South African Communist Party
Third Special National Congress
University of Johannesburg, Soweto, 7-11 July 2015
Declaration and resolutions
Communist Cadres to the Front:
Unite the Working Class, Our Communities, and Our Movement!
Chapter 1: Declaration
We, 789 Communist militants, have met over the past four days as delegates to the SACP’s 3rd Special National Congress in Soweto. We are delegates drawn from all the provinces of our country, from urban and rural branches, from townships, informal settlements and villages, from the ranks of the working class and the unemployed, from a vibrant youth sector and from women active on the ground. As delegates, we represent some 230,000 SACP members – marking a significant increase of 70,000 members in just two years. The Party’s membership is the largest at any time in its 94 years of unbroken revolutionary struggle. We are the second largest membership political formation in our country.
We have come together at this 3rd Special National Congress of the SACP under the banner: “Communist cadres to the front: Unite the Working Class, our Communities, and our Movement!” We came to this Special National Congress and depart from it fully aware of the revolutionary responsibilities that now rest upon our Party and all its cadres.
The messages of support that we received from our Alliance partners, the ANC, COSATU, and SANCO at this Congress have all affirmed the great hopes they are placing on the SACP as a Party of theory, a Party of activism, a tried and tested Party of revolutionary discipline.
Last week’s Alliance Summit acknowledged that, in our present reality, the SACP is the most stable and ideologically coherent formation within the Alliance. This is a time when the ANC is acknowledging many challenges related to incumbency and the influence of money on internal democracy. This is a moment in which the unrelenting capitalist offensive against COSATU coincides with serious challenges to its unity and strength. This Special National Congress pledges to work tirelessly for the re-building of a united COSATU based on its founding principles.
While the SACP is not immune to any of these dangers, it is without arrogance that we understand that, more than ever before, we have a major responsibility to unite, as our congress slogan states, the working class, our communities, and our movement.
This unity must be based on a principled strategic basis that also grounds unity in action. We have agreed with the general theses advanced by our discussion documents that the present phase of our ongoing national democratic revolution requires a principled anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly capital and anti-patriarchy struggle. This is the precondition to advance, deepen and defend our national sovereignty based, in turn, on popular sovereignty. In the words of the Freedom Charter, The People Shall Govern! – not the bullying of imperialism, not monopoly capital, not the Bretton Woods institutions, not the ratings agencies, and not their willing local agents.
We will be carrying these perspectives into our own branches and communities and into our wider alliance where, already, they are receiving a positive reception.
We know that these perspectives must also be grounded in local activism taking up grass-roots struggles and aspirations. An anti-monopoly capital struggle is not an abstract slogan. It is about the struggle against the daily dispossession of homes by the major banks. Inflicted by cartels linking property developers, banking staff and corrupt officials in magistrates courts. This massive modern wave of dispossession affects hundreds of thousands of families each year in our country. It is a new, financialised version of apartheid-era forced removals. The struggle against monopoly capital is also a struggle against the siphoning of billions of Rands out of social grant payments by financial institutions, retail creditors, and unscrupulous loan sharks. The struggle against monopoly capital is a struggle against illegal garnishee orders.
For all of these reasons, this Special National Congress has resolved, amongst other things, to re-vitalise the SACP financial sector campaign, and to call for a second Financial Sector Summit.
The struggle against monopoly capital is a struggle against collusive behaviour and the plundering of the public purse. It is also a struggle against media monopolies, in particular Naspers. The struggle against monopoly capital is also a struggle against corruption, the entry-point through which it inserts its DNA into our democratic state. We must continue to build a democratic developmental state including the State Owned Corporations, a state that acts with strategic discipline to drive the struggle for national sovereignty by mobilised popular sovereignty.
An important contribution to advancing national sovereignty is South-South cooperation, and in this respect this Special National Congress saluted the launch of the BRICS bank with a fund of $100bn.
An important feature of our Special National Congress has been to debate and develop concrete proposals on Party renewal. We resolve to build resourced and dynamic Party structures. Without constant organisational development and renewal based on our strategic tasks, we will fail in our revolutionary tasks.
This Special National Congress has resolved that the SACP’s stance towards electoral politics will be evaluated in an ongoing manner and in the context of our wider Medium Term Vision to build working class hegemony in all sites of power. We have resolved that the resolution from our 13th National Congress correctly located the question of electoral participation within the wider context of the need to unite and reconfigure the Alliance.
We noted the important resolutions adopted at last week’s Alliance Summit in this regard, and call for the effective implementation of these resolutions. Finally, we have resolved that, as part of our own organisational renewal, a standing Central Committee Commission on State Power and Electoral options be established to evaluate in a dynamic way the optimal stance of the SACP towards elections in the context of changing realities.
Fraternal delegates from Cuba, Venezuela, China, Finland, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho, Sudan and the Kurdish Workers’ Party actively engaged with our Congress. They, too, impressed upon us the important responsibilities that, as South African Communists, we have within our region and in the wider internationalist struggles.
Advancing an anti-imperialist struggle means deepening revolutionary international solidarity with the people of the world facing and struggling against imperialist domination, exploitation, and oppression. We have recently hosted the Cuban 5 heroes who were unjustly imprisoned by the United States. We have in this major historical development celebrated their release. This could not have been possible without international solidarity, the determination and resilience of the Cuban people. But the struggle is not over! We are calling on the United States to lift its unilateral economic blockade on Cuba.
As delegates to this 3rd Special National Congress we pledge, therefore, to rise to all these challenges, inspired by the many generations of SACP heroes, the sung and the unsung, who have kept the red flag flying for over nine unbroken decades in this southern tip of the African continent. We pledge to carry forward our vanguard role in our communities, in our places of work and learning, in the formations of our allied and other progressive organisations, in the public sector and the state, on the terrain of the battle of ideas, and in our internationalist work. We pledge to work with a sense of confidence but also humility in the service of the working class and poor.
As we rise, today, at the conclusion of the critical Special National Congress, we declare once more that:
SOCIALISM IS THE FUTURE!
WE ARE NOT WAITING FOR THAT FUTURE – WE ARE ACTIVELY BUILDING THAT FUTURE, HERE AND NOW!
Which is why we say: Communist cadres – To the Front! To unite the working class, our communities, and our movement!
Second Radical Phase of the NDR
I. The SACP and the economy
1. There has not been a fundamental change in the national and global conjuncture since the important resolutions of the 13th SACP congress and the 54th conference of the ANC calling for a second radical phase (SRP) of the NDR, characterised by, amongst others, a focus on the advancement of economic transformation that begins to radically transform the historical legacy of the colonial capitalist accumulation path that has stubbornly continued to reproduce triple challenges of high unemployment, poverty and inequality in our society even 21 years after democracy.
2. The political report and the discussion document titled ‘Going to the root’ prepared for the Third Special National Congress of 2015 identify that the New Growth Path anchored in re- industrialisation, localisation, beneficiation and a massive state-led infrastructure programme, while pointing us in the correct strategic direction, still need to be implemented more aggressively and with greater strategic discipline from the side of the state.
3. While the first phase of the NDR struggle after 1994 was itself radical insofar as it abolished white minority rule and a provided a platform for launching a massive socio-economic redistributive programmes, it failed to drive structural transformation of the systemic features of South Africa’s productive economy.
4. The Going to the Root discussion document also identified corruption as another corrosive and counter-revolutionary variant of unproductive re-distribution, while serving monopoly capital as a means to achieving a foothold within the democratic state, work places and society as a whole.
5. The Going to the Root discussion document identifies also that South Africa’s subordinate capitalist growth path with interrelated, interdependent and self-reinforcing systemic features continue to:
5.1. subordinate South Africa’s political economy to the imperialist core as a semi-periphery labour;
5.2. tie the domestic dominance of the minerals-finance monopoly sector into global financialisation - leaving the manufacturing sector underdeveloped;
5.3. Promote high levels of monopoly concentration across all sectors with the underdeveloped SMME and co-operative sectors;
5.4. Promote existence of a highly monopolised financial sector dominated by four banks - leaving the majority of South Africans in a highly indebted situation and depriving our society of effective development finance;
5.5. Leave stark spatial inequalities, which are hard wired in into the energy, logistical and built environment infrastructure of our country and region;
6. Promote a development trajectory that is energy intensive linked to the mining revolution that continues to recklessly plunder our natural resources and damage the environment.
7. Reproduce education and training systems, characterised by extreme unevenness, and struggling to transform even 21 years after democracy, and continue to remain a critical element in the reproduction of racialised inequality, especially in the reproduction of a reserve army of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.
