high levels of unemployment, poverty, inequality, and the crisis of social reproduction. For example, being a councillor comes with income. In labour force statistics, it counts as employment. It is, in reality. In addition, the income associated with being a councillor is higher than the wages paid to workers in many, and exploitative jobs.

The continuing trend of a decline in ANC voter support is one most concerning development from the November 2021 local government elections. As in past elections, it is more pronounced in the metropolitan municipalities. Several questions need to be posed by our Alliance and broadly the movement. Are the election results in the metros a sign of a working-class in urban areas under huge social and economic distress? Is this a reflection of the increasing negative impact of capitalist workplace restructuring, including retrenchments, casualisation and labour brokerage? Is this a reflection of a growing tension and distance between the ANC as the leading formation in our Alliance’s electoral contest and the working-class in urban areas? Is the ANC increasingly becoming a rural party, like ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe, and is it losing some important sections of society in urban areas, like the working-class, the middle strata and professionals? Are key ANC leaders on the ground listening to the anger and responding to the plight of sections of its own social base, or is it business as usual? Is this, also, not a reflection of the fact that it is not only the ANC that is losing the metro areas, but by extension also that both the SACP and COSATU have weaknesses in their strength and organisational base in the metros? Is this, also, not a reflection of an Alliance that is in disarray in the metros and other major urban areas?

These are among the key questions that the 54th National Conference of the ANC in December 2022, the 15th National Congress of the SACP in July 2022 and the 14th National Congress of COSATU in September 2022 will have to answer. This will have to include developing concrete programmes to address these challenges and achieve a turnaround.

We highlight these realities to also underline the importance of the imperative of the renewal and unity project of the ANC, and the reconfiguration of the Alliance, to succeed. However, for that to happen, the project must be based on reasserting the revolutionary values and principles that the ANC and the Alliance embraced or articulated over the years. This must include a programme that decisively rejects neo-liberalism and tackles state capture, other forms of corruption, and factional and ill-disciplined conduct.

In taking the lessons from the November 2021 local government elections to heart, we need to intensify national democratic revolutionary measures to overcome the crisis of high levels of unemployment, poverty, inequality, and address the related crisis of social reproduction. State power must serve the people diligently and capably. This must include responding comprehensively to the report of the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and building ours to become a capable democratic developmental state with its own internal capacity.

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture report

As the first organisation to expose the existence of the phenomenon of state capture in our country, calling it as such, in full corporate state capture, and to call for the establishment of a judicial commission to investigate the decay, the SACP would have liked the entire report of the commission to be completed and submitted as a single whole. Nonetheless, we welcome the submission of Part 1 of the incomplete report of the commission to President Ramaphosa on Tuesday, 4 January 2022. We also commend the President for his decision to have the report released publicly immediately afterwards. The SACP will, independently, in its own right, study the complete report of the commission once it is finalised and respond comprehensively.

Developing a comprehensive strategy to implement remedial action in view of the recommendations made by the commission will play a key role in tackling state capture and other forms of corruption. This is one key task that must unfold this year, starting within a reasonable time as soon as the commission has completed the entire report.

Private corporations, including the multinational corporations from the United States of America, Western Europe, and other private companies that aided or benefitted from state capture as mentioned in the report, must be held to account, including through prosecution.

There can be no justice and an end to state capture from selective prosecution. There must be consistency. State capture is a collaborative crime between unscrupulous elements in the public sector and the private sector. For instance, we heard from testimonies made at the commission how the US based multinational, Bain & Company, was complicit in irregular arrangements, from which it benefited. We also heard how the British-Dutch multinational, KPMG, was involved in rogue investigations that aided state capture activities. Western imperialist multinational banks, other financial institutions and sections of monopoly-finance capital also played a part, as did multinational IT corporations. And how can we forget the role played by the British multinational propaganda company, Bell Pottinger? These are some examples how the profit-driven multinational corporations were advancing accumulation in the scene of state capture in South Africa.  

We will not achieve a success in overcoming state capture by focusing almost entirely if not only on the public sector and leaving corrupt profit-seeking interests and companies in the private sector to get away with murder. To end state capture, we must disrupt the entire corrupt nexus of unscrupulous public officials and office bearers and private sector directors, elements and companies and deal them all a crushing blow. 

The struggle against corruption is at the same time the struggle against profiteering and theft by private sector firms and other players in the public sector. This is, at least for us as the SACP, the struggle to put people first, in line with our centenary theme, Put People Before Profit: Socialism is the Future—Build it Now.

The SACP has been consistent against tenderisation of the state, state institutions, and public entities. We did this because we were concerned about corporate state capture and other private interests that thrive on tenderisation—working in tandem with unscrupulous officials, board members, and public office bearers. It is absolutely clear that we were correct.

