In pursuit of justice for the martyrs of our liberation struggle
10 April 2021
Today, 10 April 2021 marks the 28th year since our SACP General Secretary and member of the ANC National Executive Committee comrade Chris Hani was assassinated, on 10 April 1993. Hani was a former Chief of Staff of the joint ANC and SACP liberation army, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), founded on 16 December 1961. He joined the MK shortly after its founding, in 1962. Hani was a disciplined combatant and commander of the MK. He took part in, and led, serious military campaigns for freedom. It was when he was 15, in 1957, that he joined the struggle for liberation, first through the ANC Youth League.
Four years later, in 1961, Hani joined the SACP, underground. The Communist Party had been banned, in 1950, and it could only organise in underground conditions, and later in exile. The selection criteria for recruitment into the Communist Party under the conditions of apartheid illegality required extraordinary care, therefore.
Beyond his revolutionary activity, Hani was a husband and a father. When his assassins stole his life in cold blood, not only did they kill Hani the communist but also, and inseparably, killed Hani the husband and the father. The claim by his assassins that they were killing Hani the communist only and not Hani the husband and the father is senseless and insensitive. After all, it is unacceptable to kill a person for his political belief.
The SACP wishes to take this opportunity to reiterate its support to the Hani family for justice to run its course so that they could at last find closure. To this day there has been no full disclosure of the truth. Facts show that the convicted assassins, Clive Derby-Lewis who died a natural death in November 2016 and Janusz Waluś, were not the only ones involved in the assassination chain from its conception.
For instance, the gun they used was taken from military armoury. For 28 years now it has not been disclosed who took the murder weapon from the military armoury which was under strict apartheid security, intelligence, and defence protection. It has also not been divulged who else was involved in relaying the murder weapon from point to point until it reached and was used by the convicted assassins to steal Hani’s life.
The SACP remains strongly opposed to parole for Janusz Waluś and welcomes the recent high court judgment, dismissing his parole application. We further reiterate our stance for a fresh inquest into Hani’s assassination to unearth the entire truth.
We wish to reiterate our resolution, as the SACP, for a wider investigation into apartheid killings and disappearances of our struggle heroes. Some of those who disappeared as a result of the actions of the apartheid security networks have never been found. The investigation should unearth all the circumstances and assist all the affected families to know where their loved ones ended, to realise justice, and to find closure.
We want to reiterate here today our stern warning to the individuals who, in pursuit of their factional agendas, use the name of Chris Hani to suggest that they have more information about his assassination, while they never approached constitutionally established law enforcement authorities with information they claim to have. Those individuals have also never taken part in any parole board and court hearing against parole for Waluś.
Unity of revolutionary purpose
Our organisational message today is centred on the need to forge unity and the imperative of rebuilding our broader movement, a strategic resource for the revolutionary transformation and development of our country. Coupled with this is the imperative to clamp down on corruption.
We support the ANC National Executive Committee decision to unify the MKMVA and the MK Council. Given that the MK a joint ANC and SACP liberation army, we will actively take part in these efforts. In fact, this should be an Alliance inclusive process guided by the principle of collective leadership. To ensure that the MKMVA and MK Council unification succeeds, the unified body must be made up by real MK military veterans.
In memory and honour of Chris Hani, the SACP wishes to strongly condemn the factionalist abuse of the name of MK by some individuals using the name of the MKMVA to cause divisions within our movement and pursue actions that are tantamount to counter-revolutionary activities. The MK was never a factionalist army, nor did it choose to support some leaders of the ANC against others. Such behaviour is an insult to the sacrifices, including supreme sacrifices, by leaders such as Chris Hani, a commander and commissar of the MK.
The MK was founded as an armed struggle wing of our liberation struggle with loyalty, not to a cult of personality but, to the liberation of our people. The MK was not founded as a factional grouping created to advance and defend a politics of a cult of personality. Real MK veterans cannot, therefore, constitute themselves as a paramilitary grouping procured into advancing and defending a politics of a cult of personality in our democratic dispensation.
