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Bua Komanisi Volume 3 - Issue 3 - September 2003



by Blade Nzimande, SACP General Secretary, 16 September 2003

Cde President, Willie Madisha, Cde Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary and all COSATU national office-bearers, leadership of COSATU affiliates, leadership of the ANC present, Cde Jeremy Cronin and the SACP delegation, local and international guests, cde delegates. As the SACP we are deeply honoured by the invitation to come and address your congress. This occasion might go down in history as one of the most important congresses in the history of this Federation, this, the 8th Congress of the Congress of South African Trade Unions.


Coming just 7 months before the end of the first decade of our freedom, this Congress comes at a time in which our revolution stands at the cross-roads. Since 1994 there have been many advances for the working class and poor of our country, there have also been defeats and persisting crises for workers and the poor - one million formal sector jobs have been lost in five years, workers have been casualised and informalised, household income inequality and mass poverty have worsened.

Everyday, on the TV, radio and in the print media, there are multiple signs of distress, of creeping bourgeois values, of a sharpening factionalism within our own liberation movement. For the past 10 years we have moved forward collectively, we have notched up victories, we have made significant resource transfers to the poor, but still we remain locked into a ravenous, barbaric capitalist accumulation path. We have to go forward, but we cannot just go forward with hope and good intentions. We have to systematically, consciously, militantly rescue our national democratic revolution from its present imprisonment within a persisting capitalist accumulation path.

Unless, the working class leads, working programmatically and in action with the widest range of the mass of the urban and rural poor, unless this is done, the promise of 1994 will collapse into agendas of narrow self-enrichment, and general confusion. The SACP is prepared to work with all potentially patriotic and progressive forces - but one thing is clear, the bourgeoisie, the emergent bourgeoisie and the emergent bourgeoisies, separately and together are incapable of charting a way out of our persisting crisis of underdevelopment. The working class must lead!


As we speak, structures of our Party are preparing to start a debate on the Party's medium-term vision discussion document. Simultaneous with this is the COSATU discussion document "Consolidating Working Class Power For Quality Jobs - Towards 2015", which will be discussed at this Congress. The Party's medium-term vision discussion document seeks to develop a working class vision for the next 10-12 years. It asks what kind of society do we want to see in South Africa by the end of the second decade of our freedom in 2014?

Nearly a decade after our 1994 breakthrough it is critical that the trajectory of what has been achieved and the trajectory of where we are going, or of where we should be going, is assessed strategically from a working class perspective.

The 1994 democratic breakthrough secured state power for a fundamentally progressive, multi-class, national democratic power bloc in which the working class has been a significant factor. Over the last decade, as a direct consequence of the breakthrough, very significant constitutional, legal and institutional power has been shifted towards the working class. There have also been major, if uneven, resource transfers (housing, electricity, water, telecommunications, health-care, education, social security, land) to the working class and to working class dominated communities.

However, in other respects, working class power has been weakened and diluted in this period, especially by the staggering number of jobs lost in the formal sector (more than 1 million), and by other drastic restructuring measures directed at the working class (casualisation, informalisation, etc). This major and brutal restructuring of our economy, in which the working class and working class communities have borne the brunt, has, in fact, been under way in our economy since the mid-1970s. But, in many respects, the process has been accelerated and also extended into new sectors (retail, finance and, critically, the public sector) since 1994. However, two and a half decades of labour-shedding restructuring has left a persisting legacy of systemic, structural unemployment with levels of unemployment around a staggering 40%.

The trajectory of post-1994 transformation has been contested by a variety of class forces, including from within the Alliance itself. There has been a notable, if still relatively weak, emergence of new black capitalist and upper middle strata closely related to and dependent upon the new democratic state and the ANC-led alliance. These developments have, naturally, impacted upon the policy perspectives and internal contradictions within the new democratic state, and our movement.

The majority (black) sector of the working class and these emergent upper middle and bourgeois strata have shared interests, not least in the consolidation of an effective, powerful, non-racial, democratic state capable of intervening and strategically directing the economy, whose commanding heights continue to be dominated by established domestic capitalist forces, and by transnational corporations (who would prefer to see a lean state whose principal activities would be limited to creating an investor friendly climate and protecting existing bourgeois property rights). Our multi-class ruling bloc also shares a general vision of and a common interest in regional and continental development, overcoming the existing patterns of imperialist accumulation and underdevelopment.

