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Programme of action adopted by the Central Committee meeting in August 2002

1. INTRODUCTION

The 11th Congress of the South African Communist Party (SACP) identified the key strategic objective of the SACP over the next five to ten years as being to build a mass-based momentum for socio-economic transformation that overcomes poverty, deep-seated inequality and systemic underdevelopment, launching our society onto a new path of growth and development. This mass-based momentum must be ANC-led, and working class-driven. To this end, the 11th Congress committed us to mobilise the active participation of the overwhelming majority of our people, working together with our allies, with government at all levels, and the mass movement. In this way and as an active formation in this struggle, the SACP will seek to advance, deepen and defend the National Democratic Revolution and, at the same time, build momentum towards, capacity for, and elements of socialism.

The 11th Congress also affirmed our guiding slogan ?Socialism is the Future, Build it Now!? and elaborated it by including ?With and For the Workers and the Poor!?. Drawing from the 10th Congress Programme, the 11th Congress also reaffirmed the key elements of our programme as being to build people?s power, roll back the market, deepening, advancing and consolidating the NDR, and tackling the race, gender and class inequalities in our society.

As an ANC-led alliance, we have attained significant and substantive elements of political power, but dominant economic power still remains with the same class forces as under apartheid. Unless we are able to radically transform the socio-economic terrain, and unless we do this in the coming decade by changing the persisting patterns of skewed accumulation (and dis-accumulation), the objectives of the NDR will be in danger. We therefore need an intensive and extensive focus on socio-economic transformation, through sustained mobilisation of our people and the deployment of state power. Through a mobilised and politically conscious working class, we need to engage all sites of economic power ? the workplace, public and private capital, the state, the banks, our various forms of co-operative enterprises( stokvels, burial societies, co-operatives themselves), street vendors, spaza shops, etc. as part of building the capacity and momentum for socialism.

It was through the lessons from the financial sector campaign, amongst other things, that we have advanced the concept and slogan of building a people?s economy. Building a working class-driven momentum for socio-economic transformation should be the basis from which we drive a broader growth and development strategy. This momentum should aim primarily at overcoming and transforming the stubborn, skewed accumulation (and dis-accumulation) regime that still characterises our society. We need a growth and development process driven by and benefiting the overwhelming majority of our society ? workers exploited by capitalism, a black majority still suffering the legacy of race domination, and millions of women oppressed by persisting patriarchal relations of power.

The various working class struggles (HIV/AIDS, access to basic services, land, etc.) need to be harnessed towards building the political and organisation of the working class as the basis upon which to build people?s power. The impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is already devastating.

Therefore the FOUR key pillars of the programme of action to achieve these strategic objectives derive from, and build on, current and recent working class-led campaigns and struggles as well as our socialist vision in the medium term:
? A Growth and Development Strategy
? Local Governance and Economic Transformation
? Working Class Struggles
? International Solidarity

2. A GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

The SACP argues for the development of a growth and development strategy, based on a coherent industrial policy, through maximum possible mobilisation of domestic resources. A major focus should be on jobs and poverty eradication, with campaigns for job creation and retention, a comprehensive social security programme, and a conscious programme to empower women in the economy.

This strategy also implies that we must defend and extend a democratic, accountable and efficient public sector, with the state as the preferred provider of social services to meet basic needs, as the foundation of building a national democratic, developmental state. Delivery of basic services should be underpinned by a conscious strategy to relieve the burden of unpaid labour by women.

Given the recent agreements reached at the NEDLAC Financial Sector Summit, we must escalate the campaign for the transformation and diversification of the financial sector, with a particular focus on transforming existing banks, building co-operative banking, strengthening public sector financial institutions, and mobilising workers? provident and pension funds, and the creation of a credit regime orientated towards our developmental objectives. We also need to halt the massive dis-investment flow spearheaded by our own major corporations.

We must build a co-operative movement through mobilisation of our people as well as engaging government at all levels to create an appropriate gendered legislative, policy, financing framework and an appropriate credit regime for the building of such co-operatives. We need to strategically focus initially on co-operative banks, workers? co-operatives and housing co-operatives.

We must also take forward the struggle for a comprehensive social security programme and system which must include a basic income grant, a national health insurance, and raising the age group for child grants.

All the above principally mean an Alliance-led and working class-driven, gender conscious implementation of the programme of action adopted at the Ekurhuleni summit. In practice and with reference to the SACP, the practical implications of the above are: -
? Building the internal policy capacity of the SACP at all levels in order engage with the development of a growth and development strategy also focusing on provincial and local economic transformation
? Engaging in the alliance around the implementation of the programme of action adopted at the Ekurhuleni Summit
? Engaging the discussions and policies to be tabled and discussed at the ANC Policy Conference and the ANC?s 51st National Conference
? Taking forward the outcomes of the financial sector summit
? Practital tasks of building co-operatives and a co-operative movement through linkages and work with the Dora Tamana Co-operative Centre and other organisations
? Mobilisation for the registration of those who qualify for social security grants and practical work towards a comprehensive social security system

3. LOCAL GOVERNANCE AND ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

We intend to focus on local governance and economic transformation through strengthening the delivery capacity of our municipalities, the building of sustainable communities and the building people?s power (Co-operatives, Community Policing Forums, Ward Committees, School Governing Bodies, strengthening party branches and districts, etc).