Our movement is also faced with the unfortunate reality of a divided SANCO. Almost everywhere you go at all levels there are over one set of leadership, all claiming to be the only SANCO. The Alliance has agreed on a process to unify SANCO. This has become more urgent, perhaps than ever before.
In memory of the young leaders like Solomon Mahlangu who lost their lives during our liberation struggle, it is also crucial to cement the unity of COSAS, take the unity of SASCO to new and ever greater heights, and to build strong and united ANC Youth League and the Young Communist League of South Africa. The youth of South Africa need the leadership of the entire Progressive Youth Alliance united.
We also need to forge a formidable women’s movement, and a widest possible patriotic front to move the national democratic revolution, our programme for economic and broader social transformation and development, into a second radical phase.
As the SACP, we will also strengthen our efforts to build a popular Left front and seek to contribute towards the unity in action of the entire progressive trade union movement.
The ANC is a precious treasure. To learn that the ANC was valuable only after it has been destroyed or dislodged from the government would be childish—that is IF, and this is a BIG IF, that which seemed impossible becomes possible and takes precedence. The recent and current developments in the ANC typified by the grouping calling itself “RET Forces” operating as an organisation with its own banner and symbols deeply concerns the SACP.
This factional conduct reminds us of the “Gang of 8” of the mid-1970s and other similar groupings like the so-called Marxist Workers Tendency, whose sole aim was to divide and weaken the ANC, and cause splits. As the SACP, we therefore wholeheartedly support the recently announced ANC decision to act against factional conduct and build organisational and political unity.
The unity of the ANC was essential in the struggle to dislodge and replace the apartheid regime and establish a government based on the will of the people. The unity of the ANC—that is unity based on a revolutionary programme of broader social transformation and development—remains essential.
The unity of the ANC is essential for the reconfiguration of the ANC-headed Alliance to function optimally and fulfil its historical mission. The unity of the ANC is essential to uniting all other motive forces interested in the achievement of the goals of the Freedom Charter. And most importantly, the ANC is not for sale!
The SACP on this day calls upon all cadres and true revolutionaries in our whole movement to stand up and defend the unity of the ANC, and to stand together to defeat all regressive and counterrevolutionary tendencies with the ranks of our movement. This is the best way to honour the memory of the hero whose life and contribution we are celebrating today!
Therefore, the recent decisions by the ANC National Executive Committee, that those charged with corruption and serious crime in a court of law must step aside within 30 days, will contribute to the unity of the ANC, rebuild the confidence of our people in the ANC, and renew their hope in the path of a national democratic revolution—with a united and exemplary ANC and the Alliance playing a leading role. The SACP reiterates its support for this decision. We will ourselves act should any of our members be charged with corruption or serious crime in a court of law and fail to step aside voluntarily. Indeed, we will also remain vigilant that such a stance is not used to label and discredit other comrades.
In remembering and honouring the memory of Chris Hani, we must remind ourselves that building unity is not a walk in the park. It is a task that requires hard work, dedication, and discipline. The class and political forces and those elements that thrive on disunity and divisions will not fold their arms when they smell weaknesses in our movement.
In the same way, we need unity to overcome the scourges of gender-based violence, interpersonal violence, criminality and drug abuse afflicting many households, communities and individuals.
Solidarity with the people and the government of Mozambique
As the SACP, we are deeply concerned about the developments in Mozambique, where paramilitary groupings are unleashing terror against the people. The SACP pledges its message of solidarity with the people and the government of Mozambique. We therefore welcome the intervention by SADC and the African Union to tackle this challenge.
We wish to take this opportunity to strongly condemn the highly problematic raid on Wednesday on the offices of the Communist Party of Kenya and detaining of its members for planning the unlock democracy campaign against anti-scientific approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. Political rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of association, are important tenets of democracy.
Long live the memory of Chris Hani, long live!
Issued by Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, SACP Central Committee Member: Media & Communications, 10 April 2021