However, the strategic nature of the democratic state's interventions into the economy, the region and continent are, themselves, contested within the Alliance itself, and this contest reflects different class interests. Should BEE be narrowly or broadly defined, not just in theory but in practice? Is the restructuring of state owned enterprises geared to consolidating a more effective development state and parastatal sector, or is it, again, about creating business opportunities for emerging elites?

However, while working class strategies face serious challenges, there are important positive factors upon which we need to build. Our ANC-led liberation movement, while contested, remains fundamentally rooted amongst the working class and poor. The working class forces, at the point of production and in communities, unleashed in the struggle against apartheid, while partially destabilised by objective and subjective factors, remain a significant national factor with important organisational and mobilisational revolutionary experience. The emergent capitalist and upper middle strata remain weak and highly dependent on state power, which, in turn, depends upon electoral success and therefore a relatively unified and mobilised mass base. The globally dominant ideological prescriptions are totally incapable of addressing the socio-economic challenges of our society.

In response to these developments, what does the medium-term vision discussion document of the SACP say? To quote:

"We cannot ... guide, lead and grapple with the current period and all its developments, as well as the second decade of our freedom, unless we develop a medium term vision... The fundamental goal of the SACP for the next 10-11 years should be that the working class by then must be having a decisive and qualitative impact on all key sites of power and influence - particularly political, mass and economic sites of power - such that no significant centre of power in society can ... exercise that power without a significant input from, and centrally taking into account the class interests of, the working class" (Bua Komanisi, July 2003, Volume 3 No.1 p.3).

In relation to the ideological struggle, the SACP's discussion document on the medium term vision calls for: "Building a conscious cadre able to impact on state institutions and policy, economic and mass formations in favour of the workers and the poor." Most critically, the document states that: "In the same way that the locomotive and bedrock of the struggle against apartheid was the organised power of the working class, any further qualitative advance in the NDR is dependent on the power and political consciousness of that working class" (Bua Komanisi, July 2003, p.4).

Through this ongoing discussion, the Party intends to make it possible for the trade union movement to grapple with current challenges from a consistently working class perspective in order to tilt the balance of class forces in favour of poor and working people. To reaffirm the realisation of the emerging working class vision, let alone winning the struggle to build socialism, is not possible without deepening the socialist outlook, consciousness and confidence of the working class in order that the working class turns its daily struggles into a general offensive against the legacy of colonialism of a special type and the building of moment towards, capacity for, and elements of socialism.


In order to realise our medium term vision, more than ever before we need a coherent, working class-driven programme (essentially a conscious class struggle) to transform the current accumulation regime into a different growth and development path that favours the workers and the poor. This is the only basis upon which to realise further qualitative breakthroughs in the NDR.

As the SACP we have identified the key strategic challenge (or the fundamental contradiction) of the current period as that of a revolution with substantial political power, albeit incomplete and contested, but without dominant economic power. Dominant economic power still remains with the same class (national and gender) forces as under apartheid. It is on this terrain that we are seeking to advance the struggle to address the national, gender and class struggles.

We have made enormous strides towards addressing these three interrelated contradictions of our revolution - class, national and gender. We have seen massive resource transfers - through delivery of social services like water, electricity, housing, labour market reforms, etc - to the overwhelming majority of our people, principally the African people. However these advances have not been able to transform the existing accumulation path, and well-intentioned as they are, they are constantly undermined by ongoing job losses, casualisation, informalisation and the general pauperization of the majority. What the democratic government gives is being seriously taken and stolen by the persistent capitalist character of our society and the overwhelming dominance of the capitalist class in our economy.

The strategic and programmatic challenge therefore is that any further qualitative breakthrough in the national democratic revolution fundamentally requires significant breakthroughs on the economic front. Unless we make fundamental economic advances and break with the current accumulation regime, the national democratic revolution runs a danger of stagnating with all of the consequences that will bring. The challenge is how do we use the substantial elements of political and mass power we have to realise these economic breakthroughs towards sustainable job creation and poverty eradication.

It is only an independent working class with a clear medium term vision that is capable of providing the leadership and motive power to achieve this qualitative transformation of the national democratic revolution. The bourgeoisie, of whatever hue, or the petty bourgeoisie for that matter, with their eclectic ideologies and programmes and policies that are sometimes well-intentioned but never transformative cannot provide effective leadership to the national democratic revolution and realise its key objectives in the current period. It is precisely because of the centrality of capital in our economy at the current moment that we are witnessing the problems we have in the economy.

