Factional tendencies threaten national democratic revolution – SACP FS

Committee says ANC at times appear unwilling to provide much needed intervention on critical issues

Provincial Executive Committee Statement

15 March 2017

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the province of Free State held the 4th Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) Plenary Session of its 7th Provincial Congress, in Botshabelo, on 12 March 2017.  The PEC received and discussed a political input from our Party Central Committee and the Provincial Secretariat Political Report.

The political discussions were geared mainly towards shaping and enriching the SACP provincial perspective to meaningfully contribute theoretically and ideologically to organisational, strategic and tactical choices and tasks facing our Party in the build-up to its 14th National Congress as scheduled to take place in July 2017. The discussions also focused on the international context, with a specific focus on developments on the African continent.

The meeting was preceded by deployment of PEC members to all Party branches in the Caleb Motshabi District to implement immediate organisational and programmatic tasks of the organisation. 

The international context

Israeli Apartheid Week and solidarity with Palestine

The Party pledged continued solidarity with all oppressed people of the world, including the indigenous people of Palestine on a day that marked the end of the Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).  The PEC received feedback on solidarity work performed during the IAW on behalf of the Party, intended to intensify solidarity work and support for the boycott, disinvestment and sanction (BDS) against Israel, and to raise awareness on Israel’s apartheid policies against the Palestinian people. The PEC agreed that solidarity work must continue beyond the IAW. The meeting decided to support other planned activities and for the Party to engage with other partners such as POPCRU in joint activities directed at G-4 Security Company that support apartheid Israel.

Disappointing admission of Morocco in the African Union

The PEC is disappointed at the sudden unfortunate decision by the African Union (AU) to admit  Morocco as its member state.  Morocco continues to disrespect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Western Sahara, and to violate the various prescripts of the AU itself as well as those of the United Nations. We commend the South African government for voting against the admission, and call on our government to continue to demand an end to the illegal occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco.

The political situation in Lesotho

The PEC expressed serious concern on the deteriorating political developments in Lesotho where a coalition government collapsed. The worrying state of affairs is precipitated by and reflects poor political leadership that is engaged in palace politics driven by competition to control state resources whereas the working class and poor communities suffer from socio-economic difficulties and are increasingly outside of the country, in South Africa.

The PEC  called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to intervene and assist in ensuring that the process of fostering political stability, nation building and defining the future of Lesotho rest in the hands of the Basotho people and not with the political elite. The PEC agreed on the need to intensify close working relationship with the Communist Party of Lesotho to assist them in building their Party structures to carry through the working class struggle.

National and Provincial context

The SACP and State and Popular Power

As things stand, the national democratic revolution is confronted by challenges on many fronts which are cumulatively symptomatic of a revolution in an interregnum.

The ANC seems preoccupied with peripheral issues and at times unwilling, uncertain or incapable to provide the much needed decisive and impartial intervention on critical existing issues or imminent crises such as the land question, water crisis, social grants and paralysis in some state owned enterprises (SOEs).

Consistent strategic leadership to the national democratic revolution is lacking and is usurped and subordinated to factional dominance. This has the effect of relegating the core task of driving a people-centred second, more radical phase, of the revolution to address the interrelated crises of inequality unemployment and poverty.

The PEC agreed that these and many other factional negative tendencies threaten the consensus around the national democratic revolution. Now more than ever, the Party must intensify its work and play its leadership role to advance, deepen and defend the national democratic revolution and build socialism. In this regard, state power, supplemented and buttressed by popular power, is an important weapon and an indispensable necessity for implementing a second, more radical, phase of the transition to roll back the crises of inequality unemployment and poverty. The SACP must build popular power and contest state power in order to drive a revolutionary programme in the best interests of the working class and poor.

The PEC agreed to consolidate a provincial perspective on state and popular power, informed by the Party Congress discussion documents. These will be the basis for discussion by districts and various sectors of society through imbizos/piitsos/public consultation meeting to solicit their views prior to consolidating the province’s perspective at the Provincial Council in the build-up to the 14th National Congress. This has become necessary, given the highly polluted political environment, accusations and labelling riddled with myths, smoke and mirror conveniently created to sow confusion and defocus the important discussion on state and popular power.   

Building a Campaigning Party and mobilise for a Popular Front

The Party agreed to build its strategic and organisational capacity, intensify its  ideological work by simplifying the theory of our revolution and connecting the masses of our people with the immediate practical tasks of the revolution.

In order to respond to the many challenges facing our broader liberation movement and provide strategic leadership to society, it has become urgent to consolidate the SACP as an independent Party of the working class and vanguard for socialism. This requires a campaigning Party rooted and resonating with masses of people in our communities.

The PEC agreed on the need to build a widest possible popular front through mobilising and engaging with a range of community and sectoral organisations in particular to create and consolidate a dynamic link with progressive forces to take up community issues and for the advancement of the revolutionary left agenda.

The PEC agreed to intensify its ongoing campaigns on the water crisis in Qwaqwa, farm evictions and unscrupulous garnishee orders and the campaign directed at Sasol. The Party will revive the Know and Act in your Neighbourhood Campaign, Financial Sector Campaign and the Land Campaign. The Party will mobilise social partners to join these campaigns.

Social grants

The SACP is disturbed by the scandalous and amateurish handling of the social grants payment debacle by the Department of Social Development. The debacle appears to be a carefully self-created crisis intended to hold the country at ransom by ensuring that the only option for continued payment of grants is through contract extension with the Nasdaq-listed Net1-Cash Paymaster Services (CPS). To the extent this is so it is underpinned by nothing but corruption and corporate state capture.

The unnecessary anxiety caused by this debacle on the millions of our people, to whom the social grant are a matter of livelihood, and the continued defiance of the courts, is unpardonable and reflect poor political leadership of the Department of Social Development if not corruption or both. The PEC condemns the arrogance displayed by the leadership of CPS and will engage the Central Committee to consider calling for the immediate removal of the Minister of Social Development.

State of the Province address

The PEC welcomed the focus on infrastructure development in various sectors, support for transformation and development of agricultural sector for agro-processing and investment in SMME, co-operatives and skills development, as well as the revitalisation of the previously mining towns. These will create the much needed economic activity and further development of the productive forces and contribute significantly to job creation and augment other interventions to eradicate poverty and fight inequality.

The Party welcomes commitments made on good governance and expects swift implementation of these commitments as that will bring back dignity of our people and development in the province. This must include commitments made in previous SOPAs but that sadly remaining unimplemented, such as the commitment to in-source public and other services that have been outsourced to private companies and consultants.

Issued by Alex Mahubetswane Mashilo, National Spokesperson, Head of Communications, SACP, 15 March 2017