Bua Komanisi Volume 2 - Issue 2 - March 2002
The 11th Congress of the SACP
The 11th Congress of the SACP will be held from 24 to 28 July in Johannesburg. The 11th Congress will be an opportunity for the SACP membership to debate and enhance our ongoing political programme. This Congress will stimulate wider debate and discussion, not least in an evolving global situation in which the erstwhile triumphalism of neo-liberalism is more and more challenged by a wide range of forces.
The 11th Congress?s central aim is to assess the emerging political economy and its attendant class and social formation and the correlation/balance of class forces. We need to take forward the theme of building people?s power. We must base this on an assessment of the international imperialist political economy, international working class struggles, the international balance of forces and their correlation to our revolution. In this way, the 11th Congress will take forward our conceptualisation of, and political programme for the transition to socialism in South Africa. Based on these political tasks, the 11th Congress will also contribute to the development of a Party Building Strategy.
The Congress will focus on building people?s power, building a people?s economy, building the party, the transition to socialism, the international working class struggle against imperialism, the SACP programme captured in ?Socialism is the Future ? Build it Now? and ?Build People?s Power ? Build Socialism Now?.
The CC has issued discussion notes based on the 10th Congress Political Programme for discussion in all SACP structures. These notes are designed to facilitate SACP workshops and commissions in the run-up to our 11th Congress. Comrades, of course, are free to add their own questions and concerns. The end product should be a revised and Draft Political Programme of the SACP for adoption by the 11th Congress. Comrades should first read the 10th Congress Programme (the 1998 Build People?s Power ? Build Socialism Now! Programme). The Draft Political Programme will also include a new chapter on the Strategy and Tactics of the SACP in the NDR.
The CC has also commissioned further discussion papers on Socialism and Gender Equality, Youth and Socialism, A Party Building Strategy, and an SACP Programme and Policy Document on HIV/AIDS.
The CC invites all SACP cadres and structures, our alliance partners, workers, poor people, the unemployed, progressive civil society and the country as a whole to use the build-up to the 11th Congress to deepen the unity and programme of the Party and advance working class confidence as a basis for consolidating the NDR and laying the basis for a transition to socialism.
This section seeks to facilitate discussion on the SACP?s approach to the NDR adopted at the 10th Congress. Essentially, the aim is to consider how adequate is the approach adopted at our 1998 Congress for the present? What new issues should be included in the 1998 NDR document? What implications would any changes introduced have for our programme of action? The November 2001 CC meeting also raised the following issues:
the NDR since 1998
the changing relationship between class, race and gender
deepening the NDR on a terrain of capitalism
class and social formation since 1998 including the changing social composition and restructuring of the working class
the working class as the motive force of the NDR and what this means in the current context
building the political cohesion and confidence of the working class
Among the key issues raised in the 10th Congress Programme are the need to advance the NDR, the character of the NDR, assessing the present conjuncture, social and class realities of SA, threats to the NDR and the NDR as thorough-going transformation. The key points raised are briefly summarised below.
Need to Advance the NDR
April 1994 represented a "democratic breakthrough that qualitatively shifted the balance of forces in favour of the mass of the people and placed the NDR on a new plane". This "strategic defeat opened up the possibilities for a block of forces, led by the ANC, to establish bridge-heads into political power. However, as much as this electoral victory advanced the goals of the NDR, it did not signal the completion of the tasks facing the national liberation movement". It is clear that "advancing, deepening and defending the NDR would involve a protracted struggle". The unfavourable international climate, the legacy of apartheid and the activities of a "range of minority class and other social forces" to defend their apartheid privileges are referred to in this regard.
Character of NDR
"The main strategic objective of the NDR, the overcoming of the legacy of centuries of colonial and decades of special colonial oppression, has to be addressed in the context of overcoming the national, class and gender contradictions in their relationship to each other. It is within this strategic framework that the deepening of the revolution should be approached by our Party".
"We must guard against a mechanical, stageist approach to these interconnected challenges. We must reject attempts to confine the present phase of the NDR to a simple ?deracialisation? of capitalism, which seeks to postpone working class struggle against capitalism to some distant ?second stage?. " It is not simply the ?equitable? sharing of some economic privileges to a new elite that is required. The thorough-going transformation of economic power relations has to be undertaken within the context of the NDR itself. The deracialisation of board-rooms and of the management function can only be justified if it is part and parcel of this broader transformation programme".
The document stresses the "importance of consciously combating patriarchy as a necessary component of mobilising and strengthening the working class as a political class for itself. In fact, the working class cannot be raised to the level of a political class for itself, without at the same time consciously challenging patriarchal attitudes and practices within this class. The relationship between national (or gender) oppression and class exploitation is not a relationship of ?form? to ?content?. National and gender oppression are not merely formal, they are all too real in themselves. They have a history, they are institutionalised, and they have a relative autonomy from class exploitation. The one cannot simply be collapsed or explained by the other."
Assessing the Present Conjuncture
The achievements discussed include Political democratisation; Peace and Stability; Socio-economic transformation (including Major infrastructural programmes, Health- care, Land reform and land restitution), The transformation of the labour market, Women?s emancipation and Educational transformation.
The strategic shortcomings identified include misunderstanding our location within global realities, macro-economic policy, lack of consistency in building a strong developmental state, and the tendency to demobilise the mass popular movement.
Social and Class Realities of South Africa
"South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world. The inequalities in our society correspond largely (but not exclusively) to race." The document points to the "acceleration of inequalities among the African population". "This has to be understood against the background of the creation of a Bantustan elite, rapid promotion in the 1990s of tens of thousands of African professionals and the rise of a small but not insignificant bourgeoisie and capitalist restructuring of the work-force and the growth of unemployment". The SACP has noted elsewhere a growing change in the social composition of the working class itself.
"It is on the terrain of these still highly racialised and gendered but nonetheless shifting, class and social realities, that a variety of political formations and agendas are seeking to shape the post-1994 South African reality."
Threats to National Democratic Transformation
A counter-revolutionary threat?Constitutional opposition forces:Capital?s attempt to transform the liberation movement and to re-define the trajectory of change:
The NDR transformation as a thorough-going revolutionary transformation under the hegemonic leadership of the workers and the poor
"This is a fundamental transformation consistent with the struggle for socialism. It must be led by the working class, which should not, however, isolate itself into a narrow syndicalism or workerism. It must draw to its side the great majority of youth, students and professionals, managers in the public and private sector, and even endeavour to provide leadership to the bourgeoisie. The organisational means for ensuring the simultaneous class-conscious organisation of workers and the broadening of their class agenda to embrace the whole of society, necessitates working class, socialist formations (the SACP and COSATU) ? and, of course, an increasing strategic unity among them; as well as a broad liberation movement, the ANC, and a range of mass and community-based formations; and class conscious activity form within the state, as well as within broader civil society"
"Working class hegemony in all of these organisational and institutional sites cannot be taken for granted, it needs to be constantly fostered, organised and struggled for. We are engaged in a massive historical struggle to transform our society, on the terrain of an unfolding NDR, from a society based on the logic of private profit, to a society based on social need. Critical for the success of all of this are clear sectoral programmatic perspectives?."
Further Developing our Approach to the NDR
Having briefly summarised the key points from the 1oth Congress Programme on the NDR, we now pose issues and questions for consideration by the 11th Congress. Do we need to further develop or refine our conception of NDR? If so, how?
In what senses can we characterise the current transition as part of an unfolding NDR and how is it specifically different from a capitalist society?
What are the key events and processes that have unfolded since our 10th Congress and how do they impact on our characterisation of the transition? What are the relative strengths of the two approaches to the NDR identified in our 10th Congress ? the "deracialised capitalism" re-definition of the NDR approach as against the through-going revolutionary transformation approach?
Through our active participation in the ANC we seek to influence the ANC?s approach -in theory and practice - to the NDR. In a recent SACP document, we observed that the "NDR programme that binds our Alliance is more than a minimum capitalist programme but is less than socialism. It is less than socialism but is not a capitalist programme". To what extent is this the case in practice? To what extent does the ANC agree with this definition of our NDR programme? Are we in agreement with the ANC?s definition of the NDR? If so, does this mean that the ANC shares a socialist approach to the NDR? If not, in what senses and to what extent do we want to give the ANC-led NDR a more socialist content and what are the implications of this? While the NDR does not seek to eliminate property relations, it does seek to reconfigure property relations. Beyond deracialisation, what does this mean?
Have we theorised adequately the role of gender in the NDR? In conceptualising the interaction of race, class and gender have we integrated the transformation of patriarchal relations adequately in our analysis? It has been noted that national liberation movements in general have tended to downgrade gender in the NDR. This was due partly to theoretical gaps, but more to patriarchal relations in the organisations.
We need an analytical and a broader discussion of where are we in relation to women?s emancipation and gender equality. A Gender Summit, where the gender machinery and the woman?s movement was assessed, was held last year, but the organisations of the Alliance were not central to this.
Who constitutes the ruling class in South Africa today and how does this define the character of the transition? Since 1998 a wider range of classes and strata seem to be defined as the motive forces of the NDR. How is the leadership role of the working class affected by this? What do we see as the significance and role of the "patriotic" Black bourgeoisie? Do we need a more rigorous analysis of the classes and strata that are engaged in the NDR and who among these constitute the motive forces and why?
Since 1998 we have further developed our conception of a national democratic developmental state. We need to endorse this at our 11th Congress, and develop it further, if need be. What are the key issues we should focus on in this respect?
An important issue is whether we need to broaden our focus on reproduction so that we can better deal with the issues of HIV/AIDS, and violence against women and children. We must also develop an organisational policy and programme on these issues. We need too to elaborate our theory on the issues of women, gender and media, religion, culture, tradition and customs.
Assessing the Present Conjuncture
In what senses, if any, is the present period significantly different from the situation in 1998? In what senses has the NDR advanced since 1998 and what have been its shortcomings? Among the relevant issues we might want to consider are: -
The 1999 and 2000 massive electoral victories
The transformation potential of the new local government system
Progress in terms of delivery and development (water, electricity, housing, health care, land restitution, etc), and in particular the provision of free basic services
The remobilisaton of the mass popular movement, partly through the ANC?s "Year of the Volunteer" campaign
The impact of the institutionalising of women?s rights as human rights, and gender mainstreaming, on the mobilisation of black and particularly African working class and poor women
Increasing focus on the need for the moral revitalisation of our society
The need to drastically develop capacity and skills to implement the NDR
Transformation of the civil service
Co-operation with the NNP and IFP
Despite recent improvements, the overall deteriorating relations within the Tripartite Alliance
Low growth and high unemployment
The HIV/AIDS pandemic
The extent of crime (including child rapes)
Despite recent promising developments, continuing failure to secure consensus within the Alliance and significant sections of civil society on economic policies
The emergence of civil society movements alienated from the ANC (HIV/AIDS, anti-crime, land, anti-privatisation and other structures)
Social and Class Realities in South Africa
Has the social and class structure of the country changed significantly since 1998? If so, how? Some issues that might be considered are the emergence of increasing income inequalities in the country, the growth of the African middle class and emergent bourgeoisie, the restructuring of the working class and its changing character, increasing unemployment and the changing class character of the ANC and Alliance. Especially important is the shift of women in the labour force to the informal sector, and the marginalisation of women workers in the industrial sector.