The working class program, elements of which are already articulated in our medium term visions needs to develop strategies for the three key potential sites for consolidating transformational, i.e, anti-systemic, i.e. working class-hegemonised power. The three sites are:

One: state power, across all of its dimensions (economic, social, juridical, safety and security, and legislative), and in the inter-national, national, provincial and local spheres - here the key (but not the exclusive) mass organisational formation is the ANC. The challenge is to continue to foster an ANC as a ruling party, capable of democratically dominating the electoral process, rooted amongst the working class and the poor, and capable of providing strategic leadership and of nurturing an effective revolutionary cadre within the state. This requires, from the side of the SACP and COSATU, active participation of our cadres in the ANC and in the widest range of state institutions in order to reinforce the ANC's NDR strategic perspectives;

Two: the point of production. We need to consolidate working class power and capacity in this site. This requires organisational work, but also strategic capacity, such that working class power is able to progressively limit the free-rein of capitalist dominance over production (including investment decisions, job creation, labour-intensity, and skills development), and progressively set transformational agendas, with the longer term objective of transforming the dominant class ownership patterns. Obviously, the key mass organisational means for this work is the trade union movement - but, especially in the parastatal sector, workers AND management.

Three: the sites of reproduction, in particular (but not exclusively), the townships and squatter camps. Here, too, we need to consolidate working class power and capacity - economic, social, ideological, cultural. A key strategic objective in this site of struggle is to lessen the dependency and vulnerability of working class communities in regard to capitalist markets and the strategic objective is to build sustainable households and communities, through co-ops and harnessing economic resources in the hands of our people.

The emerging working class medium term perspectives of both the SACP and COSATU should by no means be seen as parallel to the NDR. Rather they should be seen as key platforms upon which the working class seeks to impact upon and provide leadership to the widest range of forces within the NDR itself. If an emerging black bourgeois/bureaucratic stratum hegemonises the NDR, the revolution will fragment, factionalise, bureaucratise and stagnate - and there are already several early warning signs of this danger in our present reality.

Cde President and delegates, in order to realise the building of working class power in society and in all centres of power and influence, we should be guided by the SACPs programmatic slogan: Socialism is the future, build it now. We believe that COSATU's Vision 2015 would best be advanced within the context of this programmatic slogan, premised on building capacity for, momentum towards and elements of socialism as the basis for deepening the NDR and hastening the transition to socialism. It would also act to cement the strategic relationship between our two formations, as we will be arguing below. We hope that as part of the political debates at the Congress this matter will be taken up.


Cde President and delegates, your Congress takes place against the background of an increasingly dangerous global situation. Never has US imperialism been so naked and forthright about its intentions to dominate the world, through co-ercion and force, where it does not get its way. Allow me to quote excerpts from "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" a document produced in September 2002, to illustrate the nature and intentions of US imperialism:

"The great struggles of the 20th Century between liberty and totalitarianism ended with a decisive victory for the forces of freedom - and a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free entreprise"

"Today the United States enjoys a position of unparalled military strength and great economic and political influence. We will defend the peace by fighting terrorists and tyrants. We will preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers. We will extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent"

"We are attentive to the possible renewal of old patterns of greater power competition. Our military must dissuade future military competition. Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States" (Cited from Research Unit for Political Economy Behind the Invasion of Iraq, 2003 p.71)

"While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone"

"The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration"

"The United States will use this moment of opportunity to extend the benefits of freedom across the globe. We will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets and free trade to every corner of the world"

"The US national security strategy will be based on a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests"

"The United States welcomes our responsibility to lead in this great mission"

This is not a secret document, but an open document, which I downloaded from the internet, from the website of US Department of State (except my disk got corrupted after saving this document onto it!)! This document deliberately and cunningly conflates the fight against terrorism as simultaneously a struggle to impose "free markets" in every corner of the globe, conflated with US national and global interests.

We have seen what this strategy means, an invasion of Afghanistan and a unilateral invasion of Iraq, surely also to "place Iraqi oil under the control of US markets".

Never in the history of working class internationalism have we needed international solidarity of all working class and progressive forces to roll back and ultimately defeat this agenda. It is clear that our own struggles to grow and develop our economy will be under the heavy hand of this "great mission" of the US. The struggle to roll back imperialism is therefore integrally linked to our own struggles to deepen the national democratic revolution with and for the workers and the poor. A critical component in advancing our own national agenda and protecting our national sovereignty is to cement and deepen the unity of our Alliance and all the progressive forces in our country. Any reckless handling of our Alliance relations (as we shall argue below) will directly play into this agenda and make us even more vulnerable to this "American internationalism". We also need to systematically build on our campaigns against the war in Iraq and for peace.

Key in this respect is to intensify our international solidarity work on the African continent and the South in general. As the working class we need to take much more proactive engagement with left and progressive forces on the continent, both within and outside the context of NEPAD. There are two pressing challenges in this regard. Firstly we need to harmonise, streamline and better co-ordinate our international work, within the Alliance, and within COSATU affiliates. All of us have extensive international networks and engagements, but these are not harmonised. For instance, how do we make use of COSATU's vast linkages with the trade union movement in Africa as a platform for the Alliance as a whole to forge left links and a left agenda on the continent. The second challenge, in which COSATU will have to play a leading role, is that of the establishment of the Civil Society Forum of the AU - The Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union. This is an important platform through which we can forge systematic linkages with a whole range of progressive formations on the continent, and for these to gather when the AU Assembly sits. We all need to begin some discussion and work in earnest in this regard.

As we speak, the all-round crisis, political, economic and social, in Zimbabwe deepens. The SACP agrees with the ANC and South African government that the immediate priority is to ensure that there is rapid progress towards a transitional government of national unity, involving the two major political formations in Zimbabwe. However, there will be no rapid progress in this direction, unless as South Africans we forcefully express our condemnation of persisting and mass-scale human rights abuses, the oppression of worker organizations, and the masking of bureaucratic ambitions beneath a demagogic rhetoric of anti-imperialism. The SACP is not in the business of providing electoral support to one or another side. The SACP, however, is absolutely committed to fostering democracy and respect for human rights. We are also absolutely committed to ensuring that any settlement in Zimbabwe is not a mere elite pact, but that popular forces actively drive it. This is critical for any break-through, but it is also critical for any genuinely transformational agenda beyond any breakthrough.


Cde President allow me to turn into a matter that is of vital importance to our two formations, the relationship between the SACP and COSATU. This is a relationship we need to continue to deliberately foster, deepen and consolidate. It is a relationship forged in struggle, and must continued to be fostered through common struggles.

In the first instance in order to understand this relationship properly it is important to locate it within the context of what the relationship should be between communists and the labour movement. The most definitive guideline and approach still remains that enunciated by Lenin in 1900. Allow me to quote from this:

"Social democracy is a combination of the labour movement with socialism. Its task is not passively to serve the labour movement at each of its separate stages, but to represent the interests of the movement as a whole, to point out to this movement its ultimate aims and its political tasks, and to protect its political and ideological independence. Isolated from Social-Democracy, the labour movement becomes petty and inevitably becomes bourgeois: in conducting only the economic struggle, the working class loses its political independence; it becomes the tail of other parties and runs counter to the great slogan: 'The emancipation of the workers must be the task of the workers themselves'. In every country there has been a period in which the labour movement existed separately from the socialist movement, each going its own road; and in every country this state of isolation weakened both the socialist movement and the labour movement. Only the combination of socialism with the labour movement in each country created a durable basis for both the one and the other" (Lenin, 1900)

The above approach is as relevant today as it was relevant then. The enemies of the working class everywhere know this, that is why one of their strategies will always be an attempt to drive a wedge between communists and the labour movement, thus aiming to weaken both and strengthen the capitalist character of society. That is where the highly sectarian left works to the agenda of the bourgeoisie when they call for COSATU to split from the Communist Party and the Alliance, and transforms itself into a workers' party. The bourgeoisie would love this as it would isolate organised workers from the Party and the masses and drive it into a cocoon!

Cde President I would like to submit to this Congress that we should consciously see the relationship between our two formations as of a strategic nature. The South African Communist Party is the only credible political voice of the working class, with a proud history of struggle and a clear political theory of the NDR and its relationship to the struggle for socialism. We have a programmatic perspective grounded in advancing the interests of the workers and the poor. COSATU is the largest trade union federation, progressive in its orientation, with a proud history of militant struggle for the workers and embracing the NDR and the struggle for socialism.

What do we mean when we say that we should see our relationship as a strategic relationship? Put simply, the future and fate of South Africa's working class lies with this relationship. The struggle for socialism is entirely dependent on this relationship. Without understanding the strategic nature of this relationship and consciously giving it this strategic purpose and thrust, the future of the working class, the NDR and indeed socialism is at stake.