8. The end of apartheid has seen the end of diversification of monopoly capital, particularly mining and finance capital, which, in the 1980s, under pressure from economic sanctions diversified into forestry, agro-processing, logistics, retail and manufacturing. With the lifting of sanctions monopoly capital has driven a major wave of disinvestment and de-industrialisation through transnationalisation and capital flight.
9. This process of transnationalisation and expatriation of capital has occurred through transfer pricing, tax havens, foreign listings, and even illegal capital flight. Domestically monopoly capital has sought to achieve maximum profits through collusive behaviour and other market distorting behaviour, including import parity pricing, as well as transforming the work-place through casualization of labour, mostly through labour brokering, mass retrenchments, and increasing capital intensity.
1. The fact that driving a radical transformation and a revolution is not an easy task, requires resilience, adaptability and innovation of members and the second radical phase of NDR is itself a contested terrain
1. Going to the root, SACP and the Economy
1.1. To accept the thrust of the Going to the Root discussion document and its characterisation of the second radical phase of the NDR which must be seen as an anti-imperialist and anti-monopoly capital in its outlook and programmatic perspectives.
1.2. To reaffirm of the 13th congress resolution on the SACP and economy and commit to put in place mechanism to accelerate their implementation and ensure adequate monitoring and evaluation systems. The 13th congress resolutions include, amongst others:
1.3. A commitment to continue to strive to build and strengthen the role of a democratic developmental state in the economy pursuing a multipronged strategy that ensures that we increasingly socialise the commanding heights of the economy. This 2015 Special National Congress resolves therefore to:
a. Strengthen SOEs (State Owned Enterprises) and the DFIs (Development Finance Institutions) capacity to implement
b. Strengthen capacity of the state to administer resources, retard and decisively deal with bad practices and corruption.
c. Build Capacity of state employees to understand the developmental mandate, which goes hand in hand with the establishment of programmes towards enhancing progressive thought within the state.
d. Promote and Strengthen integration and coherence within the state/government institutions.
e. Recommit to fight corruption within both the state and the private sector
f. Support the work of the Competition commission, competition tribunal and Trade Administration Commission in dealing with uncompetitive behaviour that includes collusion and illicit trade and unholy mergers that seek to elbow new entrants and SMMEs in industries.
g. Intensify mandating capacity through a reconfigured alliance that acts as a centre for broad policy decisions to be implemented by the state
1.3. A commitment to become more actively involved in building a strong, vibrant and thriving co- operative sector and movement as a path to create various forms of collective ownership of the means of production and a contribution to socialisation of ownership and control of the means of production and the wealth produced. The Special National Congress further resolved:
a. To build and strengthen the capacity of an apex cooperative movement by assisting to resolve the current impasse.
b. To reiterate a call for the establishment of a strong co-operative movement per province by the 14th national congress.
c. That a support system for co-operatives be put in place that should include training, resourcing and markets through set aside by government and its social partners, including the private sector.
d. Campaign for the introduction of alternative economic studies within the education system, including theories on co-operatives.
e. SACP to persuade Trade Unions to consider using investments, pension and other workers’ funds to establish alternative banking system and services, especially co-operative banking
f. Development and Building of community banks to sustain village and Township economies.
g. The resuscitation of the DTCC be expedited as matter of urgency
1.4. A commitment to campaign for the establishment of co-operative banks and financial co- operatives as a contribution to the transformation of the financial sector. The 2015 Special National Congress resolved:
a. To promote the formation of co-operative banks in tandem with the building of provincial co-operative banks.
1.5. A commitment to support state-led interventions in the economy through massive infrastructure development and the building of productive economic sectors, which should include state ownership of the commanding heights of the economy. The 2015 Special Congress further resolves:
a. That the SACP reassert the strategic importance of rural development. This must systematically contribute to the elimination of persisting uneven development between rural and urban and build and develop production in rural areas as one of the key pillars of transformation in the second radical phase of our democratic transition and contributions to the reduction of unemployment, poverty and inequality, including, in their spatial dimensions of CST, apartheid and combined and uneven capitalist development.
b. That infrastructure development begin to prioritise rural and township social and economic infrastructure as means to facilitate investment in these areas and to address CST (Colonialism of a Special Type) spatial inequalities. This should include purpose-built infrastructure in township and rural areas accompanied by incentives.
c. To reiterate the strengthening of the state owned companies and DFIs as conduits for state ownership and participation in the commanding heights of the economy
1.6. Commitment to promote the use the mineral base to ensure local beneficiation, support industrialisation and thereby grow the local economy in a way that creates more jobs and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, and welcomes proposed resource rent tax, and the use of windfall profit taxes on SASOL. The 2015 Special Congress further resolves:
a. To speed up the process of identifying the strategic minerals to promote beneficiation, using the SIMS report as a base for this determination as well as possible associated taxes.
b. MPRDA be implemented, while strengthening licencing mechanisms to shorten turnaround times, intensifying inspection and put in place monitoring and evaluation mechanisms of the licensing systems.
c. Accelerate the strengthening of the state owned mining company as a means to enhance state involvement and ownership of mining operations.
1.7. Related to the above, the 13th congress also committed to a need to explore policies to control capital flows including transactional tax, given the potential and real destructive impact on the economy and commitment to engage combating import parity pricing, especially in relation to steel and upstream chemical products.
1.8. To commit to determine a percentage of foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to be invested in prescribed assets and to strengthen our campaign for the adoption of prescribed assets.
1.9. To commit to consolidating the state led industrial policy anchored in building the country’s manufacturing sector for local economic development and job creation. Such a policy to encompass regional industrialisation, as a basis for regional integration and development.
1.10. The Special National Congress further resolves:
a. Such manufacturing initiatives must promote a broad-based approach to empowerment of the people, in order to promote a solidarity or social economy, including co-operatives.
b. That SACP structures must be active in the promotion and establishment of co-operatives within local communities and conducting mass education about cooperatives within our branches and the communities they exist in.
c. The industrial policy must be reinforced through a complementary trade policy that should promote development and protection of our local productive industries and anchored in the national interest and the protection of national sovereignty.
d. Link SMME and cooperative development to the mainstream economic sectors. Deal with the tendency to delink SMME and cooperatives from main stream economic sectors.
1.11. Commitment to support a call for establishment of a state bank. The Special Congress further resolves:
a. To call for the expediting of the process of revitalising the South African Post Office as the preferred service provider of a range of services including courier services, and that the Postbank with a potential extensive foot-print throughout our country be licensed as a fully- fledged bank in order to play a central role in, amongst other things, social grant provision and saving.
b. Commitment to the need to de-tenderise the state and ensure that the state adopt a central planning approach for directing resource allocation, distribution and procurement process. The Special National Congress welcomes the establishment of the chief procurement office.
1.12. Commitment to engage and strengthen both engagement and capacity on major macroeconomic issues, particularly fiscal and monetary policy, including impact of monetary policy on creating a stable and competitive exchange rate and reducing interest rate to support development of productive economy. The Special National Congress further resolves:
a. On a need for review on whether the current macro-economic framework may enable a second radical phase of the NDR that will result in the transformation of property relations which is fundamental to the revolution.
2. Revitalising the Financial Sector Campaign
2.1. It is now a decade since the Financial Sector Summit. The Special National Congress calls for a Second Summit to evaluate progress made since the first summit including in terms of the implementation of the Financial Sector Charter.
2.2. On the ground the SACP must actively take up and revitalise our Financial Sector Campaign to achieve transformation of the financial sector as one of the key pillars of our second radical phase of the NDR. Key points of focus of the campaign, underpinned by the need to establish a new financial sector architecture, must be maintained, and must rigorously include:
2.3. The struggle against a new wave of mass dispossession of the working class, the poor and the middle-strata, through the illegal re-possession of homes. This new wave of dispossession is now on a scale similar to apartheid-era forced removals – but this time driven by the financial sector, working hand-in-glove with corrupt property developers and syndicates operating in the administration in courts.
2.4. The struggle against illegal garnishee order and the corrupt practices that enable this.
2.5. The struggle against the plundering of social grants by the private financial institution, insurance and retail operators, working closely with loan sharks. As part of the Know and Act in Your Neighbourhood campaign, SACP structures on the ground must actively monitor what is happening on social grant pay-out days.
3. The international context: BRICS and South-South co-operation
3.1. The Special National Congress welcomes the participation of South Africa in the BRICS forum and South-South relations. The participation in the BRICS bank should signal a first step to move away from the Bretton Woods Institutions that were used as tool for impoverishing and draining resources from developing countries under the disguise of structural adjustment. This New Development Bank must therefore become a real alternative. However our participation in the multipolar world must be anchored on the national interest of protecting our sovereignty. SACP and the movement will have to embark on mass education around this and the entire field of foreign policy.
