SACP 14th Congress Central Committee 1st Plenary Session Statement
Build the broadest patriotic and popular fronts to defend and deepen our democracy
Following the SACP’s 14th National Congress held in July, the newly elected Central Committee (CC) met in Kempton Park in its First Plenary Session over the weekend of 25 to 27 August. The CC evaluated the National Congress, began the work of mapping out the way forward based on the resolutions of Congress, and elected a new Political Bureau.
The CC agreed that the 14th Congress, occurring at a very challenging and complex moment in post-apartheid South Africa, has consolidated SACP unity on a programmatic basis, and underlined the important responsibilities that the SACP must now carry.
Since its annual, end-of-year 2014 Augmented CC it has been the SACP that first pointed out the rampant corporate capture of key state institutions and entities, particularly by the Gupta family and their associates, working in league with key politicians and state functionaries. Before the former Public Protector’s “State of Capture” report, the SACP had called for an independent Judicial Commission of Inquiry into state capture.
The SACP continues to support the call for an independent Judicial Commission of Inquiry based on the specific focus of the Public Protector’s report. While the ANC leadership has resolved on an urgent Judicial Commission of Inquiry – there is still no movement on this matter. In the light of the avalanche of e-mail exposures of the sheer scale of looting of public resources, we cannot passively await a long postponed Judicial Commission. Where there are clear-cut, prima facie cases of wrong-doing, the criminal justice institutions must move with urgency and determination, without which more billions of rands of public money will continue be spirited out of our country to Dubai and other off-shore locations.
In this context, and requiring urgent action, are the past week’s two dummy Gupta sales of their media interests at an inflated, vendor-financed “price” to front-man Mzwanele Manyi, and the Tegeta mining interests to a shelf company in Switzerland with Dubai connections. These dummy sales are brazen attempts by the Guptas to restore suspended banking services, to evade tax responsibilities, and to expatriate yet more ill-gotten wealth.
The transparent crudeness of these “sales” once more underlines the racist contempt in which the Guptas hold South Africa’s black majority government and the gay abandon with which they treat the national sovereignty of their supposed, adoptive homeland. It is urgent that the Reserve Bank and commercial banks block these manoeuvres before billions more rands of public resources disappear into Dubai.
The SACP fully supports a comprehensive parliamentary inquiry into state capture and we urge that it be given the technical support so that it can be done effectively and expeditiously. We urge that the inquiry be expanded to investigate recent claims that the Guptas pay only a fraction of their taxes.
The CC noted the intention of the ANC to undertake disciplinary action against some ANC MPs following the Vote of No Confidence in Parliament. While the SACP understands that ultimately it is for the ANC to decide on disciplinary action against ANC members, we urge restraint in this specific matter.
It is absolutely unacceptable that egregious ill-discipline, notably by certain Ministers, in some cases amounting to treasonable sharing of Cabinet information with private parties and for personal profit, is allowed to pass without the mildest rebuke, while others, out of concern for the ANC and the trajectory of our country, and without any personal profit motive, are pursued. Selective, factionally-based application of discipline is wrong and will simply deepen disunity while encouraging the real miscreants.
The comrades currently targeted for selective discipline should rather be engaged outside of a disciplinary process. We extend our solidarity with the comrades affected by these ill-considered disciplinary moves.
This past week’s Statistics SA poverty indicators confirm what has been obvious for some time. The persisting capitalist crisis, compounded by the looting of public resources and the corporate capture of critical state institutions ranging from Eskom through the payment of social grants to the South African Revenue Service, has plunged a third of South Africans into dire poverty. Poverty has a particularly devastating impact upon women and children.
In August, when we mark Women’s Month, it is important to remember that violence against women and children is not just the horrific levels of person-on-person physical abuse, often occurring within households. It is also about the more structural forms of violence, like the unacceptably high levels of maternal deaths in provinces like Limpopo and the North West. Tax evasion, illicit capital outflows, the corrupt corporate incapacitation of key public institutions all have direct and indirect violent consequences, not least for women and children in working class and poor rural communities.
The CC endorsed the 14th Congress decision to focus this year’s Red October campaign on the scourge of violence against women and children. We will take up this theme with a locally-based focus within our ongoing campaign - “Know and Act within Your Neighbourhood”. The objective is to help to build street-level, community-based capacity to address the scourge of gender-based violence, including working with existing community policing forums, neighbourhood watches, and safe-house initiatives for victims. Work with many other formations and initiatives on the ground is part and parcel of building a popular front of working class and progressive forces.
In line with decisions taken at our 14th Congress and in the context of the dire threat to our hard-won democratic dispensation, the SACP is setting itself the task of deepening our active role in helping to build two inter-related but distinct broad fronts:
1. The widest patriotic front against state capture and in defence of our democratic constitution and national sovereignty. The SACP-convened national imbizo in April, involving a very wide representation, including a delegation from Business Unity South Africa, ANC stalwarts and veterans, the MK National Council, the trade union movement, faith based formations, and many social movements is one example of several initiatives in this direction.
2. At the same time there is a need for a more strategic popular front of working class and progressive formations to make the connection between the struggle against state capture and a progressive socio-economic platform based on radical socio-economic transformation. Already there are many positive initiatives occurring in this direction, and it is also in this regard that the CC has committed the SACP to support COSATU’s Section 77 application for a day of massive working class mobilisation against state capture and corruption.
While the widest, multi-class mobilisation against state capture is to be encouraged, it is also important that this mobilisation is not dominated entirely by middle-class or even capitalist interests. One of the lessons we can learn from Brazil or Venezuela is that where progressive and left-wing forces are absent from anti-corruption mobilization, right-wing regime change agendas, often actively promoted by external forces, will take hold.
The CC developed the beginnings of a road map to implement the many key resolutions, including socio-economic resolutions taken at our 14th Congress. These include campaigning for a wealth tax, a land tax on absentee landlords and on large-scale agricultural enterprises to fund land reform focused on small farmer development, prescribed assets, tighter control of monetary flows, a rejection of the Mining Charter’s proposed 1 percent free carry of turnover to private black entrepreneurs rather than using a resource rent tax to fund a sovereign national wealth fund, and the development of a thriving co-operative sector resourced through local co-operative banking.
The CC welcomed the decision of the Appeal Court to reject Janusz Walus’s early release, as well as the guilty judgment against the two racists involved in the notorious coffin case. The CC saluted the persistence with which the Ahmed Timol family has pursued the re-opening of an inquest into the murder of this young communist cadre by the Security Police in 1971. This serves as an important reminder that the TRC found that there were over 400 other cases that should be re-opened, but which have still not been taken forward. The SACP repeats the call for a new inquest into the circumstances surrounding Cde Chris Hani’s assassination.
The CC expressed disappointment at the Department of International Relations’ handling of the Grace Mugabe assault against a young South African woman.
The CC congratulated the International Affairs Portfolio Committee in Parliament for refusing to meet a delegation from the Israeli Knesset.
Members of the 14th Congress CC Political bureau are:
Blade Nzimande, Senzeni Zokwana, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, Solly Mapaila, Chris Matlhako, Thulas Nxesi, Jeremy Cronin, Yunus Carrim, Shiela Barsel, Madala Masuku, Frans Baleni, Fikile Majola, Bulelwa Thunyiswa, Jenny Schreiner, Reneva Fourie, Grace Pampiri and Ben Martins.
Statement issued by the SACP, 27 August 2017