Were Lenin writing in South Africa in 2003 what he said in 1900, he would have added that for South Africa, the primary strategic relationship for the future of the working class lies in deepening and consolidating the strategic relationship between the SACP and COSATU.

How should the strategic nature of this relationship manifest itself?

  • The foundation for the strategic nature of this relationship must derive from a proper grasp and concrete campaigns around the programmatic slogan of socialism is the future build it now
  • The public sector as the basis of our growth and development strategies, and a programmatic platform from which to engage private capital
  • An overarching state led industrial strategy, driving an accumulation regime beneficial to the overwhelming majority of our people
  • Harmonising and co-ordinating existing working class campaigns on jobs and poverty eradication, transformation of the financial sector in favour of the workers and the poor, a comprehensive social security system, building a progressive working class led women's movement, fighting against HIV/AIDS and effective worker participation in ANC and SACP structures
  • The strategy and tactics of the working class in the NDR and transition to socialism must emerge from the programmes and the strategic thrust of the relationship between our two formations!

To pose our relationship in this way is not to elevate it above that of the ANC as the leader of the Alliance. Part of the strategic purpose of our relationship is precisely aimed at strengthening the working class bias of the ANC as the leader of the Alliance and government.

There is also a dialectical relationship between the strategic nature of our two formations and the leading role of the ANC in this period. It is only under an ANC led Alliance, an ANC which safeguards its working class bias, that creates the most favourable conditions for a working class led NDR and the struggle for socialism. Conversely, it is the strategic relationship of the SACP and COSATU that provides the locomotive for the NDR and an ANC with a working class bias. However what holds together this dialectic and the Alliance as a whole is an independent, politically conscious working class capable of acting as a motive force.



It is from the above perspectives that we should approach the fundamental question of building and strengthening the Alliance. But it is critical that as the working class we also take a step back and look critically at our Alliance and the class context within which it operates. It is indeed possible that we are correctly, but mechanically, asserting the need for Alliance unity, without a simultaneous and on-going analysis of the changing subjective and objective terrain within which the Alliance is operating today.

We need to remind ourselves that our alliance is fundamentally a class alliance, and it is not a love affair! We have tended to regard the alliance principally and almost exclusively as an alliance of organisations, somewhat losing sight of the class basis and composition of that alliance.

Our alliance is fundamentally a class alliance of the black, mainly African, working class and the broader mass of urban and rural poor and marginalised, a black petty bourgeoisie, progressive nationalists, the black middle class and an emergent black bourgeoisie. Clearly our government policies have benefited, in one way or the other, all these class forces and strata. But at the same time, some of the government policies may be a threat to the working class or even to the sections of the middle strata and the emergent bourgeoisie.

Given a hostile global terrain and the impact of imperialist and neo-liberal policies, as well as the emergence of new class interests within the ranks of the Alliance and society in general, there are bound to be new contradictions that emerge. For instance the current growth path and accumulation regime is on the whole against the consolidation of the interests of the working class, and arguably sections of the black petit and middle strata. We need to constantly analyse the class trajectory of the accumulation regime underway, and the manner in which it is impacting on the nature of the alliance, and how we should seek to respond collectively to it. Objectively speaking the interests of the working class and the black sections of the bourgeoisie still coincide and diverge at the same time.

In this context there are two immediate dangers to our Alliance. The one comes from the extreme, sectarian and opportunistic left which seeks to exploit some of the objective constraints deriving from the apartheid legacy, and some of the subjective weaknesses of our own formations. This is the opportunistic extreme left which seeks to transform COSATU into a political party. It is still very weak and seeks to hijack some of our unions, like the case of CEPPAWU in the Wits region. If we do not watch this sectarian left closely it may grow.

On the other hand there is a rightist opportunistic tendency - as manifested by its offensive last year against the SACP and COSATU as controlled by an ultra-left. It circulated a highly sectarian and defeatist paper, using the language of Marxism-Leninism, with a deliberate objective of creating strains in the Alliance. Interestingly the very ANC structures and those of the Alliance defeated this offensive. An important lesson we must learn from this is that it is urgent that we build the strength of the Alliance from below.