3.2. Review the system of land reform institutionalisation and recapitalisation of the land reform farms in a manner that ensures effective sustainability, appropriate infrastructure, and support mechanisms.
3.3. SACP should campaign for the productive use of the land in rural villages. To this effect the assets such as stands, plots, farms, forests and quarrying must be used to anchor the village/rural economy – the importance of reintroduction of spatial planning to guide the land use in rural areas.
3.4. Endorse the current development trajectory that seeks to treat youth as assets through youth access to quality education and training; health systems; a correct focus on youth employment, including use of expanded public works programmes and National Youth Service.
II. SACP and the Workplace
1. The conjunctural context of the global capitalist crisis, which has intensified mass urbanisation, international migration, ecological degradation, poverty, inequality, social vulnerability and unemployment.
2. The divisions of our country’s organised labour underpinned by persistent legacy of racial stratification of the labour market, long highlighted by the tragic events of the 1922 Rand Revolt and consolidated by the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1924.
3. The pioneering and leading role played by the SACP in various historical stages of the evolution and maturing of the progressive trade union movement, locally and internationally, over the last century since its predecessor the ISL.
4. This evolution was increasingly intertwined and mutually reinforcing with the development of the broader national liberation movement, culminating in the formation of a giant federation COSATU, bringing various strands under the banner of the Freedom Charter and the strategic perspective of the national democratic revolution.
5. The SACP organised and raised the class consciousness of the working class beyond the workplace and trade unionism – it always orientated itself towards uniting the proletariat as a whole.
6. The delayed scramble of the SA monopoly capital to transnationalise, financialise, is causing deindustrialisation, volatility and thus exerting greater pressure in the formulation of economic policy.
7. COSATU is passing through its worst period of internal instability since its establishment in 1985.
8. The emerging orientation within COSATU guided by the slogan “Back to Basics”, which correctly seeks to focus on improving service to members in the workplace, democratic worker control, discipline and accountability.
9. The progressive trade union movement emerged as part of the broader anti-colonial and independence struggle, though unevenly in different sub-regions.
10. The considerable gains brought about by labour laws introduced since 1994.
11. On the whole, the workplace relations have not fundamentally transformed.
12. The important role played by the state in addressing unemployment through different forms of public employment programmes.
13. The persistent gross abuse of workers by labour brokers despite the recent introduction of regulations.
1. The systemic crisis of capitalism has intensified super-exploitation of global labour, forced urbanisation and international migration and thus underpins the eruption of xenophobic discrimination and violence, sexual exploitation, consumption of drugs and crime and civil wars.
2. The correct emphasis in orientation on the “Back to Basics” is inseparable from ideological and political training, as improving organising and service to members is mutually reinforcing with class consciousness and political activism in the broader economic, community and political struggles.
3. The combined objective legacy of the CST (Colonialism of a Special Type) and GEAR (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) as well as the systemic capitalist crisis have undermined the growth of the South African trade union movement especially in the private sector which is marked by low union density, as a result of deindustrialisation, output contraction and the restructuring of the workplace. This has been accompanied by some subjective weaknesses, including declining levels of class consciousness, careerism, business unionism and the impact of the broader objective capitalist reality.
4. The massive change in the composition of labour after the World War II and Neoliberal globalisation since the 1970s have thrown up harsh lessons for COSATU (the SACP and ANC) on the need for sustained strategic vigilance in terms of the mode and forms of union organisation and tactical creativity and adaptation in an ever changing reality.
5. The second radical phase takes place in a reality where there are sharpening internal contradictions marked by escalating disputes in the workplace, an ideological offensive against unions and in the broader political front, intertwined with the “external” imperialist dimensions as the SA monopoly capital financialises and transnationalises. This undermines possibilities of economic consensus or social accord and calls for maximum unity and cohesion within the Alliance.
6. The pervasive super-exploitation of workers in vulnerable sectors, death and injury at work, causualisation, retrenchments, etc. persist because of the weaknesses of trade unions and the failure on the government to enforce labour legislation.
7. Some of the work opportunities created through the public employment programmes are actually supposed to be part of the public service, which are used to externalise the costs as pay low and exclude benefit.
We therefore resolve:
1. To resuscitate the ideological and organisational commission between COSATU and SACP.
2. There is a need for COSATU to draw from its own history, especially in mining, in organising migrant workers into its fold, to focus on building a stronger regional, continental and international trade union movement and in particular the WFTU.
3. That government must enforce labour laws in the fight against the super-exploitation of the vulnerable migrant workers and the displacement of SA workers.
4. Call for the enforcement of labour laws to protect workers in vulnerable sectors by expanding and strengthening the labour laws inspectorate in the Department of Labour.
5. To engage and work with COSATU in developing practical ways of tackling business unionism, careerism, in addressing the challenge posed by union investments and retirement funds.
6. To work with COSATU in advancing the perspective of building a social wage, comprehensive social security system and thus developing relevant campaigns on land reform, retirement insurance, universal health insurance, etc.
7. To work in joint campaigns with COSATU against labour brokers.
8. To call for the filling of vacancies rather than using interns or community workers as part of building the developmental state.
9. To coordinate and lead a clearly spelt out programme on building SACP units in workplaces – with a defined role that is distinct from that of trade unions.
10. All branches must incorporate work with COSATU Locals and enhance coordination of workplaces within their jurisdiction.
11. Reaffirm the SACP stance on e-tolls and emphasising the creation of an extensive integrated public transport system concentrating on creating efficient linkages with workings class neighbourhoods.
12. The SACP to lead campaigns against privatisation, outsourcing and the tenderisation of the state thus building a dynamic link between communities for whom services are meant, the workers and the trade union movement.
13. To support workers’ strikes, especially in strategic companies and sectors and introduce the party directly to workers.
14. To actively participate in the organising and bargaining conferences of COSATU and its affiliates to advance our perspective on:
14.1. Strategies to deal with business unionism, which must include developing policies on the investment arms, retirement and other workers’ funds or schemes, procurement policies and fund raising.
14.2. Innovative modes and forms of organising workers and demarcation of organisational scopes, mergers and building super unions in line with COSATU’s principle of “one union – one industry”.
14.3. The transformation of the workplace to address the persistent racialised and gendered inequalities, including discrimination on the basis of disability, sexual orientation, etc.
14.4. Broadening the Financial Sector Campaign to address the permanent blacklisting of workers and former prisoners, building our and workers’ own co-operative banks, determination of investment policy of workers’ funds, etc.
14.5. Deal with gender based oppression and the legacy of gendered division of labour.
Chapter 2: SACP and state power
I. Reconfigured alliance, electoral options and state power
1. The character of the SACP as an independent Marxist-Leninist Vanguard Party that, since the late 1920s, has struggled for the realisation of working class hegemony over state power, as a decisive step towards consolidating a national democratic revolution as the most direct path to socialism in South Africa.
2. In line with the SACP’s Medium Term Vision, working class hegemony over state power can only be advanced, deepened and defended through simultaneously building working class hegemony in all key sites of power – in our communities, in the work place, in the battle of ideas, in the economy.
3. In the current multi-party democratic dispensation in South Africa, parliamentary and municipal elections are an important but relatively limited site of struggle for the realisation of working class hegemony over state power.
4. Consistent with the above, the 1st Special National Congress adopted a resolution to initiate an internal debate on state power under new conditions post April 1994, and that the 12th National Congress adopted a set of resolutions and proposed a clear way forward.
5. The 13th National Congress and the 2012 Augmented Central Committee further resolved on this matter on the basis that objective and subjective conditions did not warrant a profound change in SACP’s electoral options.
6. That at the core of the 13th National Congress resolutions was the need for the SACP to contest elections under a Reconfigured Alliance, and that owing to improved Alliance conditions and shared strategic perspectives post the ANC’s 52nd and 53rd National Conferences, the resolution was not formalised nor fully implemented.
7. The July 2015 Alliance Summit was yet another watershed moment that consolidated the unity of the Alliance and adopted a clear programme of action and resolutions based on the shared strategic perspective of a Second Radical Phase of the NDR,
8. That whilst the creation of an Alliance Political Council and a well-functioning Alliance Secretariat has further improved Alliance relations at national level, this has not found concrete expression in provinces and regions. On the contrary, Alliance relations in some provinces and regions have deteriorated and degenerated to unacceptable levels.
9. The current process of organisational renewal and redesign provides yet another strategic platform to engage on the SACP’s relations with state power and the long-term strategy for socialism
1. The South Road to Socialism (SARS) and the Medium Term Vision (MTV) contain the SACP’s clear theoretical and political perspectives on state power, and electoral processes.
