Treasury paper incorporated OECD prescriptions - SACP

CC says national democratic sovereignty of our policy space is sacrosanct

South African Communist Party

Augmented Central Committee statement

6 – 8 September 2019

The SACP held its Annual Augmented Central Committee Strategic Planning Session over the weekend of September 6th to 8th in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni. This annual meeting includes a wider representation from SACP provinces and districts, as well as from the Young Communist League of South Africa. The session is ordinarily held at the end of the year, but has been brought forward as the SACP will be holding a Special National Congress in December 2019.  

The Annual Augmented Central Committee (CC) was therefore tasked with finalising preparations for the Special National Congress and assessing the current developments in our country and the region. To this end the meeting received a number of reports and discussion papers, covering different aspects of Party life and the unfolding economic, political and broader social context. In this regard the General Secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande, presented the Political Report.

Gender based violence in particular

The CC noted that violence is often closely related to conditions of inequality and oppression of the capitalist system. To this end the SACP re-asserted its view that the eradication of all forms of violence in society requires the building of a more just society, characterised by equality and social justice and, for the working class, socialism.

Flowing from the above, the CC strongly condemned acts of violence in general and gender based violence in particular, including rape, femicide and women abuse. The meeting reaffirmed the SACP’s unwavering commitment to the struggles against gender based violence. Already two years ago we launched our Red October Campaign focusing on gender based violence, as it was becoming clearer to us that unless our structures and society as a whole are mobilised we may be overwhelmed by this scourge. The CC also took the occasion of its meeting to express its sincere condolences, on behalf of the entire membership of the SACP, to all families that lost their loved ones as a result of gender based violence. 

The CC further noted that women in general, including women living with disabilities, as well as LGBTIQ+ community members are the most and worst affected by the scourge of gender based violence. Children are also severely impacted. An increasing number of our schools and higher learning institutions are also becoming sites of different types of violence, including gender based violence. A multi-pronged strategy is required to deal with this challenge. The CC resolved that the SACP must, as part of our contribution, intensify its campaign against violence in general and gender based violence in particular.

Next month, October 2019, we are launching our Red October Campaign 2019–2020 to build a variety of organisational fronts to primarily confront gender based violence in society and other challenges in our communities, as well as in local government, and defend our democracy.

The CC stressed the increased importance of proper socialisation and equal treatment of all children, including now the necessity to focus on both the girl and the boy child. The girl child is as important as the boy child, and the boy child is as important as the girl child. This must find active expression in every household, community and other social settings, regardless of tradition, culture and religion.

The CC has called for integration of gender transformation in teaching and learning content in our school, college and university curriculum. This must be aimed at eliminating gender based violence and sexual harassment in all their forms and manifestations. The proposed change in curriculum must start at the foundation level and be consistently maintained throughout schooling and our education system, particularly in Life Orientation but as well as in all other subjects.

Call for action against gender based violence

In line with our ongoing Red October Campaign against violence in general and gender based violence in particular, initiated in 2017, the Party will, in consultation with our allies, and in particular with COSATU and its affiliates, organise ongoing and effective broad mass actions against the scourge.

Party Districts and branches will engage a broad range of organisations at community level to ensure the broadest possible mobilisation of the communities, women, men and LGBTQI+ community members against gender based violence. This campaign will include making proposals and demands to government about improving the criminal justice and social services delivery on gender based violence cases and support to survivors of gender based violence and families of those murdered through the scourge. This will include developing proposals on how Thuthuzela Care Centres model needs to be revised to be appropriate to rural areas where large distances make access to such centres difficult.

