SACP Central Committee Press Statement
The working class must close ranks!
The Central Committee of the SACP met in Johannesburg over the weekend 29th February - 2nd March 2014. With little over two months before the May 7th general elections, the CC focused on consolidating the Party's ongoing electoral programme of action. In the light of many challenges within our movement, and the global and local return of neo-liberal triumphalism, the role and responsibilities of the SACP and the broader working class in ensuring an overwhelming ANC-alliance electoral victory has never been greater.
In this context we are proud to report the continued growth of SACP membership, now standing at close to 190,000 with a 45% women membership- a doubling of membership over the past five years. More importantly, our activists on the ground are playing a vanguard role through the Party's ability to reach into turbulent townships and mining settlements, sometimes declared as no-go areas by demagogic anti-ANC alliance forces.
The present election campaign cannot be divorced from a range of class struggles - including the struggle to rescue the public broadcaster from unceasing plundering by elements who regard themselves as untouchable. Similarly, the ANC election manifesto's commitment to the rolling out of a National Health Insurance Scheme is threatened by the deepening penetration of profit-seeking, private health-care providers who are taking health care further and further beyond the reach of the majority of South Africans.
End the looting of the SABC!
The CC noted the Public Protector's report on the situation at the SABC. While the report might be uneven in certain respects, if only 10 percent of its findings are correct there is clearly deep rot in the public broadcaster. Moreover, the Public Protector's report confirms the same pattern of systemic corruption, mismanagement, inappropriate appointments and the persecution of whistle-blowers that has already been exposed by the Special Investigation Unit some two years ago. The SIU report has been languishing in limbo after being served at the Brixton police station.
The SACP calls on the Board of the SABC not to flinch yet again. Failure to act decisively on both the Public Protector's report and the findings of the SIU will amount to complicity with wrong-doing. The looting of the SABC over a long period has also had a disastrous impact on the morale of professional journalists and on the quality of the SABC's programmes, not least its news coverage.
International coverage tends to simply serve up the line taken by the major imperialist powers (for instance, SABC reporting on the Ukraine at present). Much of the local news reporting is shallow, unprofessional, and focused on anti-ANC personalities. Other programming glorifies the empty, consumerist life-styles of wealthy socialites. We commend those SABC journalists who, nonetheless, continue to work and report professionally in the face of so many difficulties.
The SACP will consult with COSATU and a range of other forces to plan a series of actions to ensure that the Board takes action in dealing with corruption - move decisively, we say to the Board, or stand condemned yourselves.
Defend the public health-care system!
A precondition for the rolling out of a National Health Insurance Scheme is the strengthening of the existing public health system. But, if anything, the predatory role of private hospitals, the pricing of medicines and medical interventions, moonlighting of public sector nurses and doctors in the private sector, and the outsourcing of services in public hospitals, are all contributing to the erosion of our public health-care system.
What is worse, some of our own state development finance institutions, working closely with narrow BEE tenderpreneurs, have been actively financing private hospitals. The National Empowerment Fund recently financed one black health entrepreneur some R100million to establish private hospitals. The Industrial Development Corporation declined to fund the planned Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital on the grounds that it would be insufficiently profitable, while funding a private BEE hospital in Shoshanguve. It is a scandal that during the era of minority rule an outstanding children's hospital - Red Cross Children's Hospital, serving all children rich and poor - could have been established, while post-1994 we falter. Our own public DFIs cannot be complicit in the erosion of the public health-care system.
Private hospitals are profitable because they service the 17% of South Africans covered by medical aid schemes. But the private hospitals are so greedy and their prices so exorbitant that the medical aid schemes themselves are battling. Even those of the major private corporations in SA are struggling. SASOL's medical aid, for instance, is reportedly being charged R4500 for a male circumcision, whereas the procedure costs the state R400, and is provided free. The human papillomavirus inoculation which the state will be providing free to all girl children in Grade 4 will cost the state R140 a shot, whereas the private health care system charges R1000.
There are countless more examples of this gross over-charging that takes health-care far out of reach of the majority of South Africans and increasingly poaches health professionals from the public sector. The three major private hospital companies are all listed on the JSE. In other words, the whole system is skewed towards speculative investment and not the welfare of citizens. Health-care is a fundamental human right - it is an outrage that it is becoming more, not less, of a commodity.
It is in this context that the SACP congratulates the Competition Commission for establishing an inquiry into health care costs. Working in consultation with COSATU, its affiliates and community organisations, the SACP will seek to mobilise communities to ensure that those who have suffered from gross private health-care exploitation come forward to tell their stories before the inquiry.
Take forward the fight against corruption
The Central Committee commends the work of SACP deployees in government in the struggle against corruption. The CC commends our deputy chairperson, cde Thulas Nxesi for the leading role he is playing as Minister of Public Works in turning around a department that has been riddled with corruption and infiltrated by syndicates working hand in glove with criminal elements in the private construction and property industries.
While the media has focused on the corruption that cde Nxesi has helped to uncover in the refurbishment of the President's residence at Nkandla, this is just the tip of the iceberg of corruption that has historically prevailed in DPW. As Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan revealed last week in his budget speech, Treasury and DPW have been working closely together to investigate massive fraud in DPW leasing activities. We commend these actions and urge that criminal charges against both public and private sector culprits be pressed rapidly and without fear or favour.