2. Conceptual clarity and consistent discipline on the meaning and articulation of concepts of state power and electoral options is critical to avoid theoretical confusion and unintended alienation of the SACP from its historic contribution and decisive role in contest of state power and its radical transformation.
1. The 12th National Congress resolution on contesting elections under conditions of a Reconfigured Alliance be implemented based on a clear framework, principles and guidelines and that such be tabled at the Alliance Political Council for implementation commencing with the next local government elections.
2. It is therefore important that in line with the Alliance Summit resolutions, and as part of their implementation, the Alliance Political Council decisively and speedily intervenes in provinces and regions where Alliance relations have deteriorated and degenerated to unfortunate and unacceptable levels.
3. As part of organisational renewal and redesign, a standing CC Commission on State Power and Electoral options be established to evaluate and further refine our long term strategy for socialism based on the following:
3.1. An independent programme of the SACP for socialism as articulated in SARS.
3.2. Favourable objective and subjective concrete conditions.
3.3. Dynamic, robust and democratic engagements with revolutionary, fraternal and Alliance formations and communities to ensure working class hegemony and leadership.
3.4. Proper and scientific assessment of the class balance of forces at all levels.
4. That a report of this Commission be tabled in the forthcoming 14th National Congress.
II. Governance and local government elections 2016
1. The deteriorating relations of the Alliance at sub-national level,
2. The escalation of anti-SACP hostility by some individuals
1. Fully endorsed the alliance summit decision to improve the functioning of the alliance and strengthen its unity.
2. Party members must be active in the strengthening and building SANCO structures in the context of building organs of popular participatory democracy.
3. Due consideration should be given to repositioning the alliance as the strategic centre of power and the best suited organised formation of the South African society.
4. The Alliance components must be considerably strengthened at all sub-national levels.
5. The Alliance as a whole, not just the ANC, should scrutinise selected comrades for deployment in electoral lists.
6. Implementation of Alliance campaigns and programmes must be rooted in united and collective activism.
Accountability and Deployment: Noting
3. Comrades who are not qualified or experienced are at times deployed to strategic areas with little understanding and appreciation of their mandates.
4. The need to ensure that Comrades account for their deployment tasks and objectives.
5. Current deployments are often based on populist mobilisation and not necessarily capacity.
6. The policy to retain 60% of current councillors is opposed because it will mean the retention of poorly performing councillors.
7. The need to develop comrades based on specialised tasks and requirements for their respective deployments.
1. Deployed Party cadres must be experienced in their respective fields and that every deployee raises the bar in serving their communities and in their functions.
2. A thorough process of monitoring and evaluation should be implemented.
3. The Deployment and Accountability mechanisms should be made up of all Alliance partners.
4. There should be a comprehensive skills audits of all public representatives and government officials.
5. All public representatives, not just councillors, should be continuously educated, trained and conscientised through a political, ideological and governance school.
Local Government: Noting
1. The importance of locating local government in the context of local development.
2. Local government is part of the system of governance in South Africa which has three spheres, and should not be completely isolated from the provincial and national spheres.
3. There needs to be an effective response to the adverse effects of disinvestment on our local/ community/ township economies.
4. Strengthening local government in relation to “Back to Basics” must take into consideration the lack of infrastructure and resources at local government level.
5. Non-viable municipalities need to be addressed appropriately.
6. The demobilisation of communities and the emergence of passive citizens since the 1994 democratic breakthrough.
7. The influence of negative counter-revolutionary and reactionary trends within the Alliance find more expression among the youth
8. Rural mobilisation and recruitment of farmworkers are lacking.
1. Councillors must account to the communities they serve as well, to the movement, and to the governance system of accountability.
2. Innovative ideas at turning around local government need to be developed, such as municipal local forums.
3. The employment programmes, including the CWP and EPWP, at local government level are being abused and need to be monitored effectively and the abuse must be uprooted
4. Deployment to Council must not be viewed as a method of employment but a means to deepen and consolidate the NDR and serve the people.
5. Party cadres must develop community profiles through the Know and Act in Your Neighbourhood Campaign as a means to identify and resolve challenges associated with inequality, unemployment and poverty.
6. To strengthen co-operatives, 50% procurement of all services by municipalities must be set aside for co-operatives in our communities/localities.
7. The commission decided that institutionalisation of research and development units in all municipalities must be implemented.
8. The Party must ensure that it takes up community struggles, guides and leads the struggle for better and adequate services and for sustainable livelihoods.
9. Reinforce, build and strengthen communist and revolutionary morality in our communities.
10. Issues raised in the 2014 door-to-door election campaign by residents need to be addressed well before the 2016 local government elections campaign begins.
11. The commission reaffirmed that communists must serve the people first.
1. The need to empower branches to combat the corruption and the ills associated with corruption
2. The tenderisation of state-society relations and the tender system as it stands buttresses corruption.
3. Corruption must be understood in the context of a widely stratified society based on class foundations of and persisting inequality.
4. State employment and contracts and associated political contestations are a danger to our revolution.
5. Revitalising and broadening the Red Card Campaign against Corruption.
6. The commission decided that the tender system must be reviewed and scrapped.
7. Party cadres implicated in corruption must be investigated within clear timeframes, and those found guilty must resign or be dismissed from the Party.
8. Establish stricter measures within the Party and the movement relative to the state as well as a code of conduct to combat corruption. The organisational review process must determine the institutional character of the enforcement commission within the Party.
Local government elections 2016 Noting
1. Previous commitments to ensure proper election report backs at lower levels have not been implemented.
2. The negative role factionalism plays in elections.
3. With concern, the use of patronage and attempts to capture the movement during elections.
4. Voter education is a crucial component in relation to elections.
1. The Party and Alliance must develop and strengthen our research capacity for elections.
2. All public officials must actively participate and serve as volunteers in the run-up and during local government elections.
3. The Party must actively support the YCLSA in the formulation and implementation of election campaigning with a key focus on the youth sector.
4. Communists must not be involved in factional trends, the Party’s constitution must be applied vigorously to deal with violations.
5. Door-to-door canvassing and the Know and Act in Your Neighbourhood Campaign must be implemented on a continuous basis and not only during elections. Challenges raised during door- to-door and previous elections must be resolved before the next elections and there must be feedback to the communities.
6. The Alliance must ensure that the Registration campaign is implemented on time.
7. The commission decided that a comprehensive rural election campaign plan must be developed.
8. To endorse the SACP’s 2009 and 2012 local government papers and resolutions and more actively implement decisions taken.
9. To implement the 2012 resolution to “mandate the incoming CC to develop an SACP programme on local government that contributes to deepening and advancing NDR and creates the conditions for socialism.”
10. To strengthen the Central Committee “State and Governance” Sub-Committee to play a far more effective role.
11. To support the “Back to Basics” approach but link it to the need for changes to local government model as per the resolutions of the 2009 and 2012 SACP Congresses and the ANC’s 2012 Mangaung Congress.
12. To respond effectively to the increasing urbanisation of the country, including through the Integrated Urban Development Framework and other ways previously endorsed by the SACP. Rural development remains a critical pillar that the SACP must advance to eliminate uneven development and resource allocation between rural and urban.
13. To wage a massive programmatic campaign against corruption in all spheres of government.
14. To strongly oppose privatisation of services and sale of local government assets.
15. To engage within the Alliance to reduce tensions between the SACP and ANC at sub-national levels including through convening alliance Summits at provincial and district/regional levels based on the recent national Alliance Summit.
16. To convene a SACP local government workshop by December 2015.
1. To campaign for the implementation of the 2012 resolution on provinces.
Chapter 3: The battle of ideas
The 3rd SNC reaffirms the theoretical formulation that the battle of ideas is one of the most contested terrains of struggle and key centres of power, as it is the case with ownership and control in the economy, and with which it is inextricably intertwined. The battle of ideas is primarily about power, hegemony, transformation and development, and therefore the overall direction and mould of society. As Karl Marx once said, the dominant ideas of each epoch are the ideas of its ruling class. The class which is the ruling material force is at the same time therefore each epoch’s ruling intellectual force. Our struggle to achieve a complete revolution is therefore faced with an uphill battle. This requires, as Engels once said, that we elevate the theoretical struggle to be on a par with the economic and political struggles in the overall struggle to achieve universal emancipation.
The SNC adopts the central thesis and thrust of the Party’s discussion document, ‘Going to the root: the context, content and strategic tasks’ in relation to advancing and deepening the second radical phase of the National Democratic Revolution, the South African road to socialism . The congress further adopts the following resolutions.
II. Transformation of the media and diversity Findings and noting, background and context
1. Prior to the 1990 democratic breakthrough, both the Alliance components in exile and internal structures aligned to the Alliance began to develop strategies and policies intended to transform the South African media into an sector able to adequately serve a democratic South Africa.