Opportunistically using the language of the socialist left - Marxism-Leninism - this attack on the "ultra-left" is nothing but an attempt to initially dislodge the dominance of the ideology of the socialist left within our movement. We must understand this attack for what it is, and our challenge is not to concede even an inch to this offensive, we must expose and combat it in all its manifestations. We will do this, of course, in a firm but disciplined way. Failure to confront this agenda may result in the actual political dislocation of the working class and the socialist left within our movement, which is the ultimate aim of this offensive.

We must defeat both these tendencies. The sure way to do that is to build the Alliance from below, and the working class must take a much more active responsibility to defend and cement the Alliance. We agree with COSATU that workers need to actively participate in ANC and SACP structures. In addition we need to ensure that we create a layer of worker leadership that is conscius about the historical mission of the working class.


Within the context of consolidating and deepening the national democratic revolution, and the emerging medium term vision for the working class, the following are the six key priorities for the working class in the immediate future:

6.1 Implementation of the Growth and Development Summit resolutions

Whilst the GDS resolutions do not meet the working class objective of an overarching state led industrial strategy, it nevertheless is an important advance in the following manner:

  • It marks an important shift from a growth and development strategy premised on privatisation, liberalisation and attraction of FDI as the principal locomotive for a growth path
  • Instead it is premised on mobilisation of domestic resources from the financial sector, domestic investible income, increased investment in infrastructure, expanded public works programmes and the building of co-operatives to harness the energies and economic creativity of the ordinary mass of our people. This is a very important shift from some of the GEAR assumptions.
  • It potentially rolls back the notion that there is only one corner that has all the wisdom about how to grow and develop our economy, and a recognition of the need to mobilise the wisdom and organisational muscle of all our people in order to achieve a radically different growth path. Most importantly a recognition, even if on paper, the importance of the working class and the resources under its control

In this way the GDS resolutions provides the most immediate platform to struggle for an accumulation regime in favour of the workers and the poor. However the working class needs to mobilise to ensure that it drives the implementation of these resolutions. In particular, focus should be on the following:

  • Driving convening of sectoral summits towards concrete measure for job creation
  • Building of a co-operative movement
  • The building of a progressive savings and credit co-operative movement to fight against the high indebtedness of the working class to omashonisa
  • Struggling for worker's control of retirement funds
  • Deepening the struggles in the financial sector, and building on the achievements made thus far
  • Campaigning for labour intensive approaches in the formal sector
  • Driving a public works programme through infrastructure investment
  • Energetically taking up BEE to ensure that concrete measures are developed for the benefit of the mass of our people, rather than an elite. This also calls for an intense and conscious ideological offensive against attempts to hijack BEE only to benefit a small elite

6.2 Building a caring South African nation based on social solidarity and upliftment of the majority of our people

It is important that the working class be in the forefront of the struggles to address the national question. The national question cannot be effectively addressed unless its class content is properly understood and addressed, just as we need to address the national content of the class question. There is a very real danger that as our transition unfolds, emphasis tends to be placed on the national question devoid of its class content. It is only a politically conscious working class, with independent power that is best capable to lead the struggle to address the national question.

In this respect the working class needs to contest and seek to give direct ion to the moral values upon which the emerging new South African nation is based. This concretely means rolling back the capitalist market, unflinchingly promoting non-racialism and non-sexism, fight corruption and elitism and the "dog-eat-dog" mentalily of capitalism and promote values of social solidarity and upliftment of the overwhelming majority of our people. These values need to be reflected in all sectors of society and is the only platform on which to address the national question. This means the working class being in the forefront of protecting our national sovereignty and in the moral regeneration movement.

6.3 New forms of working class organisation

In the light of informalisation, casualisation and stratification of the working class, we need to creatively think about new forms of organising workers. This means new strategies to organise informal sector workers, casual workers, hawkers and a whole range of the new layers of the working class created by the neo-liberal restructuring of the economy. Amongst other things this means creating advice offices, building a co-operative movement, organising new workers through their sites of struggles for sustainable livelihoods - in stokvels, burial societies and other arenas where the informalised, retrenched and casualised working class is to be found. This is where we should concretely seek to merge struggles for jobs with some of the areas that our Party has been organising in.

We feel that whilst the labour movement is acutely aware of these challenges there has not been adequate discussion of new ways to organise the vulnerable and peripheralised workers in our country.

6.4 Deepening and systematising internationalist and solidarity work

This is a critical area that needs to be addressed as outlined above, prioritising solidarity in the African continent and the South.