Likewise the SACP repeats its call on the working class movement to be extremely vigilant against the dangers of business unionism, and to deal decisively with any indications of the corrupting impact on leadership cliques of business interests often associated with the management of union investment arms and worker retirement funds.
Forward to an overwhelming ANC-alliance electoral victory!
The SACP calls on the workers to close ranks. Now is not the time to allow the working class to be distracted by internal divisions or cults of the personality. Electoral absenteeism amounts to an abandonment of the class struggle trenches. No frustration, disappointment, unhappiness or personality cult can be big enough to justify working class desertion from this critical terrain of struggle.
When the working class is divided:
Monopoly capital laughs all the way to the bank;
The SABC is looted by tenderpreneurs;
Profit greedy private health care erodes the prospects of rolling out the NHI;
Private media oligopolies continue to block digital migration as they squabble among themselves for dominance. Private communication oligopolies continue to rip us off, charging among the highest cell-phone fees in the world;
The corrupt and their corrupters feel safer, knowing that the organised working class is distracted.
The SACP calls on the working class to use the election campaign to take back the moral high ground, to close ranks and roll back the corrupting domination of monopoly capital on our society.
There are some who portray themselves as worker leaders, but they are focusing all their attention on fighting internal factional battles, and on opposition to the state and the Alliance. By advocating electoral absenteeism, they are playing directly into the hands of the DA - the party of big capital and white privilege.
On May 7 - let us teach the DA, the arrogant party of monopoly capital and minority privilege a powerful lesson
We call on the working class to deliver a decisive electoral defeat on the DA:
A party that opposed farmworkers minimum wage being raised from R65 a day
A party that supports labour brokers
A party that wants to roll back hard-won labour market legislation in favour of a "flexible labour market";
A party that portrays COSATU as the enemy, and marches on its head-office
A party of hypocrisy that speaks out of two sides of its mouth on black economic empowerment and on land reform, a party that fudges its silent approval of the Zionist apartheid wall in Palestine.
A party that is seeking to disguise its conservative minority white electoral machine and its neo-liberal agenda behind parachuted black faces and a newly discovered support for ANC presidents of the past.
The DA is a party financially supported by the likes of Natie Kirsh who made his fortune in SA by exploiting township traders and collaborating with despotic feudalism in Swaziland. This is the Natie Kirsh whose company Magal Security Systems supplies intrusion detecting devices to the Israeli Defence Force for the construction of the apartheid wall in West Bank. The wall has been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice. But not only does the DA (like Agang) take dirty money from Kirsh, it takes instructions from him as well. It was Kirsh who instructed Zille and Ramphele to join up in their ill-fated marriage.
We call on the working class - Come out in your large numbers to deliver a massive electoral blow to this party of big capital and white privilege. Electoral abstenteeism simply plays into the hands of this retrograde anti-worker party.
On May 7 - let us also deal a decisive electoral blow against the EFF - the party led by the most corrupt tenderpreneurs
Workers are not fooled by these loud-mouthed demagogues, these tenderpreneurs in red berets. They have never done an honest day's work, so where do they get their fancy cars, their Breitling watches? Where do they get their campaign funding? Africa and the world have seen this kind of clowning before. But it is a mistake to just laugh it off - the Hitlers and Mussolinis rose to prominence demagogically sprouting "socialism", and then butchering the working class when in power.
The EFF practices the same kind of demagogy that we are seeing playing itself out on the platinum belt at present. The EFF like AMCU hijacks real grievances but for entirely self-serving leadership purposes. Wild promises are made for which there is no capacity to deliver leading inevitably to the crushing defeat of gullible followers. A second slow bleeding Marikana tragedy is now playing itself out on the platinum belt.
For all these reasons, we urge workers to come out in their overwhelming numbers to defeat anti-worker right-wing formations - whether they are cloaked in blue or red guises.
We call on workers to vote ANC - but not with a blank cheque
A working class election campaign gives us the opportunity to consolidate and take forward progress made by:
An ANC-led government, that opposes privatisation - because of working class and SACP struggles within the alliance itself;
A government that has rescued the auto sector in SA through public investment of R22bn in 183 projects, preserving 46,000 jobs and adding 9850 more jobs.
A government that has led interventions in other industrial sectors including clothing and textiles, imposing a 75 percent local procurement requirement on the public sector.
It is an ANC-led government which, in the past 5 years, has driven an economic and social infrastructure programme, committing R1-trillion of public spending as a key counter-cyclical intervention in the midst of the gravest global economic crisis since the 1930s
A government that has introduced the removal of adverse credit information, coming into effect from 1st April, impacting on some 10 million South Africans suffocated by mashonisas and high bank charges
A government that in the face of DA opposition has re-opened the lodgement of land claims, to address the plight of millions of the landless and land hungry
A government that has provided work opportunities to 4,5million unemployed South Africans through Expanded Public Works and Community Work programmes
A government that has opened the doors of higher learning to hundreds of thousands of more children of the working class with a trebling of the National Students Financial Scheme from R3,1bn in 2009 to the current R9,6bn.
But there is much more to be done! Let us close ranks! Let us roll back monopoly capital! Let us deal decisively with corruption! Let us defeat anti-working class forces!
FORWARD TO AN OVERWHELMING ANC-ALLIANCE ELECTORAL VICTORY!
Statement issued by the SACP Central Committee, March 2 2014
Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter