Forensic investigation needed into FDC looting - SACP FState

PEC also notes that almost all municipalities in province are distressed

SACP Free State Statement of the 8th Provincial Executive Committee plenary session of the 7th Provincial Congress

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Free State Province held its 8th Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) ordinary plenary session of its 7th Provincial Congress in Bloemfontein on 14 October 2018 at the SACP Free State Provincial Office. The meeting received and discussed the political input from our Party Central Committee, the provincial political, organisational financial reports. The PEC also received detailed reports on all municipalities in the province, including a comprehensive update on Metsimaholo Local Municipality.

The reports laid the basis for the evaluation on the developing political trends in the post Nasrec era and an analysis of the state of our municipalities and entities of government in the province. These were discussed in detail in the context of the SACP Red October campaign focusing on local government and in light of the impending provincial and national elections.

Local Government: Stop corruption. Serve the people selflessly

The PEC welcomed the dedication of the 2018-2019 Red October Campaign towards local government. A focus on the local state is important because a democratic and accountable local government that consistently delivers quality services and promotes socio-economic development is indispensable for the success of the national democratic revolution.

The PEC conducted an assessment of the state of all municipalities in the province, with specific focus on the state of municipal councils and municipal administrations, including their capacity and ability to deliver services to the people. This was part of the continuation of the previous PEC discussions that focused on the Auditor-General’s audit findings on municipal finances. The AG report pointed to serious challenges on financial viability and sustainability, compounded by high levels of systematic irregular, unauthorised and fruitless expenditure across our municipalities.

The PEC concluded that almost all municipalities in the Free State are distressed and face overwhelming challenges that require stern and focused leadership to address. Whilst the entrenched old apartheid era spatial planning contributes to some of the challenges in municipalities, the major problems are also related to poor political management of governance, and brazen corruption, including corporate capture within our municipalities.

The PEC expressed serious reservations with regards to the suspension of fourteen (14) ANC councilors at Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality. Whilst the SACP respects ANC internal processes, the PEC cautioned that any targeted removal of councilors at Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality would amount to a superficial and symptomatic treatments of the challenges at hand and plunge the council into further chaos. The PEC agreed on the need for an inclusive and meaningful Alliance-led democratic consensus-seeking consultative process as a sound political approach to the situation.

The PEC also voiced grave concerns about the handling of the impasse at Fezile Dabi District municipality on processes regarding the filling of the vacancy of Municipal Manager. The PEC condemned the harassing and intimidation of the workforce by hired private security and the overnight raid and arrest of municipal employees from their homes. The PEC also rejects the illegal lockout of the Executive Mayor from the municipality and the hurried ANC motion of no confidence against the Executive Mayor.

The PEC reflected on the apparent and pressing challenges confronting the Mangaung Metro Municipality. It was agreed that focused and swift intervention is required to assist the municipality, and its entities from collapse. In this regard, the PEC agreed to also follow through the recent disbandment of the board of Centlec, the power utility entity of the municipality by Executive Mayor Olly Mlamleli. The Party rejects the strange retention of only Ms Dudu Myeni as a board member of Centlec from the previous board.  

Similarly, the SACP will follow through the reported involvement of the Free State FDC in “The Great Bank Heist” report on the Venda Burial Society (VBS) Mutual Bank. This would include the legalities of such involvement and how it enhances the mandate of the FDC. Anyone involved in wrongdoing must be dealt with in accordance with the recommendations of the Prudential Authority. The PEC strongly holds that only a comprehensive forensic investigation into the financial affairs of the FDC can unearth the facts around the looting associated with this entity.

The PEC also discussed developments at Metsimaholo Municipality where a motion of no confidence against an SACP Executive Mayor supported by coalition partners, including the ANC was submitted. This spurious motion, based on unsubstantial reasons failed for four consecutive weeks.