2. They did so in circumstances in which South African media was either controlled directly by the state (with the SABC having a monopoly on free-to-air radio and television stations), or by the Nasionale Pers, since transformed into Naspers, which was founded as the voice of the Cape Town wing of the National Party and was linked to the Broederbond, or by the three major newspaper groups (of which Nasionale Pers was one). All three were white-owned. Their newspapers’ attitude towards the Alliance formations ranging from cautious to antagonistic.
3. While a small, under-resourced “alternative media” had developed in the last decade of apartheid rule, most were dependent on international donor aid and, with a single exception, did not survive into the democratic era.
4. Both internal initiatives and those of the outlawed political organisations necessarily gave primary attention to transforming the SABC from a state mouthpiece into a public broadcaster able to cover the pre-democracy phase impartially and that would ultimately “serve society as a whole and give a voice to all sectors of the population”.
[Draft Media Charter (1991) on the future of the South African media convened by the ANC Department Of Information And Publicity in 1991, at which the wide range of participants endorsed a draft Media Charter, attached to this document as Appendix A. The charter was accepted by the ANC national executive committee in 1992 as ANC policy, and incorporated into the ANC’s pre-election manifesto, Ready to govern. Elements of the charter, in slightly diluted form, were incorporated into the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), attached as Appendix B.]
5. But both also recognised the need to end the monopoly arrangements in broadcast and print media, and that a democratic government would need to provide material support to new media entities to ensure the South African public would have access to a range of perspectives to enable them to make informed decisions.
6. Initiatives by media activists inside South Africa, and several gatherings outside the country at which exiled and internal media activists met and debated, ultimately converged at a conference
7. Both Ready to Govern and the RDP recognise the need to develop a diversity of South African media voices in the print and electronic sectors (digital, web-based media was in its infancy at the time, although the charter’s principles can be applied there too) and to do so by:
a. Breaking up existing monopolies (through “anti-trust and merger legislation”) [Draft Media Charter (1991)] and preventing their re-emergence; and
b. An affirmative action programme “to provide financial, technical and other resources to those sectors of society deprived of such means” … “an equitable distribution of media resources, development programmes and a deliberate effort to engender a culture of open debate”.
8. The RDP committed an ANC-led government to set up an “affirmative action programme, consistent with the best experiences in the world … (to) empower communities and individuals from previously disadvantaged sectors of society. This must include: mechanisms to make available resources needed to set up broadcasting and printing enterprises at a range of levels” and measures to “limit monopoly control of the media and to impose “strict limitations on … cross-ownership of print and broadcast media”.
9. A government commission established make recommendations on government communications, the Communication Task Group (Comtask), included in its final report (in October 1996) practical recommendations to implement these commitments. It recommended that:
a. Media ownership be investigated by the Competition Board (now the Competition Commission) and monopoly and cartel arrangements terminated; and
b. The establishment of a government media fund to support the establishment and operation of new media platforms, reflecting the perspectives and interests of those not represented in the status quo media.
10. A Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) proposal circa 2000 developed the media fund recommendation further, providing costing and detailed proposals on how it would operate to diversify the range of perspectives available to readers, listeners and viewers of South African media.
11. At this point, the drive to diversify the perspectives available from South Africa’s media ran headlong into the Growth, Development and Reconstruction programme (Gear) and the 1996 Class Project.
12. The first preferred to see “the market” take responsibility for media developments. Individuals from within the second sought – and acquired – lucrative equity shareholdings in the status quo media, or in newly licensed private broadcasting services, and actively discouraged state involvement in providing media to compete for “their captive” audiences.
13. The only institution to emerge from the diversity initiative was the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). But it did so as a shadow of the original concept, limited to providing a trickle of funds to community and small commercial print media (community radio stations, community and small commercial newspapers, community television and other online platforms to produce media, while representatives of the established media sat on its decision-making structures to veto funding of any initiatives they thought might threaten “their” markets.
While MDDA has managed to support many marginal and struggling media initiatives alive, it was and remains constrained from doing more by law and regulation and extremely limited budgets. It is limited by law to supporting community and small commercial media and has very limited resources, contributed by a partnership between Government and the broadcast and print media.
14. In the absence of any serious state support for the development of alternatives to the dominant media houses, these embarked on an aggressive programme of profit maximisation and rationalisation, ultimately creating one of the five most concentrated media sectors in the world, in which the ideological perspectives are all to the right to the extreme free-market advocacy and fundamentalism.
15. Two decades after the achievement of democracy, South Africa no longer enjoys even the questionable diversity of the “big four” competing media houses which reported on the democratic breakthrough. It has instead dominant, monopoly – Naspers, worth more than double the combined value of all its South African competitors. Naspers, through Media 24, controls more than 60% of daily newspaper sales, more than 50% of weekly sales; about 70% of magazine sales and nearly 50% of community newspaper sales; and also controls our country’s major internet service Mweb. the Rather than greater diversity, South Africa now boasts, as part of its “democratic dividend”, that single company:
a. Monopolising satellite and terrestrial digital television, and ruthlessly defending its monopoly by, among others, subverting government policy development processes to prevent the emergence of a viable competitor.
b. Producing half the daily newspapers sold in South Africa;
c. Producing nearly two-thirds of weekly newspapers sold in our country;
d. Producing nearly three-quarters of magazines sold in our country; and
e. Controlling the country’s major internet service provider (M-Web), and through it, the most regularly visited South African websites.
16. In addition, the dominant, monopoly with its roots in the Afrikaner Broederbond has successfully engaged in a brutal and well-funded campaign of corporate capture to turn the SABC (in particular TV) – the public broadcaster the ANC media charter intended should “serve society as a whole and give a voice to all sectors of the population” – into a branch of its television operation, MultiChoice. Today it effectively dictates how the SABC news department allocates its resources, and has taken effective control of its entertainment archive and influence on programming using it, skewing both towards serving the rich and middle-income minority.
17. The behaviour of the broadcasting, and telecommunications regulator, Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), suggests it too has been a victim of Naspers’ corporate capture. Icasa has not only declared that satellite television should not be subject to “cross-media” ownership restrictions (the restrictions intended to prevent media groups from becoming information monopolies by limiting them from owning newspapers, radio and TV services at the same time), but it has also allowed it to operate with virtually no control over its domination of the South African market.
18. And, not satisfied with dominating TV, and turning the SABC from a vehicle for all South Africans into one for a few, mostly rich South Africans in class terms and the well-off, Naspers is using its vast resources to undercut and destroy South Africa’s increasingly embattled independent local newspaper operators and to marginalise and financially destroy those of its television sector competitors it cannot directly control.
19. The remnants of the other “Big Four” media houses are consigned to the margins of South African media, as are newcomers.
20. The poor and working class majority in South Africa, promised media able to report developments in South Africa and the world from their perspective, and to speak to and for them, remain voiceless in the mainstream media.
21. Instead of a vibrant and diverse media, South Africa has a steadily shrinking source of information, in which commercial rationalisation and attrition, driven by shareholders’ demand for profit maximisation, is seeing fewer and fewer journalists having to do more and more. The result has been, in all media sectors, a steady decline in editorial quality, reliability and accuracy.
22. South Africa has become one of the world’s five most concentrated media markets.
Further noting influencing factors, policy, regulation and statutes
23. Since the late 1990s, dominant media policy in our country has been reformist, rather than transformatory.
24. It has moved steadily away from the ANC’s and Alliance’s 1990-1994 objective of transforming the media sector by increasing the number of media voices to include those able to speak on behalf of, and from the perspective of, the majority of South Africans – that is, the working class and the poor communities that constitute its core constituency.
25. Policy has instead concentrated almost exclusively on the media inherited from the apartheid dispensation, attempting to reform those media through mechanisms that are, by and large coercive. The objective has shrunk from transforming the sector by adding progressive voices to it, to the narrower, and (as the last 15 years have demonstrated) unachievable objective of compelling individual media outlets to reflect the full diversity of perspective in South African society.
26. While action is essential to achieve consistently more accurate and reliable reporting, this alone will not achieve a media sector appropriate for a democratic society, able to reflect the views and perspectives of all sectors of a democratic South African society – and particularly those of the working class and the poor.
27. As the current media environment graphically demonstrates, existing policies have not only been unsuccessful, but have in practice achieved precisely the opposite of what the Alliance originally intended. Ownership of the South African media is concentrated in fewer hands; it is more consistent and hegemonic in reflecting the views of capital than the views of the majority in terms of our vision of a democratic South Africa; and recent changes in ownership – the emergence of new patterns do not necessarily translate into fundamental transformation. The hegemonic control or influence of established capital remain consistent across print, television (including, even on the SABC), radio and web-based outlets.