Several years ago, at this annual Joe Slovo annual commemoration, we raised our concern about some of our SACP leaders being followed by rogue intelligence operatives. It was clear the rogue intelligence networks did that to try to silence the SACP and stop us from playing the leading role that we were playing in exposing the existence of state capture. Just as we refused to be intimidated then, we will not allow any such elements, their networks, any person, or establishment to intimidate us. Instead, we want the state to go deeper into identifying and exposing the rogue intelligence networks and holding those who were responsible to account.

We will be successful only if we take up the struggle in all key sites of the struggle and centres of power, not least on the organisational, ideological, and political fronts, including through consistent society-wide, working-class led mobilisation.

Renewal and unity of the ANC and Alliance reconfiguration

The mighty ANC, as we know it, was not built by the ANC only. It emerged as a product also of our national liberation struggle. In the forefront of the liberation movement, our Alliance, as it developed over the decades, played a key role in building and supporting the ANC on a wide range of organisational and political fronts.

One of the most important lessons from the recent local government elections is that those who think that the ANC can succeed on its own, without the Alliance, must disabuse themselves of this notion and fallacy. One thing that has negatively been affecting the ANC is the increasing number of internal splits that end up registering as political parties and contesting elections.

Perhaps more than ever before, the ANC needs more than internal renewal and unity. It needs the reconfiguration of the Alliance. It needs the unity of the entire Alliance, as well as the broader unity of the motive forces of our shared strategy of struggle, transformation and development, the National Democratic Revolution. Otherwise, there will be more problems and the decline in electoral contests will be more difficult to halt and roll back.  

The year of the ANC National Conference and the SACP and COSATU National Congresses

As we have already indicated, the year 2022 is the year of the 55th National Conference of the ANC, the 15th National Congress of the SACP and the 14th National Congress of COSATU. These will take the centre stage in South Africa’s developing political situation. The challenge these highest decision-making bodies of Alliance formations face is to adopt revolutionary policies, reflect and emerge with solutions to the many challenges that our people, especially the working-class and poor, as the overwhelming majority face.

Equally important, we must use these highest decision-making bodies of our Alliance formations to unite our movement and rid it of opportunism, careerism, divisive tendencies, factionalism, and other maladies. Much as we should strive to unite our movement, the challenge is also that there can be no unity with thieves, corrupt elements, and factionalists. We must strive to keep our focus on the key priority of our revolution, that of a thoroughgoing, radical transformation of our economy to serve the interests of the overwhelming majority of our people.

For the SACP, this will be the first National Congress after the 100th founding anniversary of the Party. At our next National Congress, we will adopt an updated version of our programme, the South African Road to Socialism. At the last Central Committee plenary in December 2021, we agreed that this will be a programme that must also elaborate a long-range, clear strategy and tactics covering at least the first decade after the first centenary of the Party.

We are clear neither neo-liberalism nor state capture is the solution. Which is why we have been stressing the importance of waging the struggle on two fronts, on the one hand, against neoliberalism and its austerity agenda, and, on the other hand, against state capture and other forms of corruption.

The two, neo-liberalism and state capture networks, are not necessarily the opposites of each other. They both are essentially about empowering networks of private wealth accumulation interests at the expense of the masses, either through policy intervention or corrupt means, respectively. While they would like the people to believe that they are immune to harbouring corrupt interests, all over the world there are corrupt elements and practices in the ranks of the neo-liberal networks.

To be sure, it is actually neo-liberalism that paved the way for state capture through privatisation of state-owned enterprises, other state assets, and through the outsourcing of state functions. This was rife in Eastern European countries starting in early 1992 during their transition to capital market economies. Similarly, state capture in South Africa was based on tenderisation of the state, state institutions, and state-owned entities. 

Similarly, confronting neo-liberalism and its austerity agenda calls upon us to deepen our campaign for a change in the policy content and direction, including the macroeconomic framework, that has failed to overcome the consistently crisis-high levels of unemployment, poverty, inequality, and the crisis of social reproduction.

Without significant policy changes, it will not be possible to build a new and inclusive economy to take care of the needs of the people. In particular, we wish to stress the importance of advancing towards establishing and securing the right of all to work. For that to happen, it is imperative to build our strength and wider working-class unity, to intensify our mobilisation for structural transformation to rid our economy of colonial and apartheid features and free it and society from imperialist subordination and exploitation.

One key challenge for the SACP 15th National Congress, the COSATU 14th National Congress and the ANC 55th National Conference in particular, and our movement in general, will be to unite ourselves around a progressive economic policy framework and unifying strategy. Our National Democratic Revolution at this point in time will triumph or suffer based on whether we will succeed or fail to develop, unite ourselves around and implement progressive developmental economic and broader social transformation policies.