6.5 ANC victory in the 2004 elections

This constitutes the most immediate priority for the working class and the national democratic revolution as a whole. Workers of our country in general need to ensure an overwhelming majority for the ANC in the elections next year. As workers, it is in our deepest interest to return the ANC government overwhelmingly. The ANC is the best placed organisation to take forward transformation in our country, and the only government best capable of addressing the interests of the overwhelming majority of our people.

It is also important that as a matter of urgency we ensure that workers fully participate in all the ANC election structures. We must also ensure that we participate in the drafting of the election manifesto and ensure that the interests of workers are prominent. The immediate task however is to throw our weight behind the ID campaign. It would be crucial that this Congress adopts specific resolutions on how COSATU is going to be part of this important electoral effort.

There are additional challenges facing our unions in relation to the election campaign. We need to ensure that we reach out to the millions of workers to ensure that they come out and vote. Particular attention needs to paid to the urban African working class, particularly in areas like Durban and Pietermaritzburg in order to ensure that we win that province. Part of the problem is that our people in these areas have in the past not come out in the numbers we need. What is the role of COSATU in this regard?

Another key challenge is that of focusing on the Coloured working class in the Western Cape. If COSATU and its affiliates throw their full weight behind this effort, our job will be half done in the Western Cape.

An important challenge however is that as we draw up the ANC election manifesto we need to ensure that we begin to draw up a joint Alliance programme to make sure that the implementation of the manifesto is driven collectively. We should see the election campaign itself as part of building the Alliance. This will overcome the problem of tensions that sometimes arise out of the interpretation of the implementation of the manifesto. This is also important in order to ensure that joint Alliance work does not only happen during the election campaign and not after it.

Let us get down to work to ensure a convincing victory for the ANC next year!

6.6 Forward to Workers' Co-operative Bank and Worker-Controlled Retirement Funds!

When the SACP spoke at your last Congress, it was a few weeks before we launched the Campaign to Make Banks Serve the People. Since then we have witnessed the holding of the NEDLAC Financial Sector Summit in August 2002, the publication of draft regulations to govern Credit Bureaus, the discussion by cabinet of a new Co-operatives' Bill and Community Reinvestment Legislation, initiatives by some banks to introduce a charge-free banking card for recipients of welfare grants, the Financial Services Charter, the AVBOB announcement to remove HIV/AIDS discrimination in its funeral insurance policies, and other important developments. But these developments are not about to change the capitalist character of the financial sector in our country.

The campaign has reached a stage where workers must use their organisational and financial muscle to create worker-owned and worker-controlled financial institutions. We are calling for the formation of savings and credit co-operatives as an important step towards a workers' co-operative bank, providing savings and affordable credit and other services to the workers of our country. As the SACP we are launching the Dora Tamana Savings and Credit Co-operative in October this year.

As the working class, we are already controlling billions of rands through our stokvels, burial societies and retirement funds. Let us ensure that this 8th COSATU Congress passes resolutions to ensure worker control of all retirement funds as part of defeating the mashonisas, private commercial banks, and rolling back business unionism and unilateral control of workers' funds by un-elected and unaccountable asset managers. We call upon all COSATU affiliates to encourage members to form their own savings and credit co-operatives as part of this overall offensive to build the financial muscle of the working class. We are also calling on this COSATU Congress to resolve to build a vibrant, democratic, popular, progressive and independent co-operative movement.

Further, the struggle for workers' control of retirement funds, for the building of SACCOs and a Workers' Co-operative Bank is a clear rejection of the call by sections of business for workers' pension, provident and other savings to be used to promote narrow black elite economic empowerment and to incentivise narrow transformation for the benefit of the Brenthurst group and their cronies.

Finally, we call on COSATU to join us in taking the banks campaign to a higher level by paying attention to the following:

  • Mass pressure on banks against continuing redlining and for the enactment of community reinvestment legislation
  • Ensuring that the boardroom-negotiated Financial Services Charter does not promote narrow black elite economic empowerment
  • Mobilising for a People's Financial Charter
  • Implementation of Regulations to govern Credit Bureaux
  • Mobilisation against HIV/AIDS discrimination in the financial sector as a whole

Crosscutting our work in the above priorities should be deepening ideological work and cadre development, gender transformation and building a women's movement and the struggle to defeat the HIV/AIDS pandemic

With these words we wish you a successful Congress!


