SACP stands for a qualitatively different growth path - Blade Nzimande

SG says country needs revival of SOEs driven to brink of collapse by state capture

South African Communist Party

Statement at the rally to celebrate the 107th founding anniversary of the ANC

Delivered by Cde Blade Nzimande, SACP General Secretary

Durban, 12 January 2018

The SACP salutes our long standing historical ally, the ANC, for the milestone of 107 years of continuing existence reached this week on January the 8th. The ANC is the oldest existing political organisation, both in our country and on the African continent at large, formed in pursuit of our shared anti-colonial struggle; the struggle for liberation, independence and social emancipation.

The SACP applauds the ANC for the historic success it was able to achieve to unite the colonially oppressed African people, and for its contribution to the development of a non-racial and non-sexist organisation and outlook in our land. The ANC has also contributed to the development of the African liberation movement in Southern Africa in particular and on the African continent at large. The SACP commends the ANC for its sterling contribution to solve Africa’s problems.

Defend and deepen our achievements

It is important to defend and deepen the unification of our people; ensure that it is irrevocable; intensify our shared programme to complete our liberation; march forward more radically to complete social emancipation; and at the same time strengthen the programme to achieve both the African revolution and world peace. The SACP reaffirms its principled and programmatic commitment to our National Democratic Revolutionary Alliance and efforts to strengthen the Alliance through the already agreed Alliance reconfiguration process.   

The 107th founding anniversary of the ANC coincides with the year of the sixth democratic general election in our country. It therefore goes without saying that it is a key task for the ANC, and indeed the entire Alliance, to secure a decisive electoral victory in the forthcoming general election. The SACP wishes to emphasise the fact that victory in elections is not an end in itself. It is a means to advance and deepen, through democratic exercise of state power, the strategic objective of selflessly serving the people wholeheartedly!

Unity, the weapon of victory

The decisive victory that we need requires unity. It requires the unity of the ANC; the unity of each one of the components of our Alliance; the unity of each one of our leagues; and the unity of each one of the mass, sectoral and community organisations that support the success of our shared programme, the National Democratic Revolution. The revolution itself needs coherence and organisational and political unity; it needs both the total strength of each one of our formations and a unified aggregate organisational and political force of greater magnitude.

Our purposeful unity, coherence and aggregate strength should translate into the equally sacrosanct, if not more important, unity of the historical support base of our liberation struggle. It is important to appreciate, however, that our political and electoral support is not static. There are changes due to a variety of factors. Ours is to deal with and overcome negative factors and negative changes. It is to maximise positive changes. It is to grow our support base to successfully execute the National Democratic Revolution.

Together we have made massive social achievements, benefitting millions of our people since our victory in our first democratic general election held in April 1994. This includes human rights and the massive expansions, among others, of access to housing, water, electrification, education at all levels, healthcare and social grants. We have built social infrastructure such as schools, clinics and hospitals, as well as roads in areas that were neglected, undeveloped or under-developed during colonialism and apartheid.

However, there are still many systemic and consequent problems. In addition, there are new problems that we need to solve. Indeed there is a lot of work that needs to be done. This time around, that is since our April 1994 democratic breakthrough, state power has become one of the key pillars of, and should increasingly be used as an instrument to complete our liberation and achieve complete social emancipation.

Our support for the ANC in the forthcoming general election is therefore correctly rooted in our efforts to continue forging principled and programmatic unity and cohesion. The equal importance of the already agreed Alliance reconfiguration process cannot be overemphasised as a matter of principle. In this context our support for the ANC is anchored in yet another equally important principle. The ANC-led government must rigorously push pro-working class/pro-poor policies with the ANC working together with all Alliance components within the process of a reconfigured Alliance. It is in this context that we have participated in the election manifesto drafting process and also endorsed the thrust of the manifesto. It is exactly in the same context that we have formed our view of the growth of South Africa referred to in the manifesto.

Qualitatively different growth path

The SACP stands for a qualitatively different growth path that the working class and poor direly need. This is a growth path that is underpinned by a radical transformation of the systemic and structural features of our economy to systematically eliminate the legacy of colonial domination and apartheid oppression and rollback imperialist exploitation. We are referring here to a growth path that is robustly based on the national imperative of employment creation. Inseparably, this is a growth path that is driven by decent work.