This must also resolve our energy challenges, including through renewable and cleaner energy solutions towards achieving carbon dioxide neutrality, averting the impending climate change catastrophe, and pursuing industrialisation and employment creation through sustainable development.

Emerging from our last Central Committee plenary for 2021, we also stressed the importance of advancing social protection, including through deepening the campaign for a universal basic income grant as part of building the elements of a comprehensive social security system. This has become more relevant amidst the high levels of unemployment, poverty, and inequality, as well as the crisis of social reproduction, which have all been worsened by the global COVID-19 pandemic. We have called for the government to extend the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant and gradually increase and transform it towards a universal basic income grant for every adult. On this score, we will have to strengthen our engagements with our allies and other formations.

We have equally important also emphasised ending violence, in general, and gender-based violence, in particular. South Africa will not achieve prosperity and peace, for so long as the gender majority of its population, girls and women, experience gender-based discrimination and violence. It is essential to advance decisively and make greater progress in building a non-sexist society, including tackling discrimination against LGBTQIA+ community. While we do need to strengthen the laws against gender-based violence and their enforcement, we need multiple solutions that will help us to go to the root of the matter, to resolve the scourge once and for all. 

It is crucial for us, as the SACP, to strengthen our efforts in building a popular Left front. This is not mutually exclusive but mutually reinforcing the imperative to achieve the reconfiguration of the Alliance, move the National Democratic Revolution into a second radical phase, as well as advance, deepen and defend it as our most direct route to socialism. We must reassert and struggle for more socialist measures and interventions to advance the National Democratic Revolution proper.

Let us build increasingly strong, ever united SACP, and secure revolutionary discipline in the ranks of the Party

To succeed in all our tasks, we ourselves need a strong, united, coherent, and agile SACP. That is an SACP that is characterised by revolutionary discipline and a revolutionary moral high ground. It is an SACP that acts decisively, organisationally, ideologically, and politically, against violations of its Constitution and rules of discipline. We cannot overemphasise the essential importance of building an SACP that is capable of consistently developing and earning its vanguard leadership role in the struggle. That is an SACP with demonstrable capacity to win the majority democratically behind its programme, strategy and tactics.

For such a Marxist-Leninist SACP to take root and grow from strength to strength in response to the tasks at hand, we need to deepen the unity of the Party and wage an unrelenting struggle against any factionalist or ill-disciplined tendencies that seek entry into the ranks of the SACP. We must fight against any entryist and foreign tendencies like tribalism, workerism and regionalism, including any tendencies which are at odds with revolutionary values and ideological outlook of Marxism-Leninism within the Party.

International solidarity  

We reiterate our support for the transition to democracy in Swaziland and our solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Sudan, who are trying their best to overcome their national challenges. Our solidarity also goes to the people of Western Sahara and Palestine against occupation of their land by Morocco and the apartheid Israeli regime, respectively.

We reiterate our call to Israel to release Hisham Abu Hawash unconditionally with immediate effect from its unjust incarceration, as well as the over 500 other Palestinians that it has unjustly detained. A father of five, Hisham Abu Hawash (40), detained by the apartheid Israeli regime under the injustice called “administrative detention”, has been on hunger strike for 140 days in protest. He is now at risk of death or massive and permanent organ failure since he started the strike on 17 August 2021.

We want to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with the Kurds and their call for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan.   

The 1st of January 2022 marked the 63rd anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, which took place on 1 January 1959. We stand with the people of Cuba against the imperialist occupation of the Cuban territory of Guantanamo Bay by the United States. We join the Cuban people in calling on the United States to end the occupation, its criminal and illegal blockade of Cuba, and all its entire imperialist aggression against Cuba.

We congratulate Gabriel Boric for his Presidential election victory in Chile in December 2021. Notably, Boric’s presidential campaign was supported by the Communist Party of Chile, among others. The key task will be to maintain the broad front unity of the forces that supported the campaign and to roll back the legacy of the decades of neo-liberal failures and undemocratic regimes. 

We express our solidarity with Latin American people, including the people of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and other progressive forces who stand against imperialist aggression.

Finally, we need to overcome the global COVID-19 pandemic. Those countries that have banned South Africans from entering their shores because of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 should not have done so to start with. Those still maintaining the ban must scrap it with immediate effect. Similarly, those engaging in vaccine imperialism or apartheid must stop it. We need to strengthen our capacity as part of the international movement to end vaccine imperialism and apartheid, while simultaneously pursuing domestic capacity in vaccine research, development and production.

Issued by the SACP, 6 January 2022