South African Communist Party
SACP 14th Congress Fourth Plenary Session statement
The SACP Central Committee met in Johannesburg over the weekend of June 1 -3. The political report delivered by general secretary Cde Blade Nzimande focused on an evaluation of the main political trends within South Africa over the past months. On behalf of the Party secretariat, Cde Solly Mapaila presented a report on the historical background and evolution of the Alliance, and on the current challenges and the imperative of a reconfiguration of the Alliance in order to advance a second radical phase of the national democratic revolution. On Saturday morning President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed and engaged extensively with the CC.
These respective inputs and the ensuing collective discussion converged on all major issues. It was agreed that there was a new mood within the country that offered important prospects for reversing the serious declining trajectory that our movement, and our country had been on.
The key priority now is to push forward with rolling back and dismantling the networks of parasitic looting of public resources that flourished under the patronage of former President Jacob Zuma. The CC noted important progress in this respect with the replacement of boards in key SOEs, the establishment of the commission of inquiry into state capture which will soon get under way under Judge Raymond Zondo, an important shake-up at SARS, in the Hawks, and in the intelligence services, and much more. The CC also noted with approval the placing of the North West provincial government under section 100 administration and the resignation of North West premier following sustained popular pressure in which the SACP in the province played a leading and constructive role.
There is still much to be done and it is imperative that the early momentum in the drive against corruption and state capture is sustained. In this context we must neither exaggerate nor underestimate attempts at a fight-back. KwaZulu-Natal has become a seed-bed for this counter-revolutionary agenda, but with tentacles spreading into other provinces. Those directly involved in the soaring number of political assassinations, and those behind them, must be brought to book as a matter of urgency.
The sheer scale of the rot that had set in becomes more and more apparent with every day. The SACP supports the regulatory and other investigations into the Venda Building Society and calls for the prosecution of those in municipalities and in the VBS who have illegally diverted scarce municipal funding.
Reconfiguring the Alliance to defend democracy and advance radical transformation
The CC continued to enrich our approach to the necessary task of reconfiguring of the Alliance in line with the SACP July 2017 Congress resolutions. This task is not narrowly about, the nonetheless important, question of electoral positioning. The new situation and new prospects, as well as persisting threats, on the political terrain require a cohesive, united alliance, more than ever. Such cohesion will need to recognise the independence of our respective formations, as well as our collective responsibilities to each other to help strengthen positive developments within each of our formations, while correcting and isolating those forces involved in deviations, factionalism and corruption.
In the CC’s engagement with President Ramaphosa we were encouraged by an active willingness to take forward such discussions in this spirit.
The Land Question
The CC noted and welcomed the broad outcomes of the ANC’s recent Land Summit. In particular, we welcomed the fact that the ANC had engaged with a wider range of rural activists, NGOs and research institutes – breaking with the anti-intellectual traditions that had taken a hold in the recent past. The CC also welcomed the fact that the evolving approach to the land question acknowledged that much of the current legitimate frustration at the slow pace of both rural and urban land transformation was the result of weak state institutions, policy confusions and even corruption.
The political report to the CC emphasised the importance of all three pillars of a radical land reform programme that must prioritise the working class and urban and rural poor – restitution, redistribution and tenure security. In particular, what is required is a much greater emphasis on a forward look land redistribution programme as well as addressing the 60% of South Africans who are outside of the formal individual title deeds system – including farm-workers, labour tenants, the millions in informal settlement, and in ownerless buildings.
Forward towards health solidarity – forward to a National Health Insurance system
Health minister, Cde Aaron Motsoaledi presented to the CC an update on the process towards an NHI. The core of his input is that we cannot consolidate an NHI unless we consolidate a common health fund that pools and redistribute health care spending on a solidarity basis. This represents a major class struggle in a country in which private health care spending proportionate to GDP is the highest in the world, surpassing even the arch-capitalist United States. Currently South Africa spends a high proportion of GDP on health care – 8.5%. However, 4.4% of GDP is health care spend on only 16% of the population, while 84% of South Africans are dependent on 4.1%.
Since 1998 there has been a massive process of concentration in three private hospital groups, listed on the JSE. Profits for these three have sky-rocketed, and the private care system has cannibalised the public sector, drawing away medical specialists, and leaching off medical aid funds and their members who are increasingly in crisis. The SACP pledged to support the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill, an important step in curbing these abuses and laying one of steps towards an NHI for all South Africans.
Cde Motsoaledi also briefed the SACP on the bilateral SA-Cuba agreement. He underlined the Cuban world class preventative approach to health-care for all, as opposed to the dominant, hi-tech, costly curative approach that dominates South African health system. A progressive move in this direction is imperative for the consolidation of the NHI. It is in this context that the SACP fully supported Cde Motsoaledi’s commitment to consolidating our cooperation with Cuba.
Radical transformation of the financial sector
The CC noted the work that is currently under way at the National Economic Development and Labour Council towards the outcome of the second financial sector summit scheduled to take place in July. The first financial sector summit was held a decade ago. Despite the commendable achievements that cushioned South Africa from the worst impact of the 2008 global economic crisis, the reality is that untransformed systemic and structural features of the financial sector persist. The cost of financial services such as housing financing remains exorbitant, and consumers are heavily indebted. The debt is driven, by finance capital, not to support production development but to fuel unproductive consumption. Investment in productive activity remains extremely poor, and unemployment, inequality and poverty continue.
The outcome of the summit must therefore establish a firm basis and pave the way to a radical transformation of financial sector. In particular, the systemic and structural features of the financial sector, the financial architecture and financial sector landscape, must be transformed. The financial sector must be de-monopolised and diversified and made to serve the people. The high cost of banking and other financial services must be radically reduced.
Just renewable energy transition and Independent Power Producers
An overwhelming majority of our people are working class and poor. They do not have the capital that private companies command to become Independent Power Producers (IPPs). The development of public and social ownership in renewable energy production, in addition to ensuring that procurement is above board, remains strategically necessary and central to a just transition. If public ownership in renewable energy is not advanced and deepened directly under Eskom, it surely has to be taken forward equally decisively under a new public entity dedicated to renewable energy production. Proper management of the renewable energy transition in the context of an appropriate transitional energy mix, and having regard to the imperative of employment creation and the necessity of avoiding job losses is absolutely important as part and parcel of a just transition.
Statement issued by SACP, 3 June 2018