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Bua Komanisi Volume 3 - Issue 2 - August 2003

Forward to the 5th Plenary Session of the 11th Congress Central Committee: Preparing for a massive ANC victory in the 2004 elections!

Contents

The 11th Congress Central Committee (CC) will hold its fifth plenary sessions on 15 and 16 August 2003. This Bua Komanisi provides an outline of the key discussions that the CC will hold.

As per decision of the SACP Political Bureau meeting (held on 25 July), this is to invite SACP branches, districts, provinces and members of the CC to use the next two weeks (1 to 14 August) to discuss and debate these issues in advance of the CC in order to better prepare CC members, provincial secretaries and chairpersons who will attend the CC meeting.

The next Bua Komanisi will provide a summary of the decisions that the CC will take in this August meeting.



Agenda of the 5th Plenary Session of the 11th Congress Central Committee

The agenda for the fifth plenary session of the 11th Congress Central Committee of he South African Communist Party (SACP) will include the following items:

  • Political Report by the SACP Secretariat
  • The State of the Labour Movement and Challenges facing the 8th COSATU Congress: Input by COSATU
  • The SACP and the 2004 Elections
  • Launch of the Dora Tamana Savings and Credit Co-operative
  • Restructuring Umsebenzi into an Umsebenzi Newspaper Co-operative
  • Activity Report of the year to date
  • State of the Organisation Report
  • Report on the Re-establishment of the Young Communist League

The outline of the Political Report of the SACP Secretariat is contained below.

State of the Labour Movement

The envisaged input to the CC by COSATU on the state of the labour movement and challenges facing the 8th COSATU Congress will provide the basis for the CC to elaborate the practical programme and work that the SACP must undertake in discharging its political and ideological responsibility to the labour movement.

The 8th COSATU Congress will be held from 15 to 18 September in Midrand.

Report and Statement of the CC

At the end of the CC meeting, the CC will also hold a press briefing and release a public statement in order to provide a comprehensive summary of the major political discussions and decisions.

Following this CC plenary session, a report of the CC meeting, with relevant CC documents, must be discussed in meetings of branches, districts and provinces which will follow the CC meeting.

This August meeting is the second last meeting for the year 2003. The next plenary session of the CC is scheduled to be held from 14 to 16 November.


Outline of Political Report of the SACP Secretariat

The main focus of the Political Report of the SACP Secretariat will be on the civic movement and other social movements with special attention paid to the question of the mobilisation of women for sustainable livelihoods and the building of a progressive women?s movement. The Political Report will identify the tasks of the Party with regard to these issues and it will seek to locate these tasks within the framework of the SACP?s Medium Term Vision discussed in the fourth plenary session of the CC (see Bua Komanisi, July 2003 issue, Volume 3, Issue 1).

In other words, the thrust of the political report will be on developing a strategic approach of Party work amongst the masses, and immediately locating this within the context of the forthcoming elections.

Civic and Social Movements

Issues related to the state of the civic and other social movements in our country and challenges for the SACP were raised in the third and fourth plenary sessions of the CC held in February and May 2003 respectively.

In February, the CC noted the significant social movement ground-swell in our country, and that some (not all) of its mobilisation and campaigning has assumed an anti-ANC/government character and the possible electoral ambitions harboured by some of the more sectarian left forces within this process. The CC made the broad observation that the key task of the Party in this regard is to engage social movements constructively and seriously, while reversing sectarianism.

The CC noted that the space that sectarianism is seeking to occupy is often space abandoned by the alliance itself. Ultra-left sectarianism poses a potential long-term danger if we, as the movement, do not address ourselves to the issues taken up by progressive social movements. That is why it is important for the SACP, and indeed the ANC itself, to develop independent linkages and influence with these formations, indeed many of these social movements have our own members in both grass-roots and leadership positions.

Mobilisation of Women

The Political Report intends to take forward the debate and programmatic approach to the question of a progressive women?s movement and transformation of gender relations.