28. In particular respects, it is accelerating. The South Africa media is no longer exclusively white- owned, but it is firmly in the hands of capital who mostly if not exclusively see their task as exploiting the majority. And it is dominated by a company established and promoted by the Broederbond, and still behaving much as it did under apartheid.
29. The entry of emerging black capital as major shareholders in several media houses indicates that the issue goes beyond simply racial ownership. Black shareholders, including union investment arms, have not publicly proven that they are not supporting the profit-maximising initiatives of their white fellow-shareholders across all media houses at the expense of content quality.
30. At the same time, laws and regulations for the media sector have the effect of reinforcing the status quo, with both the regulator and, to a lesser extent, the competition authorities hegemonically captured by the idea that radio and television operations are primarily profit-generating ventures, rather than platforms to reflect South African society’s diversity of perspective and opinion.
31. Icasa, bound in term of the Icasa Act to “regulate in the public interest …” operates instead to promote the commercial success of broadcasting licence-holders whose activities it oversees, at the expense of the public whose interested it was set up to serve.
32. It routinely ignores the law and its own regulations to allow private monopoly domination of our media sector and, on the fringes, to approve questionable, legally, ownership of radio stations by foreign-owned newspapers.
33. The drive within our Alliance to introduce independent content regulation for print and broadcasting outlets, prior to and during the ANC Polokwane national conference, faced resistance from within the print media to anything other than voluntary, and largely toothless, “self-regulation” described as “co-regulation”.
34. Today, despite some progressive, and ground-breaking decisions by the entity the media ultimately established, the print media remains unrestricted by any rules other than the rule of the market to provide reliable and accurate information on which South Africans can rely.
35. Parliament, required by the 52nd and 53rd national conferences of the ANC to debate and develop a programme to achieve media transformation, has not advanced.
36. Governance and administrative issues afflicting the SABC as noted by our 13th National Congress in 2012 July appear to have remained persistent. Recently there has been a diffusion of board members who have either resigned or removed in a manner that was questionable.
37. Icasa has also lost most of its councillors, while the MDDA is unable to function legally – it has too few directors to enable its board to take decisions.
38. The recent decision to change the Broadcast Digital Migration Policy – to bring it into line with that demanded by the MultiChoice controlled SABC, and strengthen MultiChoice’s dominance of television – will further marginalise the working class and the poor of our country.
39. About the negative consequences of the Naspers Multichoice agreement with SABC including the transfer of the SABC archives into the hands of Multichoice;
40. That the current government policy on digital migration, which does not allow control or encryption in set top boxes benefits Multichoice only, prevents the emergence of new pay TV providers, and will not protect the local electronics industry or create sufficient capacity for jobs;
41. About the constant allegations of corruption related to the Multichoice-SABC agreement and the set top box matter as well as related to the affairs of the SABC;
42. The failure of the SABC as a public broadcaster and constant infighting.
1. De-monopolisation in the pay-TV market will benefit those currently excluded from access to pay-TV, including soccer matches, very important to the working class and the poor, which is restricted to those who can pay the high subscription fees.
2. De-monopolisation will mean lower subscriptions, more viewers and greater choice.
1. To take forward media transformation and diversity rigorously:
1.1. As with the SACP’s intervention to give concrete content to the slogan “towards a second, more radical phase of the national democratic revolution” with our Going to the root discussion document, a re-examination and re-assertion of the of the Alliance’s original objectives, formulated in 1990-1994, is necessary to identify concrete steps towards a – much-needed – second, more radical programme to transform South Africa’s media.
1.2. The SACP needs to engage progressive forces including our own alliance – on a recognition of the need for this second radical phase, aimed at meeting the key objectives that were at the heart of the Media Charter and the broader policy objectives with which the alliance entered Government.
1.3. We must actively draw into our initiative all formations willing to support and to campaign for the principles and objectives we agree on – and particularly those formations involving media workers and the masses of media audiences who stand to gain most from the achievement of our goals.
1.4. Our core objective is to achieve and entrench in policy, law and regulation, and in practice, a media that reflects the full diversity of perspective, interests and needs of all South Africans – rather than, as is currently the case, the hegemonic perspectives of the dominant classes.
1.5. To develop and embark on a sustained and comprehensive programme of action to generate support within the Alliance and more broadly among progressive forces, and ultimately to achieve a situation in which the objectives reflected in the ANC Media Charter, and the broader policy objectives concerning the media with which the Alliance entered government in 1994 – that is media that reflect the full diversity of perspective, interests and needs of all South Africans – rather than, as is currently the case, the hegemonic perspectives of the dominant classes;
1.6. Based on the above, and in addition the below listed objectives, convene a national summit on media transformation and diversity aimed at achieving de-monopolisation, to take place within two months of this resolution’s approval by the third SNC of the SACP, with participation not only by Alliance formations, but also by formations with a principled material interest in the transformation of South Africa’s media – and in particular those formations involving media workers and the masses of media audiences who stand to gain most from achievement of our goals.
1.7. That, as a first step in this process, prepare position papers on the central planks of this programme, and that the three central planks of this transformation programme will be Diversifying South Africa’s media; Breaking monopoly dominance of South Africa’s media sector; Developing and strengthening accountability mechanisms and systems.
1.8. Diversifying South Africa’s media by promoting recognition of the need for state support and resourcing of media transformation and diversification to include print, broadcasting and web- based media platforms able to reflect the perspectives, ideals and interests of the majority of South Africans, owned and controlled by entities operating in the interests of the working class and the poor, and published and broadcast in the languages they speak. This will necessarily be paralleled by a programme to review and amend laws and regulations that promote licensing of profit-based ownership at the expense of public interest, particularly in the broadcasting sector.
1.9. Breaking monopoly dominance of South Africa’s media sector by capital generally, and by reactionary commercial interest with their roots in apartheid ruling elite, through:
a. Rigorously taking forward our 13th National Congress resolutions on media transformation and, in addition, advance the following measures:
b. A programme to ensure existing cross-media restrictions and other anti-monopoly and pro- competition regulations and laws are rigorously enforced.
c. Where necessary, new anti-monopoly media laws and regulations are prepared and introduced, and the regulatory bodies – Icasa and the Competition Commission in particular – are re-organised to free them from regulatory capture by the media companies they exist to oversee.
d. A process of increasing the oversight and powers of intervention of parliament to ensure regulatory authorities and those responsible for public media – and the SABC in particular – adhere strictly to their mandates to operate in the public interest.
e. Development of mechanisms through which representatives of South African audiences – those people supposedly served by the media – a given a real voice, beyond a purely market- driven system, in deciding on the forms of media available to them.
1.10. Developing accountability mechanisms and systems to ensure the South African media provides accurate, credible and reliable information to its audiences – the millions of South Africans who rely on it for the information need to make informed decisions about themselves and this country.
1.11. As part of media accountability mechanism, campaign for and support the independent regulation of media, this with effective tools, including sanctions, and that the Press Code must prescribe, where sanctions, that apologies must be prominently mainstreamed in line with the Judgment and that apologies, in case of online media, must be streamlined in the stories. Support the call for an Independent Media Tribunal, or its congruent, independent institutional regulatory mechanism.
1.12. Best-practice systems of accountability, regulation and governance, including fast-track anti- defamation legal processes to enable victims of maliciously inaccurate media reporting to secure rapid relief through the courts must be developed.
III. Transformation of the public broadcaster, the SABC, and digital migration
1. Given the centrality of the SABC as the public broadcaster, and the only media platform reaching all South Africans in the multiplicity of languages in which they communicate, particular attention must be given to the accountability and governance systems currently in effect, but which have manifestly failed to ensure the SABC is competent to “serve society as a whole and give a voice to all sectors of the population”.
2. Intensify our campaign to roll-back the influence and control of private monopoly, including Naspers’ Multichoice’s problematic dealings, on our public broadcaster, the SABC, and take forward our 13th National Congress resolutions on matters relating to SABC funding.
3. The Party should lead a strong and visible Alliance campaign to fight the corporate capture of SABC by Naspers or any private monopoly, including a major march to SABC by December 2015, and a “Hands off SABC” march to Naspers Head Office.
4. Recognising that nothing is won in negotiating and consulting forums that has not already been won – actually or potentially – in the streets, to mobilise and undertake regular and sustained mass action to raise public awareness of those who, by their actions, seek to deprive the working class and the poor of even the limited media to which they currently have access: the management and executives of Naspers and of the SABC.