The campaign will also aim to popularise the Gender Based Violence Command Centre 0800428428 so that all vulnerable people and survivors of gender based violence are able to access the support of the police, social workers and medical staff through this hotline. It will include addressing the issues of sexual harassment, gender based violence and deaths in the workplace, including in the public sector and State Owned Enterprises. The Campaign will aim to strengthen community organisation into street committees and to ensure participation in Community Police Forums in order to enhance community safety for all people, women, children, LGBTQI+ community, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

The campaign will also include building close working relationships with non-governmental and not-for-profit organisations involved in providing support to survivors of gender based violence. The Party has also decided to explore a programme of training Party members as self-defence trainers, who will then be able to train the vulnerable in our communities in self-defence.

Violence, drugs and high levels of criminality   

The CC strongly condemned the acts of violence, looting and other criminal activities perpetrated early this week and the week before, mainly in the provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, and in other parts of the country. Several shops belonging to foreign nationals, mostly, but as well as to South Africans, were looted in Gauteng Province and others burnt by criminal elements. In KwaZulu-Natal, trucks and other heavy and extra-heavy production vehicles were used to erect blockades in certain areas of our national roads infrastructure network, thus clearly engaging in acts of sabotage. There can be no justification whatsoever for these and other criminal acts, regardless of what the underlying causes are.

The CC reiterated the SACP’s consistent call for decisive lawful action to be taken against acts of criminality, including gender based violence, gangsterism, murder, drug dealing, human trafficking, as well as abduction and sexual abuse of young women. These and other forms of criminality are ravaging many households and our communities, and are destroying our ubuntu/botho social fabric as well as the future of our youth and society at large.

The criminals, both foreign nationals and South Africans alike, must be hunted down and held to account to the full might of the law without any fear, favour and prejudice. Criminal law must be strengthened, including through harsher imprisonment terms, to decisively rid our society of crime, all this duly taking into account the human rights based society we seek to build.

It is also clear to the SACP that unless the issue of drugs and substance abuse is also dealt with, we would not deal with criminality in society in general. What sometimes comes across as xenophobic attacks results from the failure of law enforcement agencies to deal with drug dealing by some of the foreign nationals as well as South Africans and the resultant anger in our communities.

The SACP is further calling upon all the people who live in South Africa to desist from taking the law into their own hands. Instead, we need to forge a widest possible patriotic front to defend our Constitution and democracy, and to work together in programmes such as the SACP initiated campaign against violence in general and gender based violence in particular.

Erosion of state authority by corporate state capture and infiltration by criminal networks

Related to the above, the CC expressed deep concern about the erosion of the capacity and strategic discipline of the state, in particular crime intelligence, the Police, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), State Security Agency, and even the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). This erosion of state authority in many ways and by no small measure has left many households and communities exposed to unabated criminality, which in turn engenders rising levels of anger and its eruption in the form of violent reactions in the coalface of helplessness.

Working class communities and lower sections of the middle strata are the most and worst affected, while the rich have resorted to gating their upmarket areas and engaging armies of private security companies to protect themselves. The erosion in the past years of state authority, in this case especially law enforcement agencies, is a direct result of corporate state capture. As the commissions of inquiry into state capture and tax administration and governance by SARS as well as the high level intelligence service review panel have heard, affected state organs were repurposed to either turn a blind eye to state capture or aid rogue or criminal activities. Associated with this is the infiltration of the very law enforcement agencies by criminal networks

The general outcry in many of our communities about the failure of state organs established to combat crime and corruption is well known. Linked with it, there are rising levels of lack of confidence and even mistrust in our law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system.  

Therefore unless drastic action is taken, starting at the top echelons responsible for state capture, it will remain almost impossible to restore the integrity and legitimacy of the affected state organs, and to rebuild their capacity and strategic discipline to perform their work competently and meticulously without favour, fear and prejudice. The CC therefore reiterates the consistent call by the SACP for a thorough, specialised investigation into the manifestation and impact of state capture in, and criminal infiltration of, state organs established to combat crime and corruption.

These problems, gender based violence, violence in general and the crisis of social reproduction, are a reflection of the crisis of the capitalist system. The system is in crisis both globally and domestically.