At the upper and lower middle echelons of the economy indications are that black managers constitute only 15% of managers and that no more than 18% of skilled workers are black. What accounts for this? What implications does this have for the NDR?
What are the strata which make up the working class? Broadly, the working class in South Africa today can be said to consist of, at least, the following five strata within itself:
The ?peripheralised? working class principally made up of casual and contract labour in the major sectors of our economy, though concentrated in retail and textile sectors, with the mining sector increasingly employing contract labour. This stratum is on the periphery of the core of the working class. Through casualised and contract labour it does not have some of the benefits and security of full-time employment. Its growth is a direct outcome of casualisation, privatisation, outsourcing and general restructuring that affects the core of the working class. This stratum is increasingly being used as a substitute for permanent employment as well as being available to be used against and to weaken the organisational capacity of the working class as a whole. For example, in a study done by Andrew Levy and Associates covering the period 1994-1998, 68,3% of the companies surveyed, 80,1% of whom were unionised, had outsourced and the majority (90,6%) of workers affected by outsourcing was blue-collar workers. Women are most affected by casualisation. What new organisational challenges are posed by this stratum? What new strategies are required to organise casual workers? What are the implications of potential tensions and competing interests between full-time and casual workers?
A rightless section of the working class located mainly in the countryside as farm-workers, and domestic servants (mainly women in the urban areas). According to SAAPAWU there is an estimated 1 million farm-workers who are unorganised, and there is no organisation of domestic workers of any significance. These workers are ?rightless? and unorganised. They are also amongst the most exploited and underpaid sections of the working class, working long hours with little recourse to trade union protection to advance their rights. Farm-workers are also located in disperse, vast and remote areas. The conditions which this stratum is subjected to is substantively no different to the labour regime under apartheid. Change has passed them by. Again this is an area that requires renewed organisational attention. A systematic focus on the organisation of women will also go a long way in the mobilisation and organisation of this section of the working class.
An informalised working class found in the streets of our major cities, on the sides of the major highways and tourist centres, taxi drivers, as well as thousands who are involved in some kind of self-employed activity, but living from hand to mouth. This stratum of the working class is perhaps one of the most neglected, sometimes even subjected to harsh action, like the hawkers, from some of our very own local councils. As an Alliance we have left this section either completely unorganised or in the hands of reactionary and even counter-revolutionary elements. Our strategy towards this section requires high articulation between the residential and economic forms of organising in this sector. The SACP has a particularly important role in organising this sector, both residentially as well as around their immediate economic needs. How do we programmatically and politically play this role? For example effective organisation of taxi drivers into the revolutionary trade union movement will go a long way in stabilising the taxi industry and the elimination of violence that affect entire working class communities. A large section of retrenched workers also find themselves being thrown into this sector as joblessness increases. How do we use the organisational experiences of retrenched former union members in organising the informalised working class?
workers, who cannot find jobs, some coming in and out of the informal sector and others caught in a deep cycle of structural unemployment. The unemployed are largely concentrated in the periphery of our urban areas, in informal settlements, as well as in the former bantustan areas. They constitute the reserve army of labour that seems to be permanently reserved in the light of growing joblessness and absence of other economic opportunities. In the former bantustans they are under the rule of chiefs, therefore highly susceptible to political manipulation and are vulnerable to patronage. In the informal settlements there is a growing phenomenon of shacklords who carry out all forms of extortion against the unemployed and vulnerable workers who are seeking to retain a place to live closer to potential areas of employment or informal self-employment. It is this section of the working class that is forced to live a parasitic type of a relationship to the main urban economies of our country, thus being highly vulnerable to criminality and all other forms of social ills of society. It is also from this stratum that reactionary forces are seeking to build an alternative power base to the Alliance. Tackling the question of unemployment constitutes the biggest economic challenge of our revolution at this point in time. Residential organisation is the prime form of organising this section of the working class, around developmental initiatives aimed at generating means of livelihood. What other political and organisational challenges are there which are relevant to this section of the working class?
Is the broad analysis of the stratification of the working class correct? What implications does this stratification have for the NDR?
There is another broad social category that we talk about in our country, that of the poor. In order to properly theorise the motive forces of our revolution and develop appropriate organisational strategies, it is important to define what we mean by the ?poor?. This is important in that it is this social category of our society on whose behalf all class forces claim to be speaking and acting. When the bosses call for labour market flexibility they claim to be doing this in the interests of the poor, against the ?selfish? interests of the workers. There is a growing and aggressive attack on organised workers, again in the name of the poor, thus placing the interests of workers as being against the interests of the unemployed and the poor. We therefore should not use this category too loosely, but properly understand as to who constitutes the poor in our country. Indeed part of our problem is that there is no class category known as ?the poor? in Marxism. The poor is sometimes used in a conflated manner to refer to the unemployed or to those caught at the bottom of structural unemployment or the rural people. In fact the poor is to be found in most of the above strata of the working class itself. One feature of globalisation is the growth of the working poor and the general impoverishment of the working class, as a result of privatisation, casualisation, outsourcing, etc. Using the UNDP?s measure of income of less than $1 a day, it is estimated that 57% of South Africa?s population is poor, of which 98% of the poor are African. In addition, we must still analyse the extent of the ?working poor? in South Africa.
Relationship between the NDR and Socialism
Our view that the NDR is not a detour, but the most direct route to socialism in this country remains valid. More recently we have been further refining our conception of this relationship. There will be a separate document on the "Strategy and Tactics of the SACP in the NDR" that deals with these issues and further clarifies the meaning of our slogan "Socialism is the Future! Build it now!" We need to draw on this document. But among the questions we might want to pursue here are how can the NDR be advanced in ways that are consistent with the struggle for socialism within the global and national constraints and taking into account the current balance of forces? What exactly do we mean by the slogan "Socialism is the future! Build it now!"? What are the key preconditions within the NDR for the transition to socialism? Is an eventual socialist transition likely to be led by the SACP in opposition to the ANC or is it likely to be an SACP-inspired but ANC-led socialist transition (the "Cuban" path)? What would be the key features of a future socialist society?
The Tripartite Alliance
How has the Alliance progressed since 1998? Relations seem to be improving recently, but overall the Alliance is facing its most strenuous challenges yet. Clearly, relations within the Alliance need to be drastically improved.
Some of the issues that might need to be discussed include the question of what are the fundamental sources of tensions within the Alliance. How can these tensions be addressed effectively? What should be the nature of SACP-COSATU relations? Is there a possibility that the Alliance might break-up in the foreseeable future, and if so, what are the likely circumstances and implications? While the SACP remains fundamentally committed to the Alliance, would it be appropriate for us to also practically and programmatically take into account the possibility that some time in the future the Alliance may disband?
Implications for an SACP Programme
What implications would any development and refinement of our approach to the NDR have for our programme of action? The programme will be dealt with at the Congress itself ? but we might want to consider this question carefully and contribute to the process of shaping the programme. What would be some of the key issues to focus on in this regard?
The existing international chapter in our July 1998 Programme is divided into four sub-sections: The End of Isolation? Globalisation, Engaging Strategically with Contemporary International Realities and Our Party?s Internationalism. We need to refer to this chapter as we assess the current international situation and its impact on our NDR.
We need to assess how the changing international situation impacts on the NDR. Among the issues are the slowdown in the world economy, the significance of the effects of 11 September, contradictions notwithstanding, the resurgence of an international civil society movement challenging globalisation, the African Renaissance and NEPAD, and increasing integration of Southern Africa.
Some of the current political realities
After a decade of post-Cold War unipolarity, the neo-liberal driven globalisation process has failed to live up to its ideological claims. Instead of endless horizons of growth, development and democratisation for all who aligned themselves with the "Washington Consensus", we have a world beset with grave dangers - irreversible ecological damage, deepening inequality, epidemics (like HIV/AIDS) of unparalleled extent (for recent times), the growing dangers of US military unilateralism and general chauvinism, as the US increasingly seeks to deal through force with the fall-out from deepening global inequality and suffering; and many extremely serious and seemingly intractable regional conflict situations (e.g. Israel/Palestine) that were supposed to have been "merely Cold War proxy" conflicts.
The dramatic revolutionising of the forces of production has restructured the work force ? resulting in high-levels of structural and seemingly permanent unemployment, including in the developed world; the intensification of the oppression of women and girls; desperate flows of working people, millions of economic refugees, moving from underdeveloped societies to developed economies ? many of these flows are "illegal" (the "liberalisation" of markets has never extended to the liberalisation of the labour market), resulting in other negative phenomena, like the trafficking in humans. The SACP has characterised the impact of this process as the simultaneous integration and marginalisation of the African continent and other developing countries to the global capitalist economy. Is this correct? What does this mean?
What should be the SACP perspective on NEPAD and broader challenges facing Africa? While the issue of sustainable development is topical currently, what should be our perspectives on it? Is sustainable development possible under the global capitalist economy? What should be the alternative to the profit-driven destruction of our environment and natural resources?
The struggles in Seattle, Prague, London and many other struggles worldwide by ordinary people against poverty and exploitation are a reflection of a renewed human effort to intensify the struggles against global injustice and the evils of capitalism. How should working class and communist effectively engage and give organised working class expression, direction and leadership over these struggles waged by ordinary people in the streets of the major capitals of the world? How do we effectively insert a socialist agenda to these struggles and the world agenda? What is the role and relevance of consistently taking up issues affecting ordinary people, the need to forge alliances with progressive mass formations, the rebuilding of a militant labour movement and forging of international solidarity through concrete action in all of this? What should be our strategies and tactics in rebuilding effective international solidarity?
Another important development we need to strengthen and build upon is that of the gradual regrouping of communist and workers' parties across the world. Are we able to overcome the initial hesitancy and uncertainties that characterised the communist movement early 1990's in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union? In this regard, the SACP has identified the major challenge of the day as the need for an international left platform of action and solidarity. What should be the basis and programme of such a platform? How should such a platform use the opening of new spaces?
Access to affordable medicines for developing countries and a just world trading system have become one of the central issues. How do we take these forward? How should SA approach and deal with the IMF, WTO, the World Bank, etc.? Since September 11 there have been attempts to build global "anti-terrorist" alliances ? how should SA position itself? Do we endorse our government?s line ? yes, we oppose all terrorism, but the handling of this matter must be UN led, not US led?
What should be the role of our democratic state in all these struggles?
The End of Isolation?
The first sub-section, "The End of Isolation?" is a fairly polemical engagement, whose main objective is to insist that apartheid SA (and its preceding forms) were not the result of isolation, but rather the way in which SA was integrated into global capitalism. Our long-standing concept, CST, was, amongst other things, designed precisely to underline that SA was part and parcel of a global/imperialist system. The section argues for the retention of the concept "imperialism" within our movement, and it argues polemically that forgetfulness about the history of imperialist/colonial capitalist development leads to many confusions in the present.
Apartheid was not isolated from the world; CST was not the product of "backwardness", but the way in which SA was forged, developed/under-developed and actively linked into the imperial economy, and all of our present challenges are deeply linked to this past history, and our continued reproduction and marginalisation within the world capitalist system.
