OPINION

State capture: We don't need another Seriti-style whitewash - SACP PB

PP's requirement that CJ should select the appropriate judge to head inquiry a sensible one

South African Communist Party

Political Bureau statement

29 May 2017

The SACP Political Bureau (PB) met today in Tshwane in preparation for the coming weekend’s Central Committee (CC), our last regular CC before the Party’s July national congress. The PB noted that given the current deep political malaise, our forthcoming national congress has major responsibilities, which go way beyond the SACP and our active membership. Accordingly, we hope to broaden engagement at our Congress and build on the momentum of our recent Imbizo.

The PB agreed that our hard-won democratic dispensation is under serious threat, not least because of the ANC’s declining moral standing within the broad public and its apparent leadership paralysis in the face of its own accelerating decline. 

The major opposition parties may well see the removal of President Zuma as simply a first step in the electoral removal of the ANC itself (why wouldn’t they?). However, that, emphatically, is not the SACP’s objective. Once more, we call on President Zuma to step down in the interests of the ANC, in the interests of the Alliance it should be leading, and of our country as a whole.

Over the past week a barrage of fresh information and analysis has emerged underlining what we have long argued, that a parasitic-patronage network linked to the Gupta family has effected a significant level of state capture, with certain Cabinet ministers being little more than Gupta functionaries. Billions of rands of public money are being siphoned off.

The PB saluted the work done by the South African Council of Churches in their Unburdening process, and we hope to continue engaging with the SACC and all other patriotic and democratic forces who are gravely concerned at the hollowing out of our constitutional democracy. Our democratic national sovereignty is being auctioned off to petro-dollar feudalists in Dubai, to Nasdaq listed companies like Net1, and to the Russian nuclear moguls.

The PB noted this past weekend’s ANC NEC statement. We welcome the decision to call on the President to institute an independent judicial commission of inquiry into state capture by private business. This is a call first made by the SACP, long before the former Public Protector’s ‘State of Capture’ remedial requirement. We agree that such a commission should not be confined to the issues raised in the Public Protector’s report. As the SACP we certainly have many other matters we would wish to table.

Of course, in welcoming this NEC decision we remain extremely circumspect. We have the precedent of the Seriti Commission which to all intents was a white-wash. Since President Zuma is deeply conflicted in the matter of state capture, the Public Protector’s remedial requirement that the Chief Justice should be allowed to select the appropriate judge to be constitutionally appointed by the President makes eminent sense. Without such a step, the credibility of any commission will be damaged from the outset. The PB welcomed the ANC NEC’s call for the reversal of Brian Molefe’s re-appointment as Eskom CEO.

While the struggle needs to be taken forward in all key sites of power, the danger is that we will become obsessed with palace politics and forget about the plight of millions of South Africans, not least women, particularly those living in working class and rural communities. While state capture has contributed to the gutting of the criminal justice system, the pandemic of gender-based violence continues unabated.

In settlements around the country, people do not feel safe, the most basic of citizenship rights. We welcome therefore the ANC’s call for the establishment of community-based street committees in our townships and villages. Other programmes, like government’s Community Work Programme, with a proven record of contributing significantly to community cohesion and a sense of collective community ownership and responsibility for neighbourhoods must be significantly expanded.

If the ANC-led alliance is to rebuild unity and recover our connection to a popular base, then it must be done, above all, on the basis of active and selfless community work.  

Statement issued by the SACP, 29 May 2017