Statement on the occasion of ANC January 8th Statement as delivered by General Secretary Comrade Blade Nzimande, Saturday January 11 2014
President of the ANC and our Republic, Comrade Jacob Zuma;
ANC Secretary General Comrade Gwede Mantashe;
All ANC National Officials and National Executive Committee Members;
Leaders from all the leagues of the ANC;
SACP Central Committee Members, and
Leaders from our Young Communist League;
Leaders from Alliance Partners, COSATU and SANCO;
Members of all our Alliance partners, and
Formations of our Mass Democratic Movement;
International and distinguished guests present,
Let me on behalf of the SACP congratulate the ANC for reaching 102 years on 8 January 2014. The SACP expresses its revolutionary solidarity to the ANC and sincere gratitude for the work well done by the ANC in its 102 years of existence. To us as the SACP, the ANC is both a symbol of unity and a beacon of hope for our people.
For centuries and decades our people carried out gallant struggles against colonialism and land dispossession. They first fought as different ethnic groups and then through the ANC as a united force since 1912. The ANC was formed as an embodiment of the unity for our people, based both on past experiences and the need to secure success on their shared future, as was to be clearly captured in the Freedom Charter in 1955.
Today as the SACP, much as our message is directed at our people as a whole but it is also particularly meant for the workers and the working class of our country.
Defend and strengthen the unity of the ANC as our national movement
The African National Congress was founded in the first instance as the national movement of the oppressed people of our country to fight colonialism and national oppression, and to reclaim the human and national dignity of especially the African people. Though we have gotten rid of the apartheid regime, the task of the total liberation of the previously oppressed is not yet complete.
The ANC therefore still remains the national movement, together with other classes and progressive forces, of the workers of our country. It still remains the best vehicle for uniting all progressive forces in society, the workers and the middle strata, black and white, men and women for the total emancipation of our people. It wouldtherefore be a fatal mistake for workers at this point to try and isolate the working class struggles from national struggles.
The two are deeply interwoven, hence the need not only to strengthen the ANC, but for workers to be in the ANC, to serve the ANC in its leadership structures if elected, and hence the need for workers tomobilise for our people to vote for the ANC to achieve overwhelming electoral victories. Like Cde Crosby, to also be deployed to parliament and government as workers if the ANC so decides. A worker that is not in the ANC or SACP has no source of political education, as being in a union alone is not sufficient for workers to lead our revolution.
Indeed it is through our unity in the ANC, Alliance and National Liberation Movementthat we successfully confronted the colonial and apartheid regime. As the SACP, the oldest political formation in South Africa after the ANC, we have a wealth of experience working together with this revolutionary mass movement of our people, and in building the progressive trade union movement. This is because we know how important unity is, that it is one of our fundamental reasons for existence. All our formations in the Alliance and National Liberation Movement as led by the ANC must prioritise unity.
As the SACP we are not saying the working class must defend and build the ANC purely based on what the ANC did in fighting against the apartheid order and its regime, but also because of what the ANC has done since 1994. Today we stand up to say we indeed do agree with the ANC that South Africa today in 2014 - 20 years after our democratic breakthrough, is a much better place than it was in 1994!
Revolutionary gains over the past twenty years
Today, South Africa has some of the most progressive labour laws in the world, guaranteeing the right to join and form trade unions, together with other progressive labour market measures. However these achievements are under threat as bosses try to roll them back through casualisation, retrenchment and labour brokers. Workers must build even stronger unions, an even stronger and more united Cosatuto defend all the gains brought about through the democratic government.
To workers, especially in Cosatu we say there are attempts today to try and drivewedge between Cosatu and the ANC. We say, the only people who will gain from a weakened Cosatu that is separated from the ANC is not the workers but the bosses. At this point in time Cosatu needs the ANC just as the ANC needs Cosatu.
As the SACP we believe that divisions are a luxury we all cannot afford. Divisions do not belong to our Alliance and National Liberation Movement, because they will not serve our people. Divisions can and will only serve the enemy and if not its agents. Those who are advocating for division are therefore serving the enemy agenda. Those trying to drive a wedge between the ANC and organised workers are serving the interests of our enemy.
The SACP is proud to be associated with the ANC through our Alliance and our shared principle of dual membership. We are therefore not only in alliance with the ANC, but our members are simultaneously also ANC members in their own right.
The SACP is deeply appreciative of the many advances made by the ANC since 1994, advances and gains that have enormously benefitted the working class. This includes
- the expanded and improved education opportunities for the children of the working class, as also shown by the impressive matric results of 2013;
- the millions of houses that have benefitted the working class;
- the improvement in life expectancy through the provision of ARVs and the abandoning of the dangerous belief in Aids denialism;
- the adoption of progressive industrial policy;
- commitment to invest in infrastructure;
- school feeding scheme that is benefitting more than 8 million school going kids;
- free bursaries for the poor in FET Colleges, now benefitting 215 000 students.
Despite the persistent challenge of unemployment, these advances have made an enormous contribution in improving the living conditions of the working class in our country.
Let the trillions of Rands in workers' pension and insurance funds serve the need to create jobs and develop our economy.
It is also important that we bring to an end the reckless lending practices by some of our financial institutions. Let us make sure that the unbanked are banked! Let us also bring an end to unscrupulous garnishes orders!
Let us remain focused
The SACP calls upon the ANC and indeed our entire Alliance to remain focused on our priorities. We welcome the fact that the ANC, as captured in the 2014 Manifesto, still remains committed to the FIVE main priorities of our revolution.
We also call upon all our Alliance structures to focus on doing work in our communities, and to forge a lasting relationship with our people and communities to ensure that their lives are changed for the better. Let our branches not waste their energies on infighting for positions, but to ensure that our schools are functional, that our communities are safe, that we fight the scourge of violence against women and children, and that our clinics and FET colleges respond to the health and training needs of our people. This is what remaining focused means, among others.
In these struggles and priorities, the ANC will always find us a reliable partner in the SACP!
Happy 102nd birthday!
Issued by the SACP, January 11 2014
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