OPINION

DA disregards interests of working class – SACP & COSATU WCape

Cape Town and provincial govt failed to come and receive memorandum on public transport

SACP-Cosatu Western Cape Statement

9 March 2020

Introduction

The South African Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) held a crucial bilateral meeting on Saturday, 7 March 2020 at Community House in Salt River, Cape Town. The purpose of the bilateral meeting was to reflect on the state of the national democratic revolution – our strategic route towards socialism.

The meeting  reaffirmed the national democratic revolution, whose strategic objective is that of resolving the three interrelated contradictions, national question, gender struggle and class struggle, in their relationship with each other in the context of the Western Cape and nationally. The SACP and Cosatu believe in the need for the two organs of the Alliance to assert their leadership role in the national democratic revolution here in the Western Cape. However, we agreed that in order for us to be able to deepen, advance and consolidate the ideals of our shared national democratic revolution, we need to reclaim political power in the province and also rebuild a campaigning, fighting ANC.

The two dependable forces of the Alliance reflected on the recent campaigns the SACP and Cosatu embarked on, such as the crisis in public transport as epitomised by the taxi violence and the collapse of the metro rail central line, as well as the possible closure of ArcelorMittal in Saldanha.

Further, the bilateral meeting discussed the state of governance and service delivery in the province and received a presentation from Comrade NobulumkoNkondlo, the ANC IPC convenor of the Economic Transformation Commission in the legislature on the upcoming budget expectation. The presentation afforded the SACP and Cosatu to discuss the inherent dynamics of the political economy of the Western Cape and the impact of the failed neoliberal policies to address the socio-economic issues in the province.

Public Transport

The SACP and Cosatu commended the workers and poor who attended a very successful section 77 march on 20 February 2020. The purpose of the section 77 march was to highlight the state of the rail system in our province and the need for it to be rebuilt and expanded. The SACP and Cosatu re-affirmed the view that the state of our rail system presents an economic sabotage.

However, it was disappointing that both the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government failed to come and receive the memorandum from the working-class leadership. Their failure to receive the memorandum was a clear indication of the DA’s anti-working class attitude and total disregard of the interests of the working class.

The SACP and Cosatu note the good work done by the Minister of Transport in resolving the immediate issues of transport which directly affect the working class.  Further, we commend the Prasa administrator for suspending Prasa Regional Manager, Richard Walker. But we believe that many more heads must still roll and accordingly we regard suspension with pay as untenable.

Further, we welcome the R1.4billion investment and urge the transport department to move with speed in bringing the central line to life as the working class is being exploited by spending a lot of their income on transport. We remain convinced that the destruction of Prasa infrastructure was orchestrated through a syndicate and they must be brought to book for committing economic sabotage. Equally, we must remain vigilant and guard against opportunists who stand at the gate of Prasa to siphon the R1.4billion. Therefore, we shall monitor the spending of this R1.4billion very closely.

ArcelorMittal

The SACP and Cosatu marched to ArcelorMittal on 20 October 2019 together with the broader community of Saldanha against the closure of the ArcelorMittal plant.  We urge our government to take over the plant or force ArcelorMittal to handover the plant to anyone willing to run it for purposes of saving jobs. No private profit logic should be allowed to impoverish our communities by deepening unemployment.

Further, we condemn in the strongest terms possible the reported retrenchments by companies contracted to ArcelorMittal.

State of the province in the Western Cape

The SACP and COSATU characterised State of the Province Address (SOPA) as tabled by Premier Winde as marred with deflections, diversions and illusions. Thus, the SACP and COSATU came to appreciate that the government of the Western Cape does not want to take responsibility for its failures. They rely on the strategy of deflection and diversion. This was once again evident in the SOPA delivered by the uninspiring Alan Winde on 20 February 2020. His entire address ignored the reality and evidence presented by Stats SA’s inequality report which shows that the Western Cape has a high level of inequality and it is gendered on the racialised economic beneficiation and maintains the apartheid planning as the legacy of colonialism of a special type. His SOPA completely obviates the reality that in practice the DA government spends 9 times more on the rich 10% of the population than the poorest section of the population. Against this background, we are not optimistic that the budget to be presented on Tuesday, 10 March 2020, will favour the interests of the workers and the poor but as usual, will be dedicated to the 10% rich few population.

On International Working Women’s Day

No woman, No revolution! The bilateral meeting met on the eve of the International Workig Women’s Day. The International Working Women’s Day remains one of the important days to celebrate the victories of the working-class woman. In our country, through the national democratic revolution, the ANC headed Alliance has garnered many victories. However, the scourge of gender-based violence remains a challenge against which the Alliance should unite to eradicate. The recent heinous crime committed against the eight-year-old Reagan Gertse in Tulbagh has demonstrated that the battle against gender-based violence remains challenging. Thus, the SACP and Cosatu will continue to be in solidarity and monitor the case which is before the courts and provide the necessary support to the family and the community of Tulbagh.

Issued by Benson Ngqentsu, SACP Provincial Secretary, 9 March 2020