The PEC is convinced that the tabling of a forensic investigation report to Council by the Executive Mayor, detailing widespread corruption in the institution is the cause of this desperate motion of no confidence which immediately followed. The PEC encouraged its deployees, working with Council to intensify efforts to fight corruption, without fear or favour and redirect all energy towards collaborative efforts to make local government work for the people. In this regard, the PEC agreed with efforts to thwart all intensions to collapse the municipality and subject the people of Metsimaholo to yet another by-election.

The PEC discussed the apparent destabilising effect of several political decisions related to governance issues that incrementally weakens the capacity of local government to deliver quality services and promote corruption-free socio-economic and infrastructural development. The PEC is convinced that there is a concerted fight back effort to protect certain bureaucrats and keep them implanted in government institutions for reasons clearly unrelated to the responsibilities of serving the people. Often, ordinary workers are targeted and victimised as sacrificial lamps in attempts to shield the real culprits responsible for corruption in our institutions.

The fight against the corporate capture of state institutions by parasitic networks, collaborating with some in our movement must include terminating the umbilical cord linking these parasites and corporates with certain bureaucrats who facilitate the looting of state resources. These bureaucrats in government and state owned entities, if left unattended, will grow into vampire elites that frustrate efforts to restore responsive and accountable government, including efforts to dismantle the parasitic networks. The PEC agreed to intensify such efforts collaborating with the workers and trade unions.

The SACP agreed that in carrying forward the Red October Campaign, no stone should be left unturned. The PEC also agreed that the SACP should insist on the convening of an Alliance Summit focusing on local government. Simultaneously, the PEC and all Districts will, working with all progressive forces and our communities, roll our focused Red October campaigns. These campaigns will focus on specific issues and challenges existing in local government and practical initiatives on collaborative efforts to ensure municipalities render quality services to all.

COSATU Provincial Conference

The PEC congratulated COSATU for hosting a successful provincial conference. In line with the pre-conference commitment, the SACP in the province has held bilateral discussions with the new COSATU leadership. The two structures worked out a clear approach to intensifying the relations through campaigns and programme throughout the province.

National and Provincial elections

The PEC acknowledged that these would be the most difficult and crucial elections for our movement since the 1994 democratic breakthrough. In our province, there are several subjective weaknesses in our movement, which requires pragmatic electoral tactics to electioneering. The SACP has a role to play to ensure a resounding electoral victory for our movement in 2019. The PEC agreed to set up elections structures from the branch, made up of Chris Hani volunteer brigades. The Party will elaborate a dynamic programme aligned to the local challenges and the elections manifesto in line with the guiding pillars of reconfiguration of the alliance.  

International Context

The PEC reiterated the fact that much of the social, economic and political crises that engulf the world are related to the crisis of capitalism. The attempts of the system to rescue itself unfortunately deepen the crisis even more, with dire consequences to the working class and poor who are on the receiving end.

The pursuit of capitalism within the context of a nation-state, as led by the USA with its tactless protectionist posture, is sharpening intra-bourgeoisie contradictions as well as tension and struggles between labour and capital throughout the world. This can be seen through the anarchy taking place in the markets, the standoff between the EU and USA in relation to the Iranian nuclear deal and the various proxy wars, with changing balance of forces in the Middle East.

These developments require intensification of working class struggles and international working class solidarity at this moment when the ruling class is more and more losing legitimacy. The PEC agreed to intensify its international solidarity campaigns on the African continent and beyond.

Related to this, the PEC met with the Cuban delegation in the province. The PEC supports the provincial government in its efforts to continue to pursue the practical cooperation between South Africa and Cuba. The historical and ongoing relations between the two countries must be developed further and protected for the benefit of the working class. The PEC calls on the provincial government to deepen and ensure continued renewal of its relations with Cuba, especially on the education and health fronts.

Hamba kahle Mkhonto- Condolences to the Makupula and Mtshali families

The PEC joined our Central Committee in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the Makupula and Mtshali families and the broader movement. Comrade Mandla Makupula and comrade Eric Mtshali, leader and veteran of the SACP, respectively, played an instrumental role in the struggle for liberation and social emancipation. In their honour, we commit to pick up the spear and intensify the struggle they selflessly fought.

Statement issued by the SACP Free State Province, 20 October 2018