Economic strategy for South Africa

The CC discussed the National Treasury’s paper, entitled “Economic transformation, inclusive growth, and competitiveness: Towards an economic Strategy for South Africa”, released on 27 August 2019. The paper incorporates capitalist economic policy reformist prescriptions from the “OECD Economic Surveys: South Africa” and “Economic Policy Reforms 2017: Going for Growth” developed by the elite Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2017.

The national democratic sovereignty of our policy space is sacrosanct. The codification of the OECD economic reforms in the “…economic Strategy for South Africa” and the process followed in developing and releasing the paper undermined, first and foremost organisationally, the primary mandating role of the ANC-headed Alliance.

It is absolutely important to uphold, at all material times, the integrity and role of South Africa’s economic and labour policy formulation processes as well as social dialogue institutions established in terms of the Constitution and the other law of the Republic. Regarding Cabinet members, they have all taken an oath or affirmation of office.

This includes upholding confidentiality on matters related to internal processes and documents of the Executive. The SACP had no sight of the document both independently and as part of the Alliance, until its sudden public release. The paper was released on the eve of South Africa hosting the World Economic Forum. This timing is interesting, in addition given the codification of the OECD economic reforms in the paper and the absence of proper consultation.

The SACP resolutely rejects the OECD prescription of weakening social dialogue parameters in South Africa – in this regard particularly collective bargaining. This unfortunately runs counter to the spirit of the Thuma Mina Campaign and the need for social compacting as led by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The CC accordingly dismisses the idea, codified in the National Treasury paper, to roll-back the legally recognised extension of collective bargaining agreements.

Furthermore, the National Treasury paper problematises the exemption application required to ensure compliance with the legislated national minimum wage. The exemption requirement is a protective device for workers against abuse by greedy employers. It is important not only in order to ensure compliance with the legislated national minimum wage, but also with collective bargaining agreements, towards a living wage for all workers.

In contradiction, greedy employers want to privately accumulate virtually all production income and leave the labouring force with absolutely nothing except below minimum wages and below social floor conditions. The CC decisively denounced this as well as a similar anti-worker proposition that wage increases are responsible for entrenching inequality and rising unemployment.

Related to the above, the ANC developed its manifesto for the sixth democratic general election held in May 2019 in consultation with the Alliance. The manifesto was accordingly endorsed by all Alliance components as well as supportive progressive South Africans. It was consequently taken to the electorate for endorsement on the ballot. It is important to remain true to history and truthful to our people. The entire progressive thrust of the manifesto must be articulated consistently in policy making in government rather than undermined.

For that cause, the SACP reiterates the strategic perspective, enshrined in the manifesto, of the absolute necessity to move our national democratic transition on to a second radical phase. Arising out of the CC the SACP will therefore push among others the following national strategic imperatives aimed at achieving structural economic transformation and radically reducing inequality, poverty and unemployment.

1. A comprehensive and coherent industrial policy, digital industrial strategy, and an innovation, research and development master plan, aimed at developing, diversifying and raising the levels of national production. 

2. Related to the above, in November-December 2018 the Department of Trade and Industry released the South African Automotive Master Plan with the objective of raising the levels of production and employment in the sector, notably through manufacturing localisation, deepening and widening local manufacturing value addition. Similarly, sector master plans must be developed for each strategic industry to give practical effect to the much needed comprehensive and coherent industrial policy, digital industrial strategy, and innovation, research and development. In this regard the Industrial Policy Action plan must be strengthened and adequately funded rather than weakened.

3. The National Skills Development Plan (NSDP) released by the Department of Higher Education and Training in March 2019 must be reinforced to rigorously support national production development as well as diversification. Sector Skills Plans (SSPs) must effectively elaborate rigorous sector-specific programmes and more informed skills targets to drive NSDP objectives and equip the youth and the unemployed to find work.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges must actively support the NSDP and SSPs, through, among others, a transformed curriculum and an increase in the number of skills programmes, full and part-qualifications they offer. South Africa must create a wide-ranging pool of professional, technical and vocational skills and qualifications in the TVET sector to continuously improve the quality of public services and diversify industrial production.