The August meeting of the SACP Central Committee decided that the 2003 Red October Campaign will focus on:

  • mobilisation of vulnerable workers (farm workers and domestic workers in the main, and to a lesser extent, un-unionised workers in SMMEs)
  • assessment of service delivery, in particular free basic services (water, electricity and sanitation) by municipalities to poor and working class communities (townships, inner cities, rural villages and informal settlements)
  • social security registration picking up from the 2002 Red October experience.
  • ID campaign

The CC stressed that where possible these focal points must be integrated as part of launching SACP work on the elections campaign.

Farm workers

Activities will include:

  • Leaflet/poster blitzes and farm visits
  • At least 1 mass meeting with farm workers per province to focus on:
    • Education and information on rights of farm workers in terms of the constitution, labour law and the sectoral determination on wages and working conditions of farm workers
    • Reporting and processing of individual worker cases through the Department of Labour
  • National SACP focus on the case of ZZ2 workers in the Limpopo province

Other Vulnerable Workers

Activities will include:

  • Leaflet/poster blitzes and door to door work
  • At least 1 mass meeting with domestic workers per district to focus on:
    • Education and information on rights of workers in terms of the constitution, labour law and the sectoral determination on wages and working conditions of domestic workers
    • Mobilising workers to join trade unions
  • Reporting and processing of individual worker cases through the Department of Labour, advice offices and trade unions

Service Delivery

Activities will include organisation of community meetings with ward councillors and councillors on service delivery issues; door-to-door visits looking at problems of service delivery (cut-offs, high bills, indigent families, etc).

During the 2002 Red October focus on social security registration, the problem of IDs was reported on many occasions. This must be taken up during this year?s campaign.

The campaign must also include a focus on the debit order campaign and building of SACP workplace structures.

ID Campaign and Social Security

Learning from the 2002 Red October Campaign, activities will include:

  • door-to-door visits, community meetings and factory lunch-hour meetings, and visit pension pay-out points, and Social Development and Home Affairs offices.
  • Making communities aware of their social security rights.
  • Assisting, where possible, those who need help.
  • Listening to problems, and identify issues that must be addressed.


During the 2003 Red October Campaign, the SACP will launch the Dora Tamana Savings and Credit Co-operative (DTSACCO) as a new initiative to form a primary savings and credit co-operative providing comprehensive savings, credit and basic insurance products to its members at reasonable interest rates.

Since October 2000, our Party has led a campaign to transform and diversify the financial sector in our country. One of the central demands in this campaign is the building of a co-operative banks in our country.

Through the DTSACCO initiative, the SACP is making a clear statement that nothing less than purpose-built legislation and other supportive measures are required to create a conducive environment for the promotion of co-operative banking. SACCOs are not co-operative banks, but a foundation of co-operative banks. This is why we need tailor-made legislation for these, and not exemption from the Banks Act.

Like other SACCOs, the DTSACCO will be a democratic, unique member-driven, self-help, not-for-profit financial services co-operative. It will be owned and governed by members who share a common bond.

Advantages of the DTSACCO

The DTSACCO will offer the following advantages to its members:

  • Members will collectively mobilise savings outside of the exploitative private commercial financial system.
  • Providing savings and loans that are generally better than rates given by private commercial institutions.
  • Encouraging members to save through various products. Savings is important for asset accumulation and economic empowerment.
  • Educating members in financial matters by teaching prudent handling of money, how to keep track of finances, how to budget and why to keep away from hire purchases and loan sharks.

Even though the DTSACCO is initiated by our Party, primarily for its members, it will be an independent organisation from Party structures, and will be controlled by its members, with its own board democratically and directly elected by DTSACCO members.

Products and Services

Initially, the DTSACCO will provide the following products to its members:

  • Savings (Regular Savings, Special Savings, Fixed Deposits)
  • Loans
  • Funeral Insurance
  • Life and Loans Insurance
  • Fixed Deposits

These will be offered on competitive rates and terms. In the future, the DTSACCO will explore other financial and banking services and products.


The DTSACCO is open to SACP members. The common bond for DTSACCO members is their membership of the SACP.

The Founding Meeting of the DTSACCO will be held in Johannesburg during the Red October Campaign. This will require a minimum of 200 founding members.


Mazibuko Kanyiso Jara

Department of Media, Information and Publicity South African Communist Party

Tel ? 011 339 3621;
Fax ? 011 339 4244
Cell ? 072 275 4723

P.O. Box 1027, Johannesburg, 2000

Email ? mazibuko@sacp.org.za