5. The Party should campaign to reclaim and professionalise the SABC, campaign strongly for strengthening of the public broadcaster and the removal of the so-called COO, most probably illegally appointed, and for the use of the Broadcasting Act not the Companies Act in the appointment processes to reinforce Parliaments role in relation to the public broadcaster
6. The analogue to digital migration process must be grounded in our alliance’s shared perspective of a second radical phase of transformation and democratic transition. It must therefore contribute the development of production locally and transformation of the media terrain, especially by fostering de-monopolisation.
7. To strengthen and intensify our campaign against corruption and corporate capture, which has a corrupt dimension, and to call for an investigation on allegations of corruption and/or collusion on the Multichoice SABC agreement and the Set Top Box matter.
8. To develop the Party perspective on the nature and role of public broadcaster, in particular in relation to Government communication.
9. The Broadcast Digital Migration Policy must ensure the strengthening of Free to Air Television (including SABC, commercial TV and community TV) as part of the digital future, with public service channels like SABC News, Parliamentary Channels, etc. availed on Free to Air Public Broadcasting, with scheduling that enables the working class to benefit from this information sharing, in order for the majority of our citizens to have access to public service programming and information.
10. The Broadcast Digital Migration Policy implementation must provide opportunities for new entrants, especially the historically disadvantaged, into and the development of the local electronics industry and the creation of jobs, and the reduction of the cost of pay TV.
11. Youth should be mobilised and trained as engineers, in partnership for example with Cuban engineers, in order to transfer skills and these trained youth, including YCL cadres who are eligible, should be mobilised to consider work in owned companies like SABC, Eskom, etc. with a long term view of the capacity of the state.
IV. Alternative communication, capacity and content
1. The need for alternative communication and media, capacity and content and the important objectives of regulating local content, being the development of a national culture.
2. The twin imperatives of promotion of freedom of expression and cultural diversity.
3. The development of a domestic market and industry for indigenous or local content.
4. The development of an export market and globally competitive industry.
1. The broadcasting and entertainment industry is an important part of South Africa’s socio-cultural and socio-economic transformation project.
2. The music industry is an important sub-sector of this industry, not only for entertainment but for real change and progress towards a truly developmental and culturally free society;
3. As part of the creative arts, music and dance have contributed immensely to changing the whole societies’ popular culture and have enriched human development in many ways.
4. Music and dance forms part of the “higher order” standard of living of human beings
5. A people is not completely free unless it can fully tap into its creative human potential and express themselves culturally, either as producers or consumers of culture.
6. Despite the emergence of new technologies and thus new forms of piracy, the music industry still relies a lot on radio for revenue and growth or sales and the industry as whole. In this context, the SABC becomes important as a public broadcaster
7. In terms of government public policy posture, state owned enterprises are at the centre of building a developmental state a
8. The whole drive for the re-industrialisation of the economy depends in many respects on SOEs that articulate and implement in vigorous manner their public mandates whilst ensuring commercial viability
9. The creative industry, of which music is part, is one of the opportunities available for re- industrialisation and the SABC plays and important part in promoting local content
The SNC therefore resolves
1. That as a general principle, Icasa regulations must always consider the interplay of the foregoing aspects when it regulates the broadcasting industry, better to appreciate the very important permutations in the industry
2. That research and development into the music and related industry should be improved and Icasa has a role to play in this regard.
3. That Icasa should prioritise local content over foreign content, and that the public broadcasters should be at the forefront of these new quotas.
4. That given the proven link between airplay and market growth, the regulations must stipulate new quotas: local must be increased to a minimum of 60 percent for public radio and TV and 50% for private platforms. More local content means more local revenue, growth of industry, better quality products and various spin-offs for the entire value chain
5. That Icasa should continue to explore new and innovative ways to incentivise those who comply and dis-incentivise those who do not comply;
6. That beyond regulation, Icasa should use these processes of regulation review to engage the industry on a high level commitment: a social compact of the broadcasting industry to respond to the National Development plan. Regulation also in not sufficient to get better outcomes.
7. To push forward with plans for alternative media/radio/TV with left content and to fully utilise Community Radio Stations to popularise Party positions
8. To promote left cultural activism and engage with cultural activist community regarding the reactionary portrayal of our people on our television and the role played by advertising.
9. Actively combat traditional patriarchy and culture erosion of gains in respect of gender transformation and fight against the monopoly capital push back the gains of gender transformation and the rights of women workers
10. To train Party cadres in writing, media production and media handling skills to enable the generation of left media content in a variety of formats.
V. The Party press and media
This SNC recognises:
1. That although the SACP has consistently produced media, both print and digital, more regularly than any other formation in the Alliance, its media output remains inadequate to meet the needs of its members, the SACP’s organisational needs, and the needs of is mass constituency.
1. To mandate the office-bearers to ensure preparation, for submission to the next meeting of the Central Committee, of proposals for:
1.1. Establishment and sustainable operation of regular media platforms for the dissemination, nationally, of news and information prepared from a socialist or communist perspective on domestic South African developments and events, and of global events of significance to South Africans generally and to the South African working class in particular, thus leaving the existing journals, Umsebenzi and The Africa Communist, to perform their mandated tasks: to speak to members of the SACP and its broader constituency as the SACP.
1.2. A sustainable programme of capacity building in the provincial, district and even branch structures of the SACP and the YCL to enable these structures to emulate the example of the YCL in the Northern Cape, which publishes and distributes its own provincial publications, and to develop the capacity of SACP comrades to contribute to local print media, local and community radio stations, and to internet-based platforms from a socialist perspective.
VI. Ideological training, new initiatives and broad thrust
1. The need to sharpen our ideological tools, political education, including women cadre development.
2. The need to intensify SACP mass campaigning, information sharing and popular mass education.
3. The need to develop SACP’s own media and the Party press, and the importance of advancing alternative communications and media capacity and content.
4. The strategic imperative to locate all transformation efforts within our liberation alliance’s shared perspective to place our democratic transition onto a second, more radical phase, and SACP discussion document entitled Going to the root on this subject, especially the context, content and our strategic tasks in the second radical phase of our democratic transition.
1. The annual SACP Women Commissars Conference as a regular programme to empower women cadres is held as a tribute to Cde Judy Mulqueeny.
2. There should be a regular Commissars Conferences on Gender to ensure men and women Party members have a common approach to gender issues
3. The Party should seek truth in fact and understand the condition of the working class and return to the practice to deliberately research areas that are troubling our communities and public policy, to strengthen the Party’s role in public debates.
4. To endorse the report on the work of the CC media sub-committee and the perspectives on an analysis of the consistent propagation and agitation for deepening the NDR and the struggle for socialism.
5. The CC must expand and build on the work of the media-subcommittee to provincial and district level, convened by Provincial and District secretaries.
6. To strengthen the Party’s international work, our learning from international work on the battle of ideas, and strengthen the unity of the African Left in the continental body.
7. That historical and dialectical materialism must be lifted to the level of curriculum in education institutions, the academia, institutions of higher learning, and research, with emphasis on political schools and that Party cadres should convene actively participate in the different strategic institutions and cadres should use these platforms to tell society about who we are and disseminate information
8. To take forward the 13th National Congress Resolution to strengthen Communist University as a Party platform as part of the Party streamlining of political education.
VII. SACP mass campaigns and popular education
The SNC notes that:
1. The battle of ideas must be fought through a number of platforms, but must be supported by mass ownership of ideas
2. Party positions made accessible to cadres on the ground for popular education
1. To campaign for the transformation of the judiciary and build from the Special National Congress discourse, in partnership with Alliance partners.
1.1. The transformation should not just be about representativity in respect of gender, race, etc., but should also be about the essential content of our democratic transformation and defined by the goals of the NDR. Convene a seminar on the overreach of the Judiciary and reflect on the issues of jurisprudence and access to justice, especially for the poor and the workers who cannot afford the cost of justice.
1.2. In particular, this transformation process must include the transformation of the mind-set of the past. The understanding of the separation of powers, independence and the role of the judiciary, must also be scrutinised, at and beyond the seminar, and should include a common understanding of the co-operation of the three pillars of the our state, the executive, legislature and judiciary. The Party must visibly guard against a neo-liberal interpretation of our constitutional democracy.
2. Transformation and development must be advanced through technical and professional means as it is with political and ideological means. The alliance should give due and increased consideration to cadre development in its broad revolutionary characteristics, including, not only inner party political education and ideological training, but technical and progressive professional development. Due consideration of those who are eligible across the sectors of our social formation must be equally taken equally seriously.
3. To campaign against the alarming rise of foetal alcohol syndrome and its impact on the intellectual health of future generations.
4. To campaign against tribalism and patriarchy and develop a programme based on the Party commitment to review provincial system of government to enable role back of tribalism and the patriarchal/ethnic ideology
5. The Party should advocate strongly for the expansion of National Youth Service to build on, co- ordinate and upscale the work being done by different departments to skill our youth and involve them in patriotic service to the people of the country.