4. Partnerships between the bodies responsible for qualifications development and quality assurance in higher education and training (inclusive of the TVET sector) and Sector Education and Training Authorities must foster greater collaboration to achieve vertical articulation of qualifications and lift up TVET colleges. Greater support must be provided to TVET as well as community colleges to adequately equip both the theoretical and practical components of their curriculum.

Industry as a whole must come to the party; open up the workplace as a training space and offer apprenticeships, internships, learnerships and other registered workplace training programmes for the unemployed and the youth. Government, institutions of learning, training authorities and industry must advance a combination of education and training with public service and industrial production. This must be given expression in our curriculum.

5. The publicly-owned sector of our economy must be turned around, expanded and safeguarded against conveyance in any form to, and therefore capture by, private profit interests. Public entities and state-owned enterprises must be rescued from the crisis they were plunged into by corporate state capture, other forms of corruption, mismanagement, maladministration and inadequate oversight by government and parliament.

More than ever before South Africa needs a thriving publicly-owned economic sector to drive national transformation and development imperatives destined for lifting the quality of life of our people. The CC therefore reiterated the SACP’s strong opposition to privatisation at Eskom, as well as to the privatisation of our national broadband spectrum, rail, water, Telkom and other strategic infrastructure, among others.

6. Alignment of monetary and fiscal policies as well as the broader macro-policy framework to support national production development and decent work, inclusive of employment growth. In this regard, the CC resolutely reaffirmed the SACP’s policy position for the South African Reserve Bank Act to be amended in line with our Constitution to make explicit employment growth targeting, promote transparency and give accountability full play towards this national imperative on the part of the Bank.   

7. Financial sector transformation, containing, as part of the whole, decisive measures to direct investment into the productive sectors of the economy, including through prescribed assets, to create decent work and grow employment. As an indispensible part of this national imperative, South Africa must pursue a thriving co-operative baking system for the benefit of the workers and the poor – the overwhelming majority of our people.

8. Development of the co-operative sector, and the solidarity economy at large, and thus adequate legislative, incentives, capacity building and other forms of material support for co-operatives to thrive across the economy.

9. Review outsourced services, on a state-wide basis, to roll-back the hollowing out of the organic capacity and strategic discipline of the state by state capture and other forms of corruption, and build a capable national democratic developmental state, support the development of the co-operative sector as well as small and medium enterprises.  The Department of Small Businesses must be renamed the Department of Co-operatives Development and Small Businesses.  

The importance of thorough Alliance consultation and inclusive public policy making processes cannot be overemphasised. 

Enactment of Copyright and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills

The SACP is calling upon the President to sign the Copyright and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills into law. At present many artists find themselves obliged to sign contracts with record companies, producers or distributors/publishers that deprive them of royalty payments for their work. The enactment of the Bills will create mechanisms for the artists to receive a fair share of royalties and prohibit unfair contracts. The exploitation of our artists must be brought to an end.   

The SACP is calling upon our artists to come together, protect their labour and work together to resolve problems if there are any among themselves and in public policy formulation.

National Health Insurance

The SACP will continue mobilising our structures and society at large, working together with our allies, to support the introduction of the National Health Insurance.

The power of unity  

It is going to be difficult to overcome all the challenges our society is faced with unless the ANC and the Alliance are united. In the coming period the SACP will be focusing on ensuring that this unity of purpose is realised, as part of our programme to forge a widest possible patriotic front, in addition to building a popular left front.   

Special National Congress 

The CC has thoroughly prepared for the Special National Congress to be held in the first half of December 2019.  Between now and then SACP provinces, districts and branches as well as the Young Communist League of South Africa will be engaging on the wide range of discussion papers. Further details of the Special National Congress will be announced in due course.

Issued by the SACP, 8 September 2019