We have characterised "globalisation" as a phase of imperialism. It argues that the term "globalisation" might well describe certain objective realities, but that it is also used prescriptively, and that it is important to distinguish between the two things. Globalisation is both a progressive development of the forces of production and a negative/contradictory/exploitative reality ? and that both of these things are objective (capitalist) realities. There is a tendency to present the positive side of globalisation as "objective", and the negative sides as merely subjective (market failures, Afro-pessimism, etc). This, increasingly, is the key ideological issue we need to clinch.
The section does not sufficiently locate the beginnings of the new phase of intensified globalisation in a crisis of declining profitability in the core centres of capitalist accumulation in the early 1970s. This is a point the Party has been making more clearly since our last congress
Globalisation has also affected gender relations and oppression. Although women?s share of the economy has increased globally, the majority are faced with declining labour standards, wages and work conditions. The majority of workers in the South seem to have been shunted into the informal sector. How should we deal with these gender realities? An important challenge is how to strengthen global organising to enhance the rights of women workers.
During this period, the ?feminine face of poverty? has grown uglier worldwide, new threats to gender equality have emerged, and the 'commodification of woman - her work, body, sexuality, and reproduction ' has worsened. We must deal with issues such as the trafficking in women and children, and the rights of women migrants and working class and poor women refugees. To what extent is the increasing violence against women and children in the world linked to this increasing poverty and immiseration, which are products of globalisation?
But while some argue in favour of a third phase of international development in the form of a 'feminisation of globalisation', others see this as 'neo - imperialism under the guise of feminism'. Some have also claimed that the debt crisis and structural adjustment programmes were designed to break the back of levels of power expressed by women?s struggles, particularly those concerned with living conditions. Another important issue is the growth of the prison industrial complex and its impact on women.
Engaging strategically with contemporary international realities
In this section we need to update, to better reflect our evolving thinking ? more on an effective Industrial Policy, on the Public Sector, on Transforming and regulating the financial sector (a key factor in exposing us to global tremors)
And, we need, to have a much more thorough reflection and engagement with NEPAD. We need to reflect on the balance of effort that we should give, as a country, to domestic programmes vis-a-vis multi-lateral international engagements to change the global architecture. Both are important, but what is the balance of energy that we should be putting into the one and the other? What is most likely to produce some relatively immediate results?
We must develop strategies to transform global capitalism and world governance, building new alliances and networks. In doing this we need to start with development issues in Southern Africa and Africa, and the issue of reparations for slavery (from the WCAR).
Our Party?s Internationalism
What is Internationalism? What is international working class solidarity? How do we relate to current and neglected concerns ? Swaziland and Palestine, for example?
This section on the economy seeks to elaborate, and in some respects to take forward, positions that the Party has developed in recent years on key focus areas, namely Industrial policy; Transforming the Financial sector; Restructuring of State Owned Enterprises; and Local Economic Development with an emphasis on the promotion of collective forms of production, including cooperatives.
It also includes sections on other critical economic policy questions, including Black Economic Empowerment; Capital Flight; Our approach to macro-economic policy; and the emerging issue of "social dialogue".
Under preparation are a section on the Land and Agrarian Question; and an introduction that will attempt to take forward and develop the perspectives on globalisation and the accumulation path elaborated in our 10th Congress document as well as locate our specific policy focuses in the context of our perspective as socialists on the NDR.
These notes seek to elaborate, develop and update the 10th Congress perspectives on both the international and domestic context, looking concretely both at the issue of "globalisation" and its implications for economic policy and at a characterisation of the current accumulation path in South Africa.
The notes also identify how particular positions and focus areas are informed by an underlying logic deriving from the SACP?s overall perspective on the NDR. Among other things we will need to reiterate and affirm our long held acceptance of the logic of RDP that the promotion of economic growth (an increase in the output of goods and services) and of human development (an improvement in the socio-economic condition of our people) are inextricably inter-related challenges. We will need to address the issue of , while we accept that the NDR is a phase in which both markets and private capital will continue to play a major role in economic life, we are also convinced that the unfettered operation of markets and private capital will not deliver the development orientated economic growth necessary to overcome the acute problems of poverty and inequality that the attainment of the goals of the NDR requires. In addition, we will need to identify how as socialists we see both the possibility and the necessity within the NDR for transformations that will enhance the influence of both working people and the poor both over the direction of broad policy and within work place decisions. From this we will need to identify our perspective as one which, therefore, envisages an active policy-led process to promote economic transformation, both as a necessity to promote immediate short term growth and prosperity and to overcome the acute problems of poverty and inequality on which a successful advance of the NDR must rest.
We will need to explain why we have emphasised a focus on "real economy" issues, and why we have singled out particular policy focuses as well as the way in which as a Communist party our objective is to give this focus a specific class focus tilted in favour of the working class and the poor.
What are our perspectives as a Party on the current global political economy, and in particular the issue of "globalisation". We have as a Party argued strongly against views that have presented "globalisation" as a phenomenon that has "overcome" or "transformed" capitalism or imperialism. We have insisted that "globalisation" has retained essential exploitative, uneven, contradictory and crisis-ridden features of capitalism and imperialism. And, in this respect, we have staunchly criticised the ideology of neo-liberalism that has accompanied it. We have, however, particularly more recently, acknowledged that what is called "globalisation" has been associated with important changes in the modus operandi of capitalism, including the rise of "informational technology" as the driving force of rising productivity and accumulation, and growing inequality, marginalisation and social exclusion. We have insisted that both aspects ? the development of productive forces in the direction of "informationalism" and the widening inequality ? exist in a dialectical relationship i.e. both aspects are inter-linked and integral to a process. The question that arises is how should we amend or develop the perspectives on this issue that we adopted at the 10th Congress?
What is the nature of the accumulation or "growth" path that we are now on in South Africa, and how should we characterize the accumulation or growth path we as a Party believe we need to be on to realize the goals of the NDR ?
What is our own specific vision as socialists of the relationship between the slogan "socialism is the future, build it now" and our perspective on the NDR, and how should this inform and influence our approach to current economic policy issues? What other concrete economic policy issues does the Party need to address at the 11th Congress?
Analysing the Accumulation Path
On the accumulation path or economic trajectory we are now on, the SACP has seen it as characterised by sluggish economic growth; continuing formal sector job losses; deepening poverty for many in the midst of persisting high inequality; disappointing levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI); significant capital outflows from domestic and foreign multinationals; and the vulnerability to speculative movements on currency and capital markets.
From this, we have identified the fundamental challenge as being to formulate and implement strategies to move us on to a new sustainable development orientated higher growth path. We have argued that this will require a major effort to mobilise state and popular forces as well as resources in the hands of private capital. The priority areas we have defined below follow, in our view, as a logical consequence of this perspective.
The reasons why black women workers and poor women have borne much of the brunt of job losses, low wages, privatisation, outsourcing, temporary or part - time work, and casualisation must be spelt out. What needs to be clarified are the connections between class, race, property relations, gender discrimination and poverty. In general women workers have become increasingly marginalised.
A focus on the changing relationships between the atypical or so - called informal sector labour force (a larger percentage of which are women, most of whom are unorganised, and whose economic contribution is largely not measured) vis a vis the centrality of an industrial proletariat based on the wage labour relationship (a larger percentage of whom are men), and the current forms of capitalist accumulation, is needed.
The SACP has long called for a vigorous industrial policy ? which while involving core manufacturing needs also to encompass mining, agriculture, services and the ?new economy?. By industrial policy we mean a policy-led process of state interventions to drive and promote sectoral growth and development. In the case of East Asia, where industrial policy is often seen to have been most developed, these typically included the deployment of various incentives and penalties to mobilise and discipline private capital behind a carefully defined state-led strategy to promote economic growth and develop productive forces in ways that went against, or at least ahead of, the prevailing logic of the market. While often co-existing in East Asian countries with a negative or even hostile attitude towards trade unions, this was coupled with a push towards a change in shop floor organization in the direction of more participatory forms and models, with a strong emphasis on skills development, as central pillars of raising labour productivity. Industrial policy is broader than a "competitiveness strategy" although it cannot, of course, ignore this dimension.
Our emphasis on industrial policy as a priority focus of economic policy derives from our conviction that "market forces" are fundamentally incapable of promoting more than a highly distorted and stunted development of productive forces in former colonial or semi-colonial countries like our own. Indeed, we are convinced that the central lesson of the experience of the very small number of cases where former colonial or semi-colonial countries have achieved some measure of industrial development is that this can only be achieved by policy driven interventions directed at extensive "market failures" in the developmental process. In our view such "market failures" include: -
A failure by private capital and profit maximising enterprises to, of their own volition, to plan, invest in and lead economic infrastructure projects that are often critical to promoting investment in productive enterprises
A failure by both domestic and foreign capital to invest in viable projects to create strategic industrial capacity or otherwise develop productive forces in developing countries or "emerging markets" ahead of a proven record of profitability
A failure to initiate and lead strategy development at sectoral or value chain level
A failure to address a broad range of developmental backlogs and introduce workplace transformations to raise the capacities and skills of working people.
Looking at our own experience in South Africa over the past seven years, it seems to us that where we have had some successes in promoting investment and growth a number of elements have been in place. These include: -
A government led and conceived (but not necessarily totally funded) infrastructure development programme. The Strategic Development Initiatives (SDIs) or Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) programmes both embody elements of such an approach, although there is much to debate about the overall character of these specific programmes.
An active role by a parastatal, such as the Industrial Development Corporation, acting as its mission statement says to "identify and support opportunities not yet addresses by the market". Examples of such a role include the Mozal or Saldanha steel projects where the the IDC acted in the market, but with a broader vision than immediate profit maximization and became the dynamic and leading force, but not necessarily the largest shareholder, in strategic productive investments (whose broader character is again open to debate).
A government led process of developing a sectoral or industry strategy backed up with appropriate incentives and benefits for firms cooperating in the programme. The clearest example here is the Motor Industry Development Programme where elements of this programme, if not necessarily its entire content, are indicative of what can be achieved.
The SACP?s view is that these lessons from our own experience as well as those of successfully industrializing developing countries need to form the basis of an integrated industrial strategy that would have to include: -
State led economic infrastructure development programmes
State driven sectoral and value chain planning process
The identification of areas of strength or advantage, which in our case would include cheap electricity and raw materials beneficiation
An active role by appropriate parastatals and SOEs
The mobilisation of public, social and private capital behind a defined strategy by means of, inter alia, incentives and regulatory measures.
While some elements of such an approach can be discerned in existing policies and practices, our view as the SACP is that we are still far from the effective formulation and implementation of the comprehensive, integrated industrial strategy that we clearly need. The DTI has lately argued that "knowledge intensity" is the key to industrial strategy and that policy should focus on enhancing knowledge capacities, promoting innovation, R&D, breaking down artificial barriers between manufacturing and other economic activities and promoting joined up government. The SACP agrees that these are indeed important aspects of industrial policy. At the same time, we believe that we must not be tempted to see these elements as substitutes for developing capacities in other key areas essential to the effective implementation of an integrated industrial strategy, including those identified above. We also believe that the legitimate desire to extend the scope of policy beyond traditional manufacturing to service sectors (which we indeed share), must not divert attention away from the imperative to develop more effective strategies for core manufacturing and indeed mining, agriculture and energy sectors.