6. To ensure that Party offices generate simple short pamphlets to explain Party positions on current topics, and explain Party concepts and policy positions for use in the campaigns like the “Know Your Neighbour” campaign
7. That as a Tribute to the life of Cde Bomber Ntshangase, Party cadres should continuously contest the space in all our media, including mainstream print, radio and television, participate in the debates, public engagement, writing, etc.
8. That Party work of all members must involve dissemination and study of Party literature
9. Training and teaching of YCL and Party youth members on how to research and write for the Party.
10. To consider the use of social media as inner party communication tool
11. That the CC media-subcommittee designs training modules to be implemented within 6 months on media as part of building the SACP capacity on the battle of ideas, including on the economy of the media, digital migration, policy framework, writing, etc.
12. Arts, culture, national building and education transformation: The SNC mandates the Central Committee to take its theoretical and ideological work further. In particular, more work is required to elaborate a comprehensive programme in terms of arts and culture, which are part of the important elements of national building; social and scientific research, including policy work; curriculum transformation.
ANC Media Charter
The draft Media Charter was agreed on at an ANC Department of Information and Publicity conference in 1991. It was agreed on by the National Executive Committee in 1992 and incorporated into the Ready to govern policy document. It was revived in2012 and endorsed by the 53rd ANC national conference, which instructed that it be reviewed, updated and amended. The ANC has yet to act on this resolution
ANC Media Charter
1. Establishing a democratic media
South Africa has been a closed society, with many restrictions on the flow of information. Legislation, the structure of ownership of media resources, skills, language policy, and social deprivation have undermined access to information for the majority of the population.
The ANC believes that the transition to democracy in South Africa entails a movement from a closed society into one based on a free flow of information and a culture of open debate.
At the core of democracy lies the recognition of the right of all citizens to take part in society’s decision-making process. This requires that individuals are armed with the necessary information and have access to the contesting options they require to make informed choices. An ignorant society cannot be democratic.
The ANC asserts that mere declarations of media freedoms on their own are not enough. These freedoms must be underpinned by an equitable distribution of media resources, development programmes and a deliberate effort to engender a culture of open debate. This requires policies of affirmative action to redress the inequalities in our society.
The ANC is committed to media freedom and various mechanisms to bring it about. A Media Charter which sets out broad principles to promote these freedoms will contribute immensely to the democratic process. Elements of such a charter will find expression in a constitution and Bill of Rights; while others will be realised through relevant legislation. Still others will serve as social guidelines.
The outcome of negotiations depends on the assertion of these rights. It is crucial, therefore, to strive for these freedoms way ahead of the advent of democracy. An open negotiations process – in which the public is informed about developments and itself participates in the debates – is a necessary prerequisite for a democratic transition.
2. Basic rights and freedoms
The basic principle around which our Media Charter should revolve is maximum openness within the context of a democratic constitution and Bill of Rights. Thus, for instance, it would be erroneous to advocate the setting up of bodies which determine what society should and should not read, hear or watch. Rather, judicial procedures should be effected if and when civil rights are threatened or violated. Media freedoms should be understood in the context of other citizens’ rights such as the right to privacy and dignity.
The citizens’ right to privacy, dignity and any other freedoms entrenched in the Bill of Rights shall not be violated in favour of the free flow of information.
The media shall strive to interact with society as a whole, and organisations, institutions and citizens shall have the right (and mechanisms) of reply regarding information and opinion published about them.
All people shall have the right of access to information held or collected by the state or other social institutions subject to any limitations provided for in a constitution and Bill of Rights.
There shall be no institutional or legislative measures restricting the free flow of information or imposing censorship over the media and other information agencies.
All people shall have the right freely to publish, broadcast and otherwise disseminate information and opinion, and shall have the right of free access to information and opinion.
All media should subscribe to a Standard of Practice and/or Code of Conduct agreed upon among the producers and distributors of public information, communications and advertising.
There shall be no restrictions on private broadcasting initiatives beyond the accepted constitutional constraints and technical regulations arising out of legislation governing media.
3. Democratisation of the media
The forms and mediums of mass communication will take account of the diversity of communities in respect of geography, language, gender, interests and prevailing levels of literacy.
Measures will be taken to ensure that all communities have access to the technical means for the receipt and dissemination of information, including electricity, telecommunications and other facilities.
All communities will have access to the skills required to receive and disseminate information, including the skills of reading and writing.
Ownership of media resources, production facilities and distribution outlets shall be subject to anti-monopoly, anti- trust and merger legislation.
Affirmative action will be implemented to provide financial, technical and other resources to those sectors of society deprived of such means.
Affirmative action, in terms of race and gender, will be applied to allow access to and control of the media institutions. This includes ensuring the participation of women in managerial positions on these media bodies.
4. Public media
Media resources in the hands of the state shall be used to promote and strengthen democracy, which would include monitoring the media for gender and race bias.
The state shall maintain a public broadcasting service which shall serve society as a whole and give a voice to all sectors of the population.
Section 5.14 of the Reconstruction and Development Programme
This section of the RDP (part of Chapter Five, which addresses democratising the state and society) sets out policies on media and communications
A democratic information programme
5.14.1 Open debate and transparency in government and society are crucial elements of reconstruction and development. This requires an information policy which guarantees active exchange of information and opinion among all members of society. Without the free flow of accurate and comprehensive information, the RDP will lack the mass input necessary for its success.
5.14.2 The new information policy must aim at facilitating exchange of information within and among communities and between the democratic government and society as a two-way process. It must also ensure that media play an important role in facilitating projects in such areas as education and health.
5.14.3 The democratic government must encourage the development of all three tiers of media – public, community and private. However, it must seek to correct the skewed legacy of apartheid where public media were turned into instruments of National Party policy; where community media were repressed; where private media are concentrated in the hands of a few monopolies, and where a few individuals from the white community determine the content of media. New voices at national, regional and local levels, and genuine competition rather than a monopoly of ideas, must be encouraged.
5.14.4 An affirmative action programme, consistent with the best experiences in the world, must be put into place to empower communities and individuals from previously disadvantaged sectors of society. This must include: mechanisms to make available resources needed to set up broadcasting and printing enterprises at a range of levels; training and upgrading, and civic education to ensure that communities and individuals recognise and exercise their media rights.
5.14.5 Measures must be taken to limit monopoly control of the media. Cross-ownership of print and broadcast media must be subject to strict limitations determined in a public and transparent manner. The democratic government must encourage unbundling of the existing media monopolies. This includes monopolies in the areas of publishing and distribution. Where necessary, anti-trust legislation must be brought to bear on these monopolies.
5.14.6 The democratic government must set aside funds for training of journalists and community-based media and, at the same time, encourage media institutions to do the same.
5.14.7 To ensure the free flow of information - within the broad parameters of the Bill of Rights
- the Freedom of Information Act must be broadened.
5.14.8 The democratic government must have a major role to play in the introduction of a new information policy. This must, however, be limited to facilitation rather than dabbling in the editorial content of media enterprises. Further, a deliberate policy must be followed to prevent unwarranted state intervention in levelling the media playing field or in preserving privileged status for government information. The Bill of Rights and, if necessary, legislation will be crucial in this regard.
5.14.9 The South African Communications Services (SACS) must be restructured in order to undertake two important tasks: the provision of objective information about the activities of the state and other role players, and the facilitation of the new information policy.
5.14.10 To carry out these two functions, two distinct structures will be necessary. At the same time, the information arms of various ministries, especially those dealing with reconstruction and development, must be strengthened.
5.14.11 All these measures require institutional mechanisms independent of the democratic government and representative of society as a whole. Some of the more crucial ones are:
220.127.116.11 Information Development Trust: made up of civil society, media role players, especially community-based ones, the democratic government and political interests, to work out detailed criteria and mechanisms for assisting relevant media enterprises.
18.104.22.168 Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA): appointed in a transparent and participatory process. Made up of persons of integrity and experts in the broadcasting field. Responsible for the issuing of broadcasting licences and other broadcasting regulations.
22.214.171.124 Public Broadcaster Board: appointed in a similar manner to give broad direction to the public broadcaster, without undermining editorial independence.
126.96.36.199 Voluntary regulatory mechanisms: for private media enterprise, and representative of all role players, including media workers. Within broadcasting, the voluntary regulations should be within the framework provided by the IBA.
188.8.131.52 Independent unions of media workers and associations of owners of media institutions.
Resolutions of SACP organisational review and associated resolutions on the alliance will be released separately following internal and alliance processes.
Issued by the SACP, July 20 2015