We seek to achieve this by accelerating the development and implementation of integrated development plans (IDPs) at local level. The anchor of local transformation should be building government capacity and people?s power for meeting basic needs, starting by accelerating the implementation of the commitment to provision of a certain amount of free basic services to the poor.

The 11th Congress directs us towards making local governance and economic transformation as a ?centre of gravity? for our Party in the years ahead, through ensuring that our growth and development strategy perspectives are implemented at this level.

The practical implications of the above are: -
? Capacity building at all levels of the SACP including the building of appropriate NGO capacity
? Elaboration and consolidation of the 1999 and 2000 Strategy Conference Resolutions into a consolidated programme and approach on local government transformation
? Development and implementation by each district of district level local transformation programmes (including aims, objectives, targets, programmes, campaigns, implementation structures)
? Positively leading and harnessing working class struggles around service delivery and transformation towards progressive and democratic service delivery and transformation at a local level

4. WORKING CLASS STRUGGLES

Fighting the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

The SACP is making HIV/AIDS a top priority in its work.

The SACP is particularly concerned that the private sector in South Africa is not doing enough to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The private sector holds massive resources, which can be mobilised as part of the effort to fight HIV/AIDS. The SACP is also concerned about the collapse in the public health system.

The SACP emphasises the need for a government-led strategy which is dynamic and holistic and would dynamically link awareness, information, prevention, access to services, care, treatment and support. The SACP also emphasises the building of a people-centre, people-driven and progressive HIV/AIDS movement.

Practically, the SACP will focus on the following: -
? The consolidation of  a progressive, people-centred, people-driven and progressive PWA and broader HIV/AIDS movement
? Actively linking up with and strengthening the work of community organisations involved in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic through practical programmes and campaigns on awareness, education, access to services, home-based care, primary health care
? Accelerating social transformation as it relates to HIV/AIDS (premised on the  building of an efficient and quality public health system and development of a comprehensive social security)
? Intensifying the campaign against multinational pharmaceutical companies to provide affordable medicines and towards local generic production of medicines, not only anti-retrovirals, but also drugs to combat the many curable diseases afflicting our country and continent

Rise in food prices

The SACP is very concerned about the rise in the basic prices of food in our country at the moment. This rise in food prices erodes workers? earnings and threatens to worsen poverty in our country. As the SACP, we will work towards the extension of zero-rating of basic foodstuffs on which our people survive, and sustainable programmes towards food security.

Access to basic services

The SACP will work towards the implementation of the government commitment to deliver free basic amounts of water, electricity and sanitation. This will include actively working in addressing any problems and delays in this regard, and playing an active and leading role in the struggles around evictions and service cut-offs. In the light existing problems, as the SACP we will also seek to build bridges of communication, consultation and co-operation between communities and local governments around service delivery and local development.

Rural motive forces and the transformation of the South African countryside

It is important that we properly understand and define the main content of the land and agrarian questions in South Africa in the contemporary period. This requires that the SACP must develop policy and programmes on land and agrarian reform based initially on household production.

The Party must throw its weight behind struggles for access to land, poverty eradication,   the building of co-operatives, racism and evictions.

The Party must focus on unionising farmworkers, building rural and landless people?s organisation and general mobilisation of all sections of our people in rural areas.

5. INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

We must deepen relations with communist, socialist and other left progressive forces globally around infusing a socialist content to the international mass struggles against capitalist globalisation, the rebuilding and renewal of an international communist movement and towards practical solidarity and bilateral relations and programmes.

We will also focus on progressive forces in the SADC and the African continent through increased networking and attention to multi-lateral discussions on NEPAD, solidarity actions and the need for a mass-driven renewal and development of our continent based on real and sustainable partnerships between empowered people of Africa and their democratic governments.

We will maintain our solidarity focus on Swaziland, Western Sahara, Cuba and Palestine without ignoring In each area of focus we have to build visible campaigns and closer engagement with the alliance and government. We will also take forward the proposal for a Solidarity Centre.

Our international focus will also include a focus on financial flows, speculative capital, the IMF, World Bank, the UN and other multi-lateral institutions. The above imply the development of appropriate capacity at all SACP levels.

6. IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY

The 11th Congress identified the following as key implementation strategies: -
? Enhancing the relevance of socialist ideology, strategy and organisation
? Building a strong SACP
? Building the Young Communist League
? Building the political and organisational capacity and power of the working class as a foundation for building people?s power
? Placing the transformation of gender relations and the emancipation of women at the centre of our programme
? Building the Alliance
? Attaining financial sustainability
? Annual and localised Programmes of Action
? Streamlining of Commissions and other structures of the CC which must be replicated at the PEC and DEC levels

Socialist ideology, strategy and organisation

The 11th Congress noted that the most important lesson over the last four years and, indeed, over the twelve years since our unbanning, concerns the relevance and absolute necessity of socialist theory, ideas and organisation as critical components of deepening and consolidating the NDR itself.