Some issues that the political report will put up for consideration are:

  • The two distinct but deeply inter-linked issues of a ?progressive women?s movement? and transformation of gender relations have been on the agenda of the Party and our movement for a while, and we need to find ways of concretely taking these forward in a much more programmatic and systematic manner.
  • The state of the ANC Women?s League and the need for a strong women?s movement beyond just the ANCWL. The very prospects and opportunity to rebuild the ANCWL now require strong and strategic participation of working class women in this process, and the Party has an important role to play
  • Whilst the struggle for the transformation of gender relations is not a matter exclusively for women, but a progressive women?s movement is a critical vehicle for transforming gender relations in society.
  • As the SACP we have been debating some of the best ways of taking forward the struggle for gender transformation both inside the Party and in wider society. One of the ?dilemmas? we have identified in the past is that of taking up gender struggles in a distinct way but without ghettoizing it or seeking to integrate it into our campaigns, without at the same time marginalising or submerging the issue.

At this stage, it seems that the best way to inject urgency into this matter is that of organising women within the context of our existing campaigns e.g. organising women around their needs in the financial sector, women and co-ops, provision of basic services and local governance. And it should be within this framework, of our already existing programmes and campaigns, that we pose the question of gender transformation. This would help to tackle these questions in a much more systematic manner and begin to organise women and mobilise for gender transformation, in a much more concrete and realistic manner. Whilst our campaigns do not remotely take up or exhaust the much broader and deeper question of gender transformation, but these would give us an anchor and a start. In fact we have a lot to learn from the women?s anti-pass campaigns of the 1950s, where the issue of passes was affecting both black men and women, but women found a niche to raise this question from the standpoint of women, thus not ghettoising women?s interests in the campaign, but at the same time taking up distinctly women?s issues within that campaign.

In this way we concretely contribute to building a progressive, working class led women?s movement, and hopefully lay a basis for building the women?s league from below, on the basis of very real issues that affect ordinary women on a daily basis. It is also in this way that women can directly impact on our campaigns, thus providing an important impetus towards gender transformation ? but gender transformation struggles rooted in real, rather than abstract, issues.


The SACP and the 2004 Elections

The May CC meeting located its discussion of the SACP approach to the 2004 elections within a broader political framework of evaluating the first decade of freedom as well as planning ahead for the second decade of freedom. The CC concluded that such an approach will assist us in identifying priorities for the elections and the kinds of political, economic and programmatic outcomes needed during and after the election.

Therefore the SACP strategy for the elections must, in the context of the ANC election campaign and strategy, be based on the SACP analysis of the first decade of freedom and programmatic objectives for the second decade of freedom as contained in the ?Medium-Term Vision. Key in this must be laying the basis for a decisive and qualitative impact in political, mass and economic sites of power with significant input and centrally taking into account working class interests. Thus the need for a focus on changing the accumulation regime through economic growth and development, extending the public sector, strengthening of a national democratic state and service delivery.

Central in all of this must be a clear SACP voice and message during the elections on critiquing private capital regarding retrenchments, no job creation, low investment and undermining of labour rights.

Key objectives for the SACP in the elections campaign are:

  • Our overriding goal is an overwhelming ANC victory
  • Using elections to build stronger Party and Alliance structures
  • Qualitative and quantitative impact of working class perspectives and interests on elections
  • The issue of an Alliance approach and programme of implementation of the manifesto after the election, in order to minimise tensions and conflicts over interpretation of meaning of manifesto and implications for its implementation. Related to this is the question of maintaining some of the election campaign momentum and alliance structures for purposes of implementation of manifesto and joint alliance programme
  • Qualitative and quantitative presence of communists in the legislatures, and identification of key cadres that should strategically be deployed to the legislatures, nationally and in the provinces
  • Roles, responsibilities and accountability of ANC public representatives who are communists - This provides a further opportunity for the Party to reflect and tighten this relationship and refine our strategic approach towards ensuring that such public representatives are able to be effectively deployed for Party work and strengthening our policy capacity. This discussion should be related to our medium-term vision, sectoral units and Party Discussion Forums
  • Mobilisation of our structures for the election and fundraising strategy for the Party to meaningfully participate in the election campaign.
  • The question of themes and issues to be raised by the SACP as its campaign message: distinct yet part of the overall ANC message.