In various resolutions adopted at Strategy Conferences, the SACP has accepted that an industrial policy must involve policy choices. As a party of the working class, we have repeatedly stated that the goals of job retention, job creation and poverty eradication are central to our vision of industrial strategy. We are not convinced that it is a foregone conclusion that jobs must continue to be lost in agriculture, mining and formal manufacturing. We believe that these sectors can and must become sectors of job creation. Another critical issue is to locate the promotion of export oriented activity in a broader context. While this is an important objective, policy cannot, in our view, focus exclusively on export orientated sectors. We need to give a higher priority than hitherto to strategies for basic needs production, and the development of non-tradable service sectors. Public works programmes linked to infrastructure development also need to be extended as a matter of urgency.
Transforming the Financial Sector
Over the past few years, the SACP has played an active leadership role in a national campaign to transform the financial sector in our country. This campaign, which has struck a chord among a broad range of social forces in our country, has highlighted the extent to which the existing financial system is manifestly failing either to contribute to promoting development orientated growth, or even to providing basic banking services to the majority of our people. Yet again we believe are encountering a challenge of "market failure" in which state intervention and leadership will be critical.
The existing formal banking and financial system in our country emerged under colonialism and apartheid to serve the needs of conglomerate capital (with which it was closely connected) and secondarily to provide personal banking services to higher income (mainly white) individuals. The majority of working people and the poor were marginalised from this system, although alternative institutions like stokvels developed among our people. Regulation of the financial sector by government was largely prudential regulation aimed at guaranteeing the integrity of the system and protecting investor funds.
The liberalisation of the sector in the 1990s tended to reinforce and indeed exacerbate these patterns. A number of foreign banking institutions entered the South African market, most seeking to provide niche services as corporate or merchant bankers. At the same time, on-line banking and computerized services were introduced requiring significant investments by banks. Both of these developments unleashed competitive pressures leading established South African banks increasingly to re-position themselves with a greater focus on more lucrative corporate services and to embark on aggressive cost cutting. This led, in turn, to increasing service charges, the ending "cross subsidies" and cutting of less profitable services to lower income clients. The result of all of this is: -
Increasing numbers of our people denied access to basic banking services, becoming as a result both "unbanked" and "unbankable"
A growing reluctance by banks to provide finance for SMME development, low income housing and other priority developmental activities
Rapidly increasing service charges, particularly on services accessed by lower income clients
The emergence of a sizeable small loans industry, initially unregulated and taking advanatage of an exemption from the Usury Act, providing small loans at very high rates of interest to persons excluded from bank credit ? mainly personal loans to waged individuals
From our extensive interactions on these issues we are convinced that neither market forces, nor appeals to the "good will" of banks, will fundamentally alter this pattern. Rather, in our view, a major state-led project is needed to transform the financial architecture of the country in ways that will make the sector more supportive of development orientated growth and the NDR. The NEDLAC summit on the financial sector needs, in our view, to lay the foundations for such a transformation. Among the key strategic areas that the SACP believes financial sector transformation must include the Fostering of co-operative banking ? by means of, inter alia - enabling legislation; active government support programmes ? including technical support, favourable funding, etc; Private sector banks playing a constructive role - sharing skills and experience, providing technical assistance; and, in the case of merchant and financial banks, extending favourable credit lines. These issues could in turn be one aspect in a broader package of Community Re-investment legislation ? this needs to be structured in a way appropriate to South African conditions and could include: -
Compulsory disclosure of performance around a range of specified development and community related activities e.g. involvement in SMME finance, low cost mortgage lending and support to cooperative banking. Elements of this approach already exist in the Home Loan and Mortgage Disclosure Act. A comprehensive new Community Re-investment (CR) law could consolidate disclosure requirements into a single, uniform package that could e.g. inform decisions on awarding contracts or placing accounts with particular banks by governmental agencies, trade unions, progressive CBOs and NGOs.
The setting of targets around CR, through some specified system of awarding credits for CR performance and/or imposing penalties for non-compliance.
Financial sector transformation also includes Prescribed asset requirements. This would require insurance companies and other funds to hold a certain percentage of their assets in the form of investments in prescribed development orientated activities. In recent years there has been a tendency to treat this topic as a no-hoper, even though the apartheid regime had a similar requirement for investments in the security sector. We need to resist this attempt to belittle the importance of the demand, and link our demand to the similar proposals contained in the Black Economic Empowerment Commission Report. In addition, we should bear in mind that prescribed asset requirements need to target the massive investment funds in our country (pension funds, the mutuals). It needs to be seen as a counterpart, in respect to these investment funds, to the CR legislation whose principal target would be the banks. In response to the polemical argument that "worker-controlled funds need to set the example" ? we may agree, up to a point, but need to insist on equitable and uniform measures that apply across the board, so that no funds are disadvantaged.
The issue of more effective regulation and transformation of Credit Bureaux has also been raised. Discussion is currently underway to establish some system of compulsory self-regulation of credit bureaux, which have a major influence on the prospects of people obtaining credit. While we might accept that this is one aspect, we need to consider the option of establishing some system of independent regulation and oversight ? perhaps by way of a credit bureaux ombud. The widespread abuse by credit bureaux of confidentiality rights of consumers needs to be ended. Regulation must make clear that the role of credit bureaux is to indicate to their clients whether an individual is credit-worthy and to what extent ? not to supply extensive details about an individual.
There are several themes we need to develop with regard to the demand for more effective regulation and transformation of micro-lenders. Should we not be pressing for a cap on interest rates charged by micro-lenders? How do we transform micro-lenders from their present narrow focus on providing consumer credit to salaried individuals, to a more developmental and community-oriented role? We also need to constantly underline that the burgeoning of this sector is a symptom of the failure of the formal banking sector, and that the larger banks (including some parastatals) need to assume much greater responsibility for banking the unbanked, including providing life-line banking services.
What should be the role of Public/parastatal financial institutions? The SACP is particularly concerned to ensure that this sector does not drop off the agenda of restructuring of the finance sector. In particular we believe that public and parastatal financial institutions, including a range of development funding institutions, are critical to the SACP?s emphasis on an industrial policy. There are a range of state financial entities that are playing or should be playing a key role in SMME development; infrastructure; and agriculture. The potential role of these institutions in leading and catalysing growth and development industrial strategies needs to elaborated. We need to develop a greater strategic role for Postbank ? Postbank has a network that reaches into many areas of the country where other financial institutions have no presence. Postbank is well positioned to be used as the preferred provider of welfare grants (as the anchor business of this SOE). The development of the Postbank needs to be linked, also, to the demand for more effective life-line banking. We also need to highlight the role of this sector as part of our broader commitment to re-building confidence in the importance and key strategic role of the public and parastatal sector in general.
Is it desirable to insulate our economy from Speculative Activity by Financial Institutions? The fall in the value of the Rand in the final months of 2001 highlighted the vulnerability of the South African economy to speculative activities of both domestic and foreign financial institutions. The appointment of a Commission of Inquiry opens a debate on the appropriate response to such activity. While the SACP does not pretend to have all the answers, we are, however, convinced that a solution must be found in the direction of measures to limit the scope for speculative activity, rather than in further exposing ourselves to the vagaries of speculative markets and once again attempting to appeal to sentiment. Likewise, we believe that the focus of economic policy must remain on the "real economy" and that efforts to stabilise prices, that will indeed be necessary, should not be pursued to the detriment of the broader objectives of promoting growth and development.
Restructuring of State Owned Enterprises
The SACP considers State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to have a pivotal role in the economic transformation. There are a number of aspects to this. First, in a context where extensive "market failure" will bedevil our efforts in the present phase of the NDR to promote development orientated growth, reduce inequality etc, state owned enterprises operating according to a logic different from that of profit maximising entities will be essential inter alia in promoting and leading infra-structural development and mobilising investment in strategic projects. Secondly, laying a firm foundation for the operation of SOEs and social capital in the present phase of the NDR will be an element upon which an eventual transition to socialism can be built.
In insisting on a pivotal role for SOEs, the SACP is not arguing against restructuring. The inherited state sector developed to serve the needs of apartheid and certainly needs to undergo fundamental restructuring to enable it to serve the needs of the NDR. Nor are we necessarily opposed to restructuring involving some form of engagement and mobilisation of private capital. Our basic perspective is that the restructuring of publicly-owned assets needs to be located within the following over-arching strategic objectives:
Achieving the broad growth and developmental goals of the RDP, especially job creation;
Building a national democratic state ? an active, developmental state with effective strategic capacity within the economy;
Enhancing national sovereignty at the economic level and policy level in general.
The Party also strongly endorses the processes envisaged in the National Framework Agreement of 1996, key features of which include: -
Restructuring needs to avoid simplistic ideologically driven notions that the essential aim of restructuring is privatization as well as managerialist-inspired notions of "turn-around" formulae;
Restructuring needs to be negotiated strategically between the two key partners in publicly-owned entities ? government and unions. But care needs to be taken that the needs of users, especially those historically marginalized ? black households, rural communities, commuters, etc. are adequately represented;
While reconstruction and development are the key objectives, the related objectives of job creation and retention must be central to any restructuring process.
While there is a high level of agreement within the tri-partite alliance on most, if not all, of these points, several problems, in our view, continue to characterise government policy on this important issue.
Problem Number One - An inferiority complex about public ownership.
For most of the 1980s and 1990s, a triumphalist neo-liberalism has sought to denigrate publicly-owned entities. Neo-liberalism has presented parastatals as inherently bloated, tax-guzzling, inefficient and uncompetitive "corporations". The fact that we inherited an often bloated, inefficient, unsustainable and people-unfriendly apartheid public and parastatal sector has sometimes lent an unjustified aura of validity to the neo-liberal dogma in our own situation. That we need to restructure our public and parastatal sectors is obvious, that this restructuring has to be neo-liberal privatisation is less obvious. But the conflation of the two things is often made, and, of course, deliberately fostered by certain forces. We need to rebuild confidence in a democratic, and effective public and parastatal sector. The argument for publicly-owned entities includes the following dimensions: -
Developmental priorities ? this is, probably, the most obvious and increasingly accepted argument. Clearly, privately-owned, profit-maximising corporations are not going to invest major resources in overcoming the huge structural inequities in our society ? delivering educational, health, electricity, telecommunications and transport infrastructure and services to the marginalised
Strategic economic priorities, including the defence of a relative national economic sovereignty ? we must be careful not just to confine the importance of public-ownership to social "basket" cases where there is so-called "market failure". In a number of key areas, critical economic strategic priorities will not be realised without public-ownership. The short-termism of private capital, and its foot-lose cosmopolitanism mean that key strategic economic (and not just social) national/regional objectives may be ignored or frustrated by private capital, or its undue influence. Recent examples, positive and negative, of these points can be found in the key, positive role of the IDC in ensuring private sector investment in Mozal, critical for the overall Maputo-corridor SDI. Without public ownership of IDC, and without the IDC making the strategic commitment to a 20% share in Mozal, the development would not have happened at all. By contrast, the strategic decision as to whether to develop a major international airport in KZN (the King Shaka Airport project) has been complicated by the 20% share that Aeroporti di Roma now has in ACSA. Any strategic decision on a matter that is, surely, linked to national sovereignty and long term strategic concerns, will have to be negotiated with AdR. It should be said that the value of the AdR partnership to our country is also, in other ways, far from apparent, as is government?s current commitment to proceeding further with the privatisation of ACSA. (see more below);
Problem Number Two - Weak corporate governance ? the failure of boards and senior management to take seriously their public mandate
As many aspects of the SAA debacle remind us, a majority public ownership on its own is not sufficient to ensure the realisation of national economic strategic priorities. It is critical that the senior management of publicly-owned entities has a clear sense of public responsibilities and national strategic priorities, and that they grasp the qualitative difference and advantages of publicly-owned entities. The tendency for some senior public sector managers to see themselves as under-graduate capitalists, rather than public sector managers with their own mandate and long-term commitments is part of a major problem. Other cases of poor corporate governance include: -
Telkom, where the shareholders agreement appears to favour the minority shareholder over the government majority, and this has allowed decisions that do not make sense from a public and worker perspective, including mass retrenchments, increased tariffs, and little in the way of improved services.