What the workers and poor need is a radical reduction, and eventual elimination of poverty and class inequalities, including gender inequalities and uneven spatial development between rural and urban areas, and within urban areas between townships and suburbs. The working class needs an end to informal settlements. All these and other working class priorities require conscious and robust distributive and redistributive policies buttressed by national production development to achieve. Our conception of the growth path that is required is therefore markedly different from the notion of a trickle down growth.      

Further, national production development should include the pursuit of manufacturing expansion and diversification. This should eliminate the finished products imports and significant raw materials exports colonially constructed dependency path. National production development should therefore include the pursuit of innovation, research and development, and a digital revolution industrial policy strategy as key priorities.

The importance of leveraging our mineral resources endowment as a strategic advantage to advance, expand and diversify local production of finished products and build energy security cannot be overemphasised. This requires effective exercise of our democratic national sovereignty on all fronts, including in the realm of policy making to reclaim control of our natural resources from private self-enrichment interests.

Demonopolisation and deconcentration

The SACP stands for an end to monopoly of access to our national resources, including land, water, mineral and marine resources. Expropriation of land without compensation for public use or in the public interest, and to redress the imbalances created under processes of colonialism and apartheid, should more importantly bring about equitable access to our natural resources. It should be carried out under a set of clearly defined enabling conditions in the interest of collective prosperity based on the development of all and thus social solidarity.

The South African economy is characterised by high levels of concentration. Industry in general is dominated by oligopolies or a few private companies together constituting private monopoly control. In many cases this is synonymously referred to as the private sector.     

What we need, in addition to the national imperative of deepening the programme to deal decisively with corruption on all fronts, are thriving State Owned Enterprises. It is therefore a key priority to decisively revive the SOEs that were either ruined or driven to the brink of collapse by the agenda of corporate state capture and its associated governance decay, mismanagement and maladministration.  

The revived and thriving SOEs should play a leading role in workplace skills development, including particularly apprenticeships, learnerships and experiential training programmes both for the unemployed youth and employed workers. However, the private sector should not be allowed to get away with murder. Its outcries of skills shortage or skills mismatch without playing any or a considerable role in producing the skills that are required must be addressed decisively. Every designated workplace as defined in terms of the Skills Development Act must be opened up as a training space as well. Legislative measures should be put in place to ensure adherence and deal decisively non-compliance.       

Democratic public control and social ownership, including the expansion of the SOE sector in strategic areas and supporting a thriving co-operatives sector, are all the way crucial. These measures are needed towards demonopolisation and deconcentration of our economy to rescue it from and dislodge the stranglehold of private monopoly. The importance of fostering worker ownership and ensuring equitable production income distribution with labour input in value creation accorded its due cannot be overemphasised.

Increased importance should be attached to supporting, developing and deepening the social solidarity economy and upgrading and lifting the informal sector out of informality. In the same vein, it is crucial to sustainably expand the social wage and adopt a comprehensive social security system. Again this requires decisive distributive and redistributive policies supported by radical national production development.

Stop retrenchments.

South Africa needs a wave of employment growth and decent work rather than a wave of retrenchments. Retrenching any worker should be a mechanism of the last consideration. In turn this must be based on consensus seeking consultation with labour. Accordingly, the duty to seek alternatives to retrenchments must be implemented genuinely and to the letter. The state, including public entities, should lead by example. However, measures should be put in place to prevent the private sector to get away with murder.    

Advance the social wage and build a caring society

We must forge ahead with the policy of introducing universal healthcare through advancing and deepening the National Health Insurance. 

Likewise, we need to push a safe, reliable and affordable public transport system. 

Similarly, the importance of vigorously implementing financial sector transformation to serve the people and eliminate financial exploitation cannot be overemphasised.

It is equally important to legislatively bring an end to unscrupulous housing evictions and auctioning of the repossessed houses under their value. If a fair foreclosure takes place, the affected family must be paid the difference of the full value of the purchased property and the balance. This principle must underpin the setting of a reserve price in such a situation. 

It is on the basis of the preceding and other grounds of a pro-working class/pro-poor policy platform that the SACP will mobilise for a decisive victory not just for the ANC but for our people in the forthcoming general election. The bottom line is that the majority of our people are the working class and poor.

The SACP says:

Let us selflessly serve our people wholeheartedly!  

Long live the ANC, a reconfigured Alliance, long live!

Forward to a decisive victory for our people, forward!

Issued by the SACP, 12 January 2019