What are other key strategic issues for the SACP in the forthcoming election? What specific activities should the SACP hold as part of the elections campaign? How should the Red October campaign be integrated into the election campaign?

Issues for the Manifesto

What must be the working class imprint on the ANC Election Manifesto?

The agreement reached Growth and Development Summit is an important achievement which provides the alliance with a common platform from which to approach the 2004 elections in general and the manifesto in particular. For the SACP, the GDS agreement is important because of its focus on the mobilisation of domestic resources as a platform for economic growth and development, and a basis for mobilising Foreign Direct Investment. This is an important strategic shift in line with SACP growth and development perspectives we have been advocating since 1999.

It is not given that the GDS agreement will change the accumulation path. The implementation of the GDS agreement can be used by working class and popular forces to lay the basis for changing the current accumulation path. This will require sustainable and popular mobilisation and initiative through co-operatives, financial sector transformation including an increased focus on retirement funds and general mobilisation of the working class to drive this process.

The GDS Agreement has not resolved the need for an over-arching industrial strategy and appropriate macro-economic policy.

Given the brief analysis above, for the election manifesto, the ANC should be in a position to communicate the following messages and commitments:

  • What the GDS agreement means for economic growth and development, job creation and delivery of infrastructure - with an emphasis on mobilisation of domestic resources
  • The importance of popular mobilisation in implementation of the GDS agreement (co-operatives in the main)
  • The defence, strengthening and extension of the public sector as a an efficient service-provider and locomotive for economic growth and development
  • Strengthening of the Alliance and Implementation of a Joint Alliance Programme of Action after the elections
  • Is it possible to deliver free education for the first four years of primary school? This can be linked to the expansion of the social wage most likely to have maximum positive impact on the poor including low-paid workers.
  • Is it possible to deliver free basic services to all public schools?
  • What issue can be included in the manifesto from the banks campaign? What can the manifesto say about ordinary people and workers having a say over their money in the financial sector? The manifesto could say something about legislation for co-operatives, legislation and other support for co-operative banks, and legislation on worker control of retirement funds.
  • What other social development and policy issues can be included in the manifesto?

Red October

Several proposals have been received on the 2003 Red October campaign. These proposals suggest the following focal points:

  • a focus and 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

Is it possible to take up all these focal points during the Red October Campaign? Is it possible to weld together all these focal points as part of launching SACP work on the elections campaign? Given the diverse range of issues proposed for this year's Red October, is it possible to have different focus points for certain provinces?

Regarding the issue of delivery of services by municipalities, what are the activities that SACP structures must undertake on the ground? What about 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. How should this be taken forward in the 2003 Red October campaign?

How should the debit order campaign and building of SACP workplace structures be part of the Red October campaign?

In sections below, it is also proposed that the Red October campaign must be used to launch the Dora Tamana Savings and Credit Co-operative and Umsebenzi as a newspaper co-operative.

Organised Workers

How should the SACP reach out to organised workers during the election campaign? What are the key issues and concerns of organised workers that the SACP must address in its political work during the elections campaign?

What is the relevance of the GDS and a worker-led implementation of the GDS agreement as part of the SACP message to organised workers and other sections of the working class? Other important messages that the SACP should include are the building of the SACP by workers, building the alliance, building the ANC, workers' rights and the need for worker mobilisation around economic transformation (co-ops, workplace democracy, etc).

How should the debit order campaign and building of SACP workplace structures be part of the elections campaign throughout the duration of the campaign?

It is also proposed that the SACP must use the campaign to build Umsebenzi as a workers' co-operative newspaper (see section below).

Specific SACP Activities

Is it possible that there are special tasks that the SACP would be better positioned to undertake?

For example, in the aftermath of the massive mobilisation work done in the O.R. Tambo District for the Chris Hani Memorial Rally, it may be useful for the SACP to follow up and target the Mqanduli area which is the UDM's stronghold. The impact of the Chris Hani Memorial Rally helped to give confidence of alliance structures in the area.

Another example could be a systematic SACP focus on urban African workers in Durban and Pietermaritzburg to come and out and vote in numbers. Is it possible for the SACP to exploit new conditions to focus on Coloured workers in the Western Cape?

The work of rebuilding the Young Communist League can also be used in various innovative ways as part of the election campaign.


Activity And State Of The Organisation Reports

The CC meeting in August will receive a detailed Activity and State of Organisation Reports. In outline the Reports will cover the following issues:

  • Review of the Implementation of the 2003 Annual Programme of Action and its focal pillars (Economic Transformation Local Transformation and Co-operatives; Honouring Communist Martyrs, Heroes and Heroines; Deepening the Socialist Outlook, Consciousness and Unity of the Working Class)
  • Functioning and State of SACP Structures (Central Committee, Political Bureau, Central Committee Commissions, Provinces, Districts, Branches and Sectoral Units
  • Cadreship Development Work
  • Staff and Administration issues
  • Finance and Fundraising
  • SACP Media Work
  • International Work
  • Reprioritisation of the Annual Programme
  • Priorities for the 2004 Annual Programme of Action

As part of the Activity Report, the CC will also received a detailed draft Annual Report of the Financial Sector Campaign Coalition which also includes a draft 3-year Programme of Action.


Dora Tamana Savings and Credit Co-Operative: Forward to the Communist Stokvel

The SACP is introducing 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.

The SACP also intends to encourage, mobilise and catalyse trade unions, civil society organisations, religious institutions and other interested players in order that they may also build Savings and Credit Co-operatives. All these must contribute to building a momentum towards the growth and development of a co-operative bank.

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.

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.

Membership

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.


Umsebenzi Newspaper Co-Operative

Given the structure, content and ownership of SA media, the working class must make real the maxim that "the media is too important a tool to leave to the bosses". Today, as in the past there is a need and space for alternative newspapers and journals. The SACP and the liberation movement as a whole has a history of producing, distributing and selling progressive daily newspapers and Journals. These included The Worker, New Age, Guardian, Umsebenzi, etc. There are other examples in other countries of widely circulated, popular and respected progressive daily newspapers.

For these reasons, the CC will debate and decide the recommendation that Umsebenzi must be turned into a newspaper co-operative. For now, the aim is not be to produce a mass newspaper as this has serious financial, operational and other implications. The medium-term intention is to build a sustainable and credible socialist newspaper which offers its readers socialist perspectives on news, current developments, governance, economy, transformation struggles, Africa, the global situation, culture, sports, arts and so on.

Structure and Operations

Essentially, the Umsebenzi Newspaper Co-operative will grow and consolidate the current Umsebenzi into a co-operative owned by members who join.

At least 1000 SACP members to join the Umsebenzi Newspaper Co-operative as members by paying a non-refundable joining fee and through purchasing shares and thus contributing Membership Share Capital on an annual basis.

Members remain equal following the principle of 1 member, 1 vote irrespective of the number of shares bought.

This has the following advantages:

  • Mobilisation of capital from members who will contribute membership share capital
  • Expanding the pool of minds that
  • Giving a democratic structure and voice to an alternative newspaper
  • Making a significant layer of workers to own and control a newspaper

In addition to individual members, SACP branches and COSATU locals should be allowed to join as a structure.

Umsebenzi as an SACP Organ

By growing and consolidating the current Umsebenzi into a Co-operative, the editorial control of Umsebenzi as the SACP's historical organ will not be undermined.

The Constitution of the Umsebenzi Newspaper Co-operative must ensure that all members of the Umsebenzi Newspaper Co-operative are SACP members except for associate members.


Key Dates for the Next 5 Months

  • District Councils: 2-3 August, 6-7 September, 4-5 October
  • Pec Meetings: 28-29 June, 26-27 July, 30-31 August, 27-28 September, 25-26 Octobr, 22-23 November
  • Provincial Councils: 23-24 August, 29-30 November
  • Central Committee: 15-17 August, 14-16 November
  • Ycl National Consultative Conference -
  • Anc Nec Meetings: 18-20 July, 12-14 September, 28-30 November
  • Cosatu: Regional Congresses (19-20 July, 26-27 July), 8th Congress (15-18 September), Cec (18-20 November)

CONTACT

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
Website - www.sacp.org.za

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