Post Office - This is another case where the presence of a minority private-sector management partner has compromised the company. The New Zealand SMP has been stripping out cash and leaving the company worse off than before. There is little evidence of any improvement since the SMP was announced. Government has intervened to terminate the contract. The question is whether it should ever have been granted at all.
Problem Number Three - Assuming that privatisation is the only way to mobilise private sector (including foreign) investment
A common argument advanced for privatisation (including complete sales, concessioning out, IPOs, and PPPs) is that this is a means to mobilise private sector investment (including foreign investment) for RDP goals, like infrastructure development and service provision. This argument is not necessarily wrong. Where it is wrong is when it assumes that this is the only possible way to mobilise capital resources for extension and maintenance of infrastructure and service provision. The privatisation route must always be weighed against the advantages and disadvantages of other possibilities for raising investments including: -
Public borrowing ? governments are able to access major relatively low interest loans on foreign capital markets, especially for infrastructural projects. While this will increase the public debt, it may well prove to be financially more prudent in the medium and longer term. International examples abound of privatisation projects designed to relieve governments of financial burdens that have back-fired. The example of Argentinian rail is a good current example. The freight rail system was concessioned off into six regional, privately-run entitities. State subsidies to freight rail have increased 17,7% since this concessioning (not to mention major job losses and a serious decline in services).
Publicly owned entities are able, in principle, to steer more surplus into re-capitalisation ? Here a good example is ACSA. In 1998, Aeroporti di Roma paid a once-off R819-million for its 20% share-holding. In 2000 ACSA made a R292 million profit ? which suggests that every two and a half years ACSA could make as much, but over and over, as Aeroporti di Roma paid once-off. Are there compelling reasons to continue to sell-off more and more of ACSA, as we are currently planning to do? In April this year, ACSA, with 80% still publicly owned, announced a restructuring and investment strategy which will see the enterprise pump R2,7 billion into airport operations over the next five years. This is very much in line with President Mbeki?s vision of major infrastructural investment, contributing through improved transport efficiencies to the overall lowering of input costs throughout our economy. As Business Map has noted : "A fully privatised company would probably pay out a much higher proportion of profit as dividends to investors". Again, we need to ask, are there compelling reasons to moving inexorably to selling off more and more of ACSA?
Problem number Four ? the assumption that government should "steer but not row"
A common argument for privatisation is that government should best occupy its time and resources with setting strategic objectives, leaving management and ownership to the private sector. This might, in many cases, be the most feasible option, not least in a national and global economy that is dominated by capitalism. However, we need to be careful about the apparent seductiveness of the "steer but don?t row" argument. There are at least three reasons for caution: -
Public management and public ownership can sometimes be absolutely critical for strategic steering itself - we have already noted examples (eg. Aeroport di Roma and the King Shaka airport project) where privatisation/partial privatisation might impair one?s capacity to steer strategically.
Attempting to regulate the private sector might prove to be more complicated than actually owning and managing an entity ? Numerous international examples of municipal level PPPs, concessions, and other restructuring projects, including our own experience with Dolphin Coast (water tariffs going up a projected 15%), and Umgeni Water, raise questions about the complexity of regulating private entities, and of ensuring that they do indeed deliver efficiently and that they do effectively carry risk (the ostensible reason for being "rewarded" with profits). All too often private entities nominally carry risk, until there are losses, then they expect to be baled out with public subsidies. It is true that we often lack capacity and resources in the public sector and in parastatals, but it might, in the medium-term, prove to be more reliable building such capacity and resources. The task of regulating major transnationals, especially if you are a municipality, might be more daunting, than improving your own public service capacity.
Means and not just outcomes are sometimes critical ? one of the key policy decisions of our democratic government has been to prevent, private "international peace-keeping forces" operating from our country. We have correctly recognised that these entities are little more than mercenary forces, and, regardless of whether their services are sought by relatively progressive governments elsewhere in our continent, or in the third world, we cannot allow private armies to fulfil a strategic function. In cases like this, "efficiency", "outcomes", etc. are not the only criteria - means do matter. International peace-keeping must be the function of a constitutionally established public entity like the SANDF.
The same, surely, applies in a range of other areas? We would, we believe, agree that most education in our society needs to be provided publicly. Clearly, most of us would agree that the burgeoning of private security firms is a problem, and that our medium and longer-term objective must be the building and extension of the capacity of the SAPS and its associated arms. Is the running of prisons a function that should be increasingly handed over to profit-seeking, private firms? And the paying out of pensions?
In short, and related to the points made above, we need to defend the values of a public sector that embodies the ideal of public service, defined by the needs of the service user, not his or her market power. A sector that gives meaning to "community", to institutions (schools, hospitals, an army, trains) that we can describe as "ours" in a way that we would never refer to Pick n Pay, or Sentry Armed Response, or BP as "ours".
Problem number Five ? the need to develop a more differentiated appreciation of different modes of private participation
From all sides of the political and economic policy spectrum there are tendencies to collapse the restructuring challenge into a simplistic public-ownership versus privatisation. Of course, there are different kinds of restructuring to access private participation, ranging from full privatisation, through strategic partnerships, to concessioning, to PPPs. There are a great deal of variants within each of these as well. It is important to assess the strategic strengths and potential dangers in each of the options.
Bearing in mind the points made above (that regulating/steering private capital is never an easy exercise), different variants of privatisation are more disposed to public strategic steering than others. This is something that must always be factored into any assessment of restructuring. Some examples include privatisation through a stock market offering (eg. the proposed Telkom IPO) is a route that is least likely to secure some strategic hold over an entity. Securing private sector partners (as with the initial Telkom restructuring, as with ACSA), or borrowing from banks, at least gives one identifiable interlocutors whom one can seek to persuade of medium and longer-term perspectives. Negotiating with the stock exchange is an improbable venture. The more a public entity is exposed to the stock market, the more it is exposed to short-term profit-maximising, with all the attendant dangers of asset-stripping, cherry-picking, etc.
It is often tempting to concession out fragments of a parastatal ? private investors are likely to be interested in specific rail-lines (example the high density Coallink or Orex lines and not the whole of Spoornet). Or one might concession out different operations to different private sector operators in the name of specialisation (eg. as in the UK rail case ? track maintenance to Railtrack, passenger services to a range of different operators, etc). The dangers are that the rest of the network collapses (with knock-on effects perhaps even for the cherry-picked lines that looked profitable, but where the importance of feeder lines was neglected), or that coherence across the network (as in the UK) is completely lost, with seriously declining service and safety standards.
Problem number Six ? the place of black economic empowerment in the restructuring process
BEE is an important strategic objective of the ANC-led liberation movement. Restructuring of publicly-owned assets in SA needs to be, in part, about the BEE process, most obviously in the very broadest sense of BEE ? namely, the provision of basic economic empowerment to millions and millions of black South Africans through access to jobs, and through the provision of affordable and reliable electricity, housing, transport, telecommunications, etc. But restructuring also presents opportunities to advance BEE in the narrower senses of the term ? namely, through the increasing promotion of black managers into senior positions within parastatals; and through the opening up of business opportunities to emerging black entrepreneurs ? from the SMME level to an emerging black-controlled large corporate sector.
While there is no necessary contradiction between the pursuit of BEE in both the widest and narrower senses of the term (senior black public sector managers in Metrorail will probably have a greater appreciation of the needs of commuters), we cannot simply assume that this will always be the case. Promoting business opportunities for emerging black private businesses might, in some concrete cases, frustrate the realisation of wider economic empowerment. This dilemma is not always adequately surfaced in our policy debates and assessments.
Problem number Seven - flawed processes
Although, in the NFA, we have a remarkably progressive national agreement on the kinds of processes required to ensure effective and strategic restructuring, in practice, the NFA is not working well. The NFA continues to be dysfunctional with labour in particular dissatisfied with the lack of commitment shown to the NFA by managers of public enterprises in particular. Government seems unwilling in most cases to direct these managers and ensure that the NFA is adhered to.
Sometimes the NFA purview is too general, and the real problems occur in the detail of restructuring. At other times, negotiations are formal and not substantial, with decisions already taken by government (including, now, the R18 billion that has to be realised this year, regardless). The SACP is, obviously and correctly, not a direct participant in NFA negotiations, and we do not want to raise detailed points at this forum. However, there are some general observations around flawed processes, including an over-reliance on external consultants, international "turnaround" specialists and strategic partners. We need to carefully review and learn from many experiences ? including the NZ Post Office episode, and the Coleman Andrews case. Obviously we should not shut ourselves off from international expertise. But we need to be very careful that we are not swept off our feet in the process by agendas that have very little to do with what we are seeking to achieve. In particular we must guard against the assumption that there is some single, generic, "corporate turn-around" strategy package. Too often entities like the Post Office or SAA are approached as if they were simply corporations, and not strategic entities facing specific communication or transport challenges.
What is worse, sometimes the external consultants are merchant banks with a major vested interest in rapid and extensive privatisation of South African assets. For example, Rothschilds have been brought in by government to advise on the restructuring of Spoornet. The terms of Rothschilds contract are not known, but it can be assumed that formally, or informally, Rothchilds would benefit as advisers to potential foreign buyers.
Arising from the above, the SACP recommends, amongst other things, the following: -
A comprehensive review of the restructuring of public enterprises to date. We propose the setting up of an alliance task team to produce a collective discussion document ? similar to the very useful and successful alliance task team that produced the discussion document on a developmental state.
Constant emphasis on the clear, centralised direction and control of the restructuring by the national government, including over local government-level restructuring.
This should include ensuring that public sector corporate governance becomes a model of strategic competence, and plays a leading role in ensuring our growth and development objectives. We must also ensure that publicly-owned assets are used to broaden the public sphere, and role back the tyranny of the market. There must be full public disclosure of all decisions, contracts and information regarding the public sector. The public should be allowed access to all crucial meetings where decisions are taken with respect to tenders, etc.
The logic of private capital clearly needs to be challenged. In the restructuring process the emphasis should be placed on extension of services to those who need them the most, to public control of enterprises and services that are essential to development. These are Water, Electricity, Transport, Health, Education, Post and Telecommunications.
The imperative of developing a much clearer industrial policy strategy, and the linking of such a policy to the restructuring of publicly-owned assets is crucial. Where private investment is needed, careful strategic evaluation of the best ways of leveraging this investment is required. PPPs with government controlling a minimum of 51% are, for instance, more likely to assure the realisation of strategic goals, than the sale of public resources on the stock exchange. Each case must be examined strategically, and in detail.