Through this programme of action, the SACP must play its role to ensure that the working class is aware that its tasks include exerting its influence and power over all of society. The working class must dare to become the hegemonic class force in our society. The working class must even endeavour to provide leadership to the bourgeoisie.

Practically, this means consistent and bold engagement in all sites of influence and power in society. Importantly, the SACP must enhance its socialist propaganda work (the media, leaflets, red papers, Umsebenzi becoming a bi-weekly mass circulation newspaper, the African Communist, local Party publications, etc.).

The SACP must also pay serious attention to the unification of the working class across racial, ethnic and sectoral divides. The SACP must pay close attention to organised working class formations focusing on trade unions in COSATU, NACTU, FEDUSA and independent unions.

Building a strong SACP

The 11th Congress emphasised that the building of the Party must focus on its strength and independence. There was an overwhelming realization that these weakness largely constituted an internal threat that was extremely self destructive and limiting on the political effectiveness of the party. Hence, the following challenges and organisational tasks have been identified for immediate, systematic and bold implementation. These are as follows :
? Consolidating our policy capacity including the launch of the Chris Hani Institute
? Consolidating cadreship development - this is envisaged through intensified ongoing party political education work at every level of the party as well as a compulsory induction programme of all new members. Central Committee members deployed in provinces should also serve as political education resource for those provinces. Part of political education must be focussed at building women cadres.
? Full time Provincial Secretaries ? taking forward this task to all provinces within a reasonable time-frame.
? Consolidation of Provincial and District Councils - to ensure that quite regularly councils focus on organisational building through `district and branch program assessments` as well as governance issues. The latter must allow for a sharing of information, strategic decision making, intra provincial connections on common issues, where necessary, that ensures that Party impacts decisively on policymaking processes within government;
? Targeted recruitment - aimed at intellectuals, worker leaders and shop stewards, people in government, civil society and the private sector, community leaders and women linked directly to programme implementation and Communist political activity. The party has to grow out of and from struggles and more fundamentally a leap from theory to practice
? Building the Young Communist League ? as a programmatic focus on its own but which must dynamically take forward the overall SACP programme and focus on current youth struggles (the student movement, young women, HIV/AIDS impact in young people, youth development, the broader youth movement, etc.)
? Connecting with SACP History in a manner which highlights and enhances the past, current and ongoing role of communists in the struggle for national liberation, people?s power and socialism. Refer to the proposal for an SACP History Project.

Building the political and organisational capacity of the working class

The SACP has a special responsibility to work closely with the organised formations of the working class. This is the stratum of the working class that has traditions, numbers and capacity to play a leading strategic role in the struggle to consolidate the NDR and build socialism. The SACP`S work on this front must be directed to developing the class confidence, the political, strategic and leadership capacity of workers.

To carry out this task the SACP must:
? consolidate the establish industrial units - capable of conducting systematic socialist ideological work in major industrial localities through amongst other initiatives, like Umsebenzi, African Communist discussion groups etc
? greatly extend our joint programme of political education with out trade union allies
? ensure workplace transformation and democratisation and emphasise the strategic objective of worker participation, control and ownership;
? strengthen trade unions in COSATU
? develop working relations with NACTU, FEDUSA and independent unions
? harness working class struggles and energies towards transformation

Placing transformation of gender relations and women?s emancipation at the centre of our programme

As outlined in our Political Programme document, we need to ensure that our programmes, activities and campaigns are engendered, that we confront the challenge of elaborating a Marxist-Leninist feminism based on our own conditions and experiences.

Gender structures must be established at every level, and there should also be tighter co-ordination of gender activities through out the party, particularly through provincial participation in the national gender commission. Recruitment and cadreship development must focus on women with relevant focus on men as SACP gender activists.

Building the Alliance

Adequate attention will have to be paid to the Alliance. The 11th Congress noted that the series of bilaterals and alliance meetings, including the all-important Ekurhuleni declaration of April 2002, have taken us out of the dip, and set us on a positive path of finding a common approach.

Of critical importance is the need to implement the Ekurhuleni programme of action, premised on an agreed upon growth and development strategy, which will also act as a basis for approaching the growth summit. This is the most immediate challenge that would dramatically improve relations within the Alliance and reposition it to lead society in the process of transformation.

The party should work hard to ensure that the alliance works nationally, provincially and locally. It is critical that together as an alliance we assume civic like activities, to ensure that we maintain a dynamic relation with the people. As an alliance we should hold regular co-ordinating meetings, as well periodic summits to evaluate the direction and scope transformation. Importantly we should as an alliance constantly interface on issues of governance, and engage with comrades who are deployed in government.

The SACP also need to pay some attention to the building of SANCO.

Attaining SACP financial sustainability

We cannot achieve any of our main strategic objectives unless we ensure sustainable funding for the Party. This means that we need to intensify the debit order campaign and embark on a number of creative fund-raising initiatives for the SACP. This must be based on a common and shared fundraising strategy which must be implemented energetically by all structures of the SACP through annual budgets, fundraising programmes and workplans. This is a fundamental political task facing our Party. This is a crucial challenge for the survival of the SACP as an independent organisation.

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