We must work out a way to cost reproductive labour in the family, showing how workplaces, the state, and other sectors of society, benefit from it. The factors that confine participation in the SMME or informal economy to survivalist enterprise for certain groups, especially women, need top be sought. The rise of home based work such as in the clothing industry, income generation by home based workers, entrepreneurs, survivalist strategies, as well as the changing relationships between wage work and gender and family are other important issues.
The issues of access to finance, land, and women as owners are important. It is important too that we explore how a social security policy might contribute to the wider empowerment of women. We need to develop a growth and development policy that will address basic needs and improve the quality of life of working class and poor women.
The last few years have seen a tremendous loss of capital from the shores of South Africa. As can be seen from the following table, between 1996 and 2000 South African companies disinvested on average about R40 billion a year. Capital flight has also worsened in each of the years, although the disinvestments was slightly less in 2000. Capital inflows have been very volatile and in 2000 fell to the lowest level since 1994, such that there was a net capital outflow in that year.
Capital outflows and inflows, in billions of Rands
Foreign investment in SA
Of which: Portfolio investment
Investment abroad by SA companies
Of which: Portfolio investment
Net investment in SA
* under R0,5 billion.
Source: South African Reserve Bank, Quarterly Bulletin, June 2001, p. S-90
The past few years have seen a continual liberalising of capital and exchange controls in various ways. This has opened the way for huge sums of money ? mostly profits from domestic production using South African workers, raw materials, and capital ? being invested in other countries, as seen above. Meanwhile this capital is badly needed at home for productive investment. The rush of some of our biggest companies to shift their primary listings offshore has also robbed our country of capital. The argument which these companies used to motivate their move ? that it would allow them to access a greater pool of capital for investment in South Africa ? has been exposed as false. Bluntly put, every Rand that leaves the country is a Rand less to invest in domestic enterprise and job creation.
Apart from the loss of investment, this disinvestment strategy forms part of the capital strike by business to influence the transition in the direction they want. It is an effective use of the power at their disposal to undermine the power of the state to pursue a developmental strategy and puts pressure on government to implement policies favourable to capital. Even these, however have failed to elicit a positive response from capital. Massive capital flight has to a large extent been facilitated by the ongoing liberalisation of capital and exchange controls. Tightening these up could assist in maximising the resources available for productive investment and job creation in South Africa. A stronger position is also needed on the primary listings of major South African companies shifting to overseas stock exchanges.
Approach to Macro-Economic Policy
The SACP?s approach to macro-economic policy derives from our broader approach to economic policy outlined above. As indicated earlier, for the SACP the "real economy" and policies directed at transforming the "real economy" are the priorities which should shape macro-economic policy. This does not mean that we regard macro-economic policy as unimportant. Macro-policy definitely counts and we agree that prudent and effective management of scarce public resources is essential to achieve sustainable growth and transformation. We also accept that there are constraints ? both external and internal ? that make prudent macro-economic management essential to insulate us from the vagaries and pressures of global markets.
Our critique of GEAR was not that it its goal to stabilise macro-economic variables was wrong per se, but that it prioritised this over all other considerations, and set ambitious targets based on what were seen to be global norms on the assumption that this would appeal to foreign investors who would respond by significantly increasing Foreign Direct Investment in our economy. As indicated earlier. GEAR over achieved in its macro-economic targets, but massively under-performed in its growth and employment creation targets.
Our approach in this regard is similar to that of former World Bank chief economist, Joseph Stiglitz, who in 1997 criticised "Washington consensus" policies for simplistically assuming that "a few economic indicators ? inflation, money supply growth, interest rates, budget and trade deficits- could serve as the basis for a set of policy recommendations" and consequently underestimating the trade offs between the pursuit of goals in these areas and other (real economy) objectives (Stiglitz, WIDER Annual Lecture, 1997). With recent devaluation of Rand ? itself in part a product of capital export and exchange control liberalisation ? threatening to raise prices, we can only agree with Stiglitz that costs of pushing moderate inflation down may well exceed any benefits.
The SACP?s approach to macro-economic policy is, therefore, that macro-economic policy must be formulated and implemented within a broader holistic framework in which real economy and developmental objectives have priority. Secondly, we are convinced that we must formulate policy in the short and medium term on the assumption that the "global environment", that created by capitalist globalisation, will both be a source of "external shocks" and reproduce inequalities between developed and developing countries. This does not mean that we should not pursue whatever reforms we can at global level, but rather that for policy purposes we should not over-estimate prospects in this regard. Fundamentally, therefore, the SACP believes macro-economic management should seek as far as possible to insulate our economy from the negative impact of global market forces and speculative pressures, and not to assume that the only remedy in the face of "external shocks" or crises is further liberalisation.
Social dialogue, social partnership and strategic agreements between government, business, labour and other civil society organisations
What is the balance of forces after the democratic breakthrough? There has been political transformation of a significant level, but ownership and income patterns as well as access to resources remain still largely as before 1994. Some progress has been made in dealing with the structural weaknesses of the economy but at a slow pace and the cost is disproportionately borne by the working class. Similarly, the thrust of capitalist globalisation is predominantly anti-working class in its outcomes. Is there anything the working class can do to significantly alter this balance of forces without jeopardising the NDR? Our society is characterised by a massive social deficit and backlog deriving from the legacy of apartheid in many respects. There is, among other things, a skills deficit, significant services backlogs and huge inequalities between rich and poor.
All of these make struggles over wages, services, ownership etc. intense and protracted. These are bitterly fought out and even impact on the ANC, due to its multi-class character. For instance, the debate over what exactly BEE is still raging in the movement, 7 years after coming to power. How do we rapidly deal with these challenges and overcome them without increasing government indebtedness to unhealthy levels, dividing the movement, and creating the impression that our society is inherently unstable and therefore not a desirable investment, business or tourist destination?
The economy has been characterised by low savings, low investment levels, high unemployment and low absorption of new entrants to the labour market, lower productivity and economic efficiency levels and limited access to finance for the poor. The challenge for us in terms of realising our development objectives is to overcome these impediments to growth. Not only do we need to ensure that savings, growth, jobs, efficiency and access to economic opportunities improve, but we also have a broader strategic objective in terms of the African continent. We need to mobilise capital for development in Africa (NEPAD), and in our region in particular. All the problems that we face are often far worse in our neighboring countries.
There has been a growing consensus that social dialogue has an important role to play in dealing with the challenges that face our society. There is a comparative advantage social dialogue can afford a country. Our own experience so far confirms this. There is also arguably a comparative advantage that social partnership or accords can afford countries. Various international experiences show that they can create certainty, allow for managed restructuring of the economy, significantly improve social equity and create employment opportunities.
The notion among government, business, labour and other civil society organisations that continued disagreement and bitter struggles over these issues will negatively affect sentiment about the country and will not lead to any improvement in the socio-economic conditions of the majority. These constituencies have reached agreement on the need to address the investment, development, equity and efficiency challenges. There are of course dangers in the organised working class entering into such agreements. They can result in the working class becoming demobilised. Agreements may limit the extent to which the working class can advance its interests. If the process of trying to reach agreement fails it could create more negative sentiment.
Outstanding Sections (to be incorporated later)
Local Economic Development and the Promotion of Co-Operatives
Black Economic Empowerment
This section outlines a number of key tasks in the drafting of a perspective for the 11th Congress and poses a number of questions to our branches and structures.
Conceptualising the state
The state has not been conceptualised in such a manner that there is a common understanding as to what we are talking about when we use the term. Some comrades use it to mean simply the institutions of the state and others have a broader understanding, namely, that it is the economic foundation of the political hegemony of a ruling class or bloc, which includes the institutions but is not limited to them. This can lead to instrumentalist and managerialist thinking regarding the state, or equally, to a tendency to become too economistic and not focus on the institutions.
A key task is to conceptualise what we mean by the state and what we want to change about it, both in the short term, that is under capitalism, and in the longer term, under socialism. What do we mean by the state? What about the state needs transforming?
There is also a debate about the relationship between the state and society, in that the former mirrors the latter in most societies. In a revolution, such as the NDR, the state should be a site of struggle for the future, a place in which we try to change the racial, gender and class aspects of the state to influence society. For instance, there is a Gender Commission, an Office on the Status of Women, a Parliamentary Committee on the status of women. These, and the ANC Alliance?s policies, have ensured that gender is placed on the agenda of government. To what extent is this happening? Specifically, what should be the role of the state in relation to gender transformation? How far have we theorised, and transformed the patriarchal state?
By not dealing with gender, the Alliance document on State, Property Relations and Social Transformation of 1998, as well as documents from the Strategy Conferences on the public sector and local government, and other relevant documents, have demonstrated a flawed concept of power. The role of the state in reshaping gender relations and gender transformation has not been a main issue. We need to take further the theorising of the patriarchal state, and the recreation and reclaiming of a non-patriarchal public domain.
Key sites of struggle and state institutions for transformation
There are obvious sites of struggle, such as the debate about extending the public sector, for quality public services etc. in the public domain. To what extent are we putting across our arguments on the issues of privatisation, Public Private Partnerships, contracting out and extending the public sector across in such a manner that they win broad support?
There are key institutions such as Parliament and provincial legislatures and local councils, the Public Service and Local Government administration, public enterprises that are the focus of much of our policy and political activity. There are other key institutions such as the public broadcaster, universities and technikons that have not been the centre of attention, yet play a critical role in shaping society.
Issues such as accumulation patterns in the economy, the budget and how it is finally made up and our relationship to other countries are said to be part of the states role. These need to be considered as part of the non-institutional issues that relate to transformation. We also need to revisit the concept of the women's budget.
Which institutions should be the priority for focus in terms of transformation? If there are other areas of focus, that are non-institutional, what are these and how should the SACP approach these?
The issue of globalisation has been said to have impacted on the power and sovereignity of the nation-state. This has implications for what can be achieved through the state. How has globalisation impacted on the nations state and what are the implications of this for the NDR and socialism?
Progress made to date
We cannot speak as if there has not been progress in relation to all areas of transformation, including the state. We need to catalogue this and decide where the shortcomings and weaknesses are and where we have made progress what has ensured this. We also need to measure how far we have come in relation to our objective of building a democratic, developmental state.
There are areas where there have been clear problems, both between Party comrades and more broadly within the Alliance, as to what the strategic task was in relation to transformation. In public enterprises, the public service and in local government the issues of privatisation, contracting out, public-private partnerships and of downsizing have all presented themselves as serious problems. We need to discuss how to approach these issues in such a manner that we resolve differences, and where we cannot, that we find a way to manage them.
How should the Party contribute to the better management of contentious issues in the Alliance, such as Privatisation?
Programmatic issues for the SACP and the Alliance
The Party needs to discuss its role and those of its Alliance partners in respect of key issues such as Batho Pele, the transformation of the public service, the restructuring of state assets, local government transformation, the safety and security institutions such as the police and the armed forces, the future and role of the provinces, and constituency versus list electoral systems.
Developmental local government should play a major role in helping meet the basic needs of women. Issues such as adequate representation of women in local government and governance structures such as ward committees, the problems experienced by women councillors, and the relationship between gender inequalities and service delivery, must be addressed. The local effects of globalisation, such as the tendency to shift welfare responsibilities to the local and community level, and the effect on women, also need to be traced. Broadly, we need to help women to shape and influence local service delivery, integrated development planning, budgets and local economic development.
It is proposed that a gender policy and programme for the SACP be developed. We must take stock of the old Gender Department, the Gender Commission, the Dora Tamana National Gender Workshop and the Strategy Conferences.
This policy must develop the active political and ideological participation of women in the life of the Party, and must develop the gender and political awareness of men. It should ensure that all SACP programmes are engendered, that a programme and a set of campaigns with a specific focus on women as part of the general POA of the SACP, is consolidated, and that these programmes are implemented through monitoring and evaluation.
The gender policy and programme must deal with issues such as:
Women, Gender and the SACP: party building issues, clarifying the role and position of gender in the SACP, an education and empowerment programme for women, a programme for women?s recruitment and mobilisation, a programme on unpaid labour, defining sectoral targets for parental rights, the use of SACP and other media, joint programmes and policy co - ordination with the unions, ANC and ANC Women?s League, gender policy work and research, women?s month programme, the issue of the quota, women?s leadership development, developing a sustainable approach to gender work in the SACP, the holding of a women?s conference.
Men, Gender and the SACP: outlining ways of working with men in the SACP, empowering them to become more politically aware about gender, and finding ways of including issues of the personal in building the political consciousness of the working class
Developing a policy and programme on the issues of sexuality and sexual orientation, such as violence against women, prostitution/sex workers, trafficking in women and children, and gay and lesbian issues
Developing a policy and programme on women, gender and media, culture, religion, tradition and custom
Developing a policy and programme on gender and rural and urban development
Mechanisms to ensure that all structures of the Party comply with its positions, a implementation strategy, identifying key focus areas for implementation, time frames
These discussion notes seek to raise questions on Party Building as an attempt to introduce debate in preparation for the 11th Congress. It is important in dealing with Party Building to root it in and dialectically connect it to the overall theoretical and ideological base as well as to an implementable programme. Discussions have to firstly reflect on those resolutions and Party Building reports since our last Congress. Such reflection will help us assess our progress, strengths and weakness for us to be able to answer the key question - What?s to be done? Branches are therefore asked to discuss and send their responses to help us draft the final Discussion paper for Congress.
Tasks from the 10th Congress
The 10th Congress Declaration and Resolutions which emphasised that party building is the intensification of the struggle for socialism in our country. The 10th Congress identified the following challenges and organisational tasks for systematic and bold implementation.
Consolidating cadreship development
Full time Provincial Secretaries
Reorientation of Provincial Councils
Tighter Co-ordination on Gender issues
Building the internal capacity
Establishment of industrial units and socialist forums
Proper recording of membership - aimed at intellectuals, worker leaders and shop stewards, community leaders and women, systematic servicing of lapsed membership and key activists
Party Building since 1998
The popularity and profile of the SACP has continued to grow particularly amongst organised workers and other sections of the working class. However, we must still harness this support into coherent mass mobilisation and SACP organisation consolidation.
Our mainstay is a core and dedicated cadreship spread out, albeit thinly, through various sectors and spheres of society and often work under difficult conditions without resources. These cadres have contributed immensely to the ANC election victories in 1999 and 2000; in the COSATU campaigns against poverty, job losses, privatisation, etc; in the programmes of government and community issues.
Party membership has grown gradually since July 1998 ? actually with the 22 127 members we have, we have the biggest ever number of paid-up and signed members in our history.
The above strengths notwithstanding, the Party continues to be faced with serious challenges, which if left unresolved, threaten the very achievements and the objectives of the SACP. Many branches are not in good shape. Branch Meetings are not regular. Branch AGMs are difficult to convene. Where meetings occur the political content is lacking.
Not all our branches are taking part in community issues and programmes - communist activism of our branches is not good enough. We have not done enough to recruit and build women as SACP cadres. We do not have a common and shared induction strategy but there has been a start.
Many Party members in unions and the civil service are not organised and linked to the closest party structure. Do we have a common and clear strategy and programme on rural mobilisation, organising and cadreship development?
Only KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga and North West have full time Provincial Secretaries. Our PECs are run by small cores and the PWCs. Many PEC members fail to service districts, branches and conducting other political work.
Is the above overall assessment of party building since 1998 correct? What have the strengths and achievements, key failures and weaknesses? of your branch, district and province? What explains these?
Conceptualising and theorising party building in the context of the SA transition
Party building occurs within a particular context ? international and domestic- and at different moments of our revolution. It informs whatever we as Communists are trying to achieve and it cuts across all areas of our work. But have we theorised enough about Party building in the past years so as to make all our members understand the critical role of Party Building?
The SACP also needs to analyse the impact of the current conjuncture on Party Building. How has globalisation, transition from apartheid to democracy, challenges of governance and the balance of forces and challenges within the Alliance affected the SACP especially since our last Congress? We thus need to unravel the socio-political and economic developments in post-apartheid SA and how these impact on Party building. Are we organising in ways that are informed by the environment and the times we live in with all their opportunities and limitations? How has the Party responded to these challenges as part of its role and tasks in the transformation agenda, its own class contestation of the global and imperialist agenda, asserting its own programme of consolidation and building the momentum and elements for socialism? To what extent have we analysed the relationship between globalisation and feminisation of poverty, commodification of women and trafficking in women and children. With such an understanding what is our strategy for mobilising and organising women into the Party? What is our programme for changing power relations both in the Party and in society as a whole.
What then is Party Building and what kind of Party are we building?
In all our Congresses we have resolved to build a strong mass Party. For us to evaluate whether or not we have since our last congress achieved this we need to analyse key elements of a strong mass party.
Ideology and politics
The SACP differs from all other political organisations in that it is committed to building socialism, is based on and guided by the Socialist ideology, Marxism Leninism. Therefore the question to raise is ? Have we managed to root our analysis of the current period in a coherent class, race and gender theory - a theory that would help us understand the intersection and interaction of class, race and gender? To what extent has the Party kept abreast with and enriched socialist ?feminist discourse? Theory and practice are the fundamentals for Party Building and Communists. To what extent do our members, who are supposed to be the advanced elements in society understand that theory, the importance of theory in any revolution? Are they able to translate that theory into practice?. Have we been able to produce Communists from the members of the SACP.? Have we managed to extend that class-consciousness to our allies and society? To what extent does our analysis of the current epoch impact and influence our allies and society?
Practically, what are the things we can do to undertake cadreship development? What about systematic and structured political schools on a fortnightly basis at a district level?
A Communist Programme and Campaigns
The path to Socialism and the realisation of our slogan "Socialism is the Future! Build it Now!" is dependent on the extent to which the most revolutionary class ? the working class is politicised and participates as a leading force in the transformation agenda, the degree to which the hegemony of bourgeoisie ideology is combated and the extent to which the rural poor, women and the whole society are mobilised around the programme of the SACP. Does the Party have an implementable and achievable programme that is based on our Marxism, on our analysis of the current context. Are our programmes targeted and meaningful to the working class, the rural poor and women? Do we organise in ways that facilitate the participation of women, who are mostly unemployed, poor, and uneducated. Do we take into account that most of these women live in patriarchal family structures that in themselves constrain their participation in public life? Around which bread and butter issues do we campaign and are we able to ensure that our targeted sectors sustain the campaigns. How do we measure the impact of our campaigns?
The vanguard role, mass character and active structures of the SACP
The vanguard role of the Party is to " lead and guide the struggle of the proletariat (working class) and the toilers for better conditions and ultimately to socialism" The mass character relates to the Party in the current period (unlike before) opening its doors to a wider membership and not only just the best elements of the working class or professional revolutionaries. It is not necessarily a numbers? game but rather a question of accessibility of the Party to wider society so long as they commit and adhere to socialist ideology and Building socialism.
Are we capable of leading mass activism for an onslaught against Capitalism and all its ills that generated more poverty and inequalities in a land capable to feed, clothe and house everyone. What would this mass activism entail and how is it related to current party programmes? "?One of the chief symptoms of every real revolution is the rapid, sudden and sharp increase in the number of 'ordinary citizens' who begin to participate actively, independently and vigorously in political life and in the organisation of the state". (VI Lenin). Have we been able to play an active role in this regard and release the potential of the poor, the working people and women to consciously and actively fight against their oppression and against capitalism. The vanguard role is earned and not imposed and the mass character depends on conscious targeted recruitment.
Much as "mass Party" is sometimes wrongly interpreted as meaning massive numbers, the critical point for the SACP has always been not a paper membership but rather disciplined activists operating within functioning branches, districts and Provinces. Who have we targeted to consciously join the SACP? Does our membership reflect our mass character and the fact that we have to attract the poor, the working people, the rural, women and the progressive intelligentsia, old and young and from all racial groups?
What differentiates a party cadre to an ordinary cadre of the liberation movement? Comrade Lenin when confronted with this issue of Party building once asserted the following, "The acceptance of the communist programme is only the expression of the will to become a communist. If the communist activity is lacking, and the passivity of the mass members still remains, then the Party does not fulfil even the least part of the pledge it had taken upon itself in accepting the communist programme. For the first condition of an earnest carrying out of the programme is the participation of all the members in the constant daily work of the Party" V.I Lenin. How far can we attest the truthfulness of this assertion by Lenin within our membership, cadreship and structures. In what state are our structures ? from the branch to the top? Are they tools that can help us fulfil our vanguard role?
Democratic Centralism is the fundamental principle of organisation and functioning of the SACP, which provides for the vesting of the necessary authority in the leading organs and the highest democratic practices in all structures of the Party. Democracy and centralisation comprise a dialectical unity, complementing and strengthening the two "?thereby guaranteeing the Party?s maximum efficiency for its vanguard role". In practice this means democratic debate and participation in decision-making processes; subordination of the minority to the majority; all decisions of the higher bodies are binding to lower bodies and all party members.
Existence of groupings and factions is incompatible with Party unity and Communist democracy. Democratic Centralism, Criticism and self-criticism and discipline are meant to avoid existence of such faction. After all if there has been vibrant discussion and "that discussion has been closed after criticism and self criticism has run its course and a decision has been made unity of will and unity of action of all Party members become indispensable conditions?"(Stalin). Is this true of our Party and cadres today? Do we harbour elements that refuse to bow to the will of the majority? Do we have cadres who think only their views are correct and thus continue to take their own positions even after decisions have been taken or who continue to question and undermine the decisions of higher authority? Are there tendencies or groupings within the Party? How do we address these if they exist as those are incompatible with the Party?
Communist discipline and morality
Discipline is the voluntary and conscious assumptions of duties and responsibilities by members in the interest of class, race and gender emancipation without hope for personal gain. Discipline is characterised by the greatest democracy, theoretical grounding and active participation in the activities and struggles of the masses and by the spirit of comradeship, service and sacrifice. Communist discipline is not mechanical, does not depend on being monitored but is a result of internalising the communist values, traditions and morality. Have we built a Party of such cadres?
What exists of Party morality in the context of a capitalist society and the overt daily stark contradiction of our management of capitalism? In this context what can be sacrificed and what cannot, what exists of Communist morality? How have the capitalist values and practices affected or impacted on our membership? How do Party cadre give leadership by the way they live their lives; their respect of and attitude to women? In their daily lives and relationship do Party cadres reflect their hatred foe any kind of oppression and exploitation of women? Have male cadres resolved the patriarchal contradictions in their own families and in society? Have women cadres freed themselves of patriarchal oppression? Have they managed to develop personal strategies and tactics to struggle in their own "private" lives against their oppression? Are all Party cadres leading society in their attitude to and fight against all forms of conservatism be it in relation to sexism, racism, ethnicity, fundamentalism, etc. Communists are differentiated not only through their slogans but rather by the way they live their lives.
Leadership and leadership to society
A strong Party needs a strong leadership at all levels. Leadership is a function of membership ? if we have active cadres, they would be able to elect from their ranks the best cadres with all the values and characteristics outlined above. Such a leadership would be imbued with all the necessary tools of Marxist-Leninist theory and steeled and tampered in struggle. That is a leadership that would be able to pull the Party through even at the worst of moments. Does the way we select and elect leadership lend itself to producing such leadership at all levels of our Party? Is our leadership what we could call the best Communists? Is our leadership representative of our society and membership of our Party?
Is our Party giving leadership to society through its programmes and its leadership collective? Is our leadership, as a collective and as a process respected and sought after in society? How does our leadership impact on our Allies and on society? Are our ideas gaining hegemony?
Does our understanding of and use of quotas ensure that the best of our women cadres are elected to responsibilities? Or do these systems undermine the very basis for their use? Have we projected on how we can ensure that in the long term we do not have to rely on affirmative action mechanisms? What do we do to support and continue the political development of women based on our understanding of the workings of patriarchal relations at home and in public?
Some Practical Challenges and Questions
Our response to the above questions and others that will help us develop the best strategies and tactics to build our Party. As earlier indicated the starting point should be the reviewal of Party Building since our last Congress and the implementation of Congress resolutions as well as resolutions and programmes from all the Strategy Conferences and Annual Programmes..
Some of the challenges that were analysed in some of our PBC reports are:-
Internal state of the Party:
SACP Leadership ?
The un-evenness in composition of the Party and work by its members at all levels:
Relating Party building to the stratification of the working class as discussed in Section 1 above.
What should the appropriate relationship between the mass character and the vanguard role of the SACP? What are the conditions which determine the kind of Party we want?
Most of the worrying trend is at the lowest level of our structures particularly districts and branches.
Which districts can afford office rentals, a volunteer and basic telephone? Has the district thought about fundraising for this reason? When can we set the deadline for district offices? How do we address all of this?
Influence of the Party in broader society and key centres of power
This area needs strategic thinking and good approach. If handled correctly it can yield wonderful results. We identify this as among other the following key areas:
Levels and quality participation and impact on the alliance structures and programmes. How have we fared in this regard and how can we improve?
What is the role for all Party cadres in alliance structures?
Presence and influence of the Party in organised trade union movement - COSATU and affiliated unions, Fedusa and Nactu and independent unions
Role of the Party in relation Indian workers, coloured and white workers and other working class and social formations
Participation of Party cadres in structures such as the ANCWL, Women?s National Coalition and other women and gender structures. What happened to the SACP initiative of building a strong Women?s Movement?
Informal sector given its rapid growth for instance hawkers. How far are we interacting with the informal sector especially in view of its rapid growth. What methods should we use to mobilise them, initiate and improve communication with them.
Participation in, mobilising and interacting with Cooperatives - stokvels, burial societies etc Land movements, HIV/AIDS organisations, CPF?s, SGB?s, Ward committees and progressive NGOs
Participating and giving leadership at Local Government level by our lower structures.
How do we ensure strong participation and influence of the Party in governance matters. How do we ensure that Communist remain true to the Party programme while simultaneously fulfilling their mandate in government. How do we address some of the tensions that may emerge in these mandates?
How do communists in the civil service remain true to their role and how can they relate to the Party? Do any of them even pay their Party dues, or do any Party work without contravening whatever laws and regulations bind them?
What is the impact of the geographical spread of SACP structures on our influence in broader society?
What is the extent of the urban and rural spread and penetration of the SACP? What is our organising strategy around land and agrarian reform insofar as the mobilisation of the rural masses and farm-workers as part of the motive force of the revolution? Can we rely on the mercy of the editors to represent the working class and the poor by not recruiting members in the established media institutions and houses? Shouldn?t we broaden the reach of our own media too? Should our structures not find ways of doing this in their respective areas. What strategy to recruit them? We also need to strike a working relationship with them on common issues and what would be these issues? What relations if any should we have with them and their organised formations?
Media fraternity -
Professionals and Intellectuals -
The black bourgeoisie?
Are there other key centres of power and influence that we should be targeting and how?
Socialism is the Future build it now. Building Socialism begins with a small step of Building the Party. What is to be done to ensure we build a party capable of building socialism.
The 10th Congress adopted a resolution on a Young Communist League. The resolution emphasised the significance of the youth as a critical part of the working class and other progressive forces in the ongoing national democratic struggle and the struggle for socialism. The resolution committed the CC Committee to facilitate a thorough discussion within the ranks of the SACP on whether we should establish a YCL. The resolution also mandated the CC to establish national and provincial youth desks which would, amongst other things, engage with the ANC Youth League, and broader democratic movement structures, including SASCO, COSAS and other progressive youth organisations.
What has been done in this regard? What is our experience of the youth desks? Further, what should be our conceptualisation and theorisation of the concept of youth and socialism in the South African and Southern African contexts? What is our analysis of South African youth today? What should be our SACP strategy and programme for mobilising youth for socialism? What is youth? Who and what makes up South African youth?
We also need to look closely at: -
Youth in rural areas, informal settlements, townships, inner cities and suburbs
Socio-economic conditions of existence of South African youth ? politics, culture, religion, education, the economy, HIV/AIDS and health, gender inequalities
The state of the youth movement
The state of the student movement
Youth in the Southern African region and the world
The CC appointed a Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) to facilitate a review of our party?s Constitution to be considered at the 11th Congress. The tasks of the Commission are to:
facilitate and co-ordinate a review and amendments of the SACP Constitution by SACP structures
facilitate and co-ordinate of input by SACP structures to the constitutional review process
summarise and circulate a summary of issues which have come up since the 10th SACP Congress for consideration in the constitutional review process
consolidate input and submissions from SACP structures into amendments and recommendations to the Central Committee and the 11th Congress
prepare a Congress Commission on constitutional review and amendments.
It is proposed that the Congress Commission on constitutional review and amendments must be made up as follows: -
Constitutional Review Commission
10 representatives per province (broken down as 2 PEC, 2 district and 6 from branches)
In summary the issues identified by the CC which require to be addressed during the Constitutional Review Process are:
How should SACP structures (branches and districts, units, etc.) be demarcated given the new demarcation of municipal boundaries?
Whether the SACP Constitution should specify a quorum for branch meetings and all other meetings?
Whether the SACP should allow individuals who are not South Africans to be members of the SACP with full rights?
Whether the SACP Constitution should include induction and probation procedures?
What should be the composition, roles, tasks, duties and obligations of branches in relation to units and clarification on industrial units/branches?
Whether the SACP Constitution?s provisions on the disciplinary process are adequate and whether there is a need for a detailed disciplinary procedure and structures in the SACP Constitution or in a separate Code of Conduct including the detailing of offences and penalties?
What disciplinary structures the SACP needs at the different levels and the need to clarify the role of these in line with the first bullet above?
Whether the SACP Constitution should stipulate in detail nomination and election procedures for election to all leadership structures of the SACP?
Whether the requirement for a minimum of 75 Congress delegates (from the Congress floor) is sufficient to second a nomination for office bearer and CC elections? Should the Congress not pass a special resolution stipulating that any nomination from the Congress floor to an office bearer position and for the CC must receive, for example, 25% support of Congress delegates for election of the new CC?
Whether SACP employees can be elected to a constitutional structure at the same level where they are employed and are supposed to account?
Whether elected SACP leaders should stand for election in "lower" level SACP structures?
Which CC members should be fulltime in addition to the General Secretary?
Whether there is a need to review the co-option provisions in the Constitution in order to take into account a range of factors including the co-option of SACP veterans into SACP Constitutional structures?
Whether the PB should include some form of provincial representation?
Whether the SACP Constitution should specifically state that a PWC and DWC should be made of all provincial and district office bearers respectively?
Whether it is appropriate for the SACP to write the ANC into its Constitution as it is the case? Is this formulation for an organisational constitution or a political programme?
Whether there is a need to tighten provisions on the roles, duties, tasks, obligations and accountability of all SACP members to the SACP programme, constitution, policies and structures?
Of course, this is not a full list of issues. Branch and other SACP structures in your province are free to identify other issues that should be considered as part of our review of the constitution. The deadline for receiving amendments to the Constitution is 30 May.
The CC has identified the following awards to be conferred at the Congress: -
Chris Hani Peace Award for outstanding contribution and service to South Africa (awarded to Walter Sisulu in 1995 and Nelson Mandela in 1998)
Moses Kotane Award for outstanding service to the SACP (awarded to Brian Bunting and Billy Nair in 1998)
JB Marks Award for best district
Florence Matomela Award for best branch
The CC calls on all SACP structures to submit nominations by 30 May.
The 11th Congress will be constituted by Voting Delegates as follows: -
Central Committee ? 35
Branch Delegates ? maximum of 900
District Secretaries ? 55
PECs ? proportionally per province not representing more than 10% of branch delegates. The PEC delegation must also include all provincial office bearers.
Non-voting delegates will also be invited from the ANC, COSATU, MDM, civil society, SACP Veterans, international and other guests.
The CC has also decided that the overall membership statistics for deciding the Congress delegation will be up to 31 April 2002 and that overall membership can grow by up to 25% until 31 April 2002. The final numbers of delegates from branches and districts will also be determined by the outcome of the audit of the state of districts and branches.
The allocation of branch delegates will be based on proportional allocations to provinces as per membership statistics in each province. This will done through dividing the membership figure in each province with the overall national membership figure and then allocating delegates from branches to each province based on the percentage of members in each province.
The second step will then be to allocate delegates to branches proportional to their membership. The rule to be followed is to ensure at least 1 delegate for every branch existing constitutionally (minimum of 25 members who are in good standing) and functioning (as per audit of branches and districts to be done as outlined below). The second rule then is to allocate 1 more delegate per branch for every branch with between 51-100 members in good standing and 1 more delegate for branches with more than 100 members in good standing giving a maximum of 3 delegates per branch.
Each branch is considered to be launched on the basis the branch held its AGM in the period from January 2001 and that it is functional as per the the audit of the state of districts and branches.
Criteria for Congress delegates from branches
They must be members in good standing who are up to date with their payments of membership fees, subscription fees and other dues levied on members by the Central Committee.
They must be members in good standing with regard to active participation at the SACP branch (including 60% attendance of branch meetings and other activities, good performance of SACP work and other deployments) They must be members in good standing with regard to discipline as outlined in the SACP Constitution. All delegates to the Congress from branches must be elected by a quorate and constitutional Branch General Meeting. Each BGM must have minimum of 50% + 1 of its members in good standing physically present at the Branch General Meeting (this does not include apologies for absence).
The attendance register for these Branch General Meetings will be issued by the Central Committee and will ensure that the following details are provided by members present in such a meeting ? full names, ID number, full residential address, SACP Membership Number, Expiry Date of SACP Membership and the Signature of each member present). Women must make at least 33% of the branch delegation.
The audit will also help with the finalisation of the State of the Organisation Report to the 11th Congress and the shortlist of candidates for the JB Marks and Florence Matomela Awards. The audit will cover the period - January 1999 to April 2002
The auditing process will include:
Filling of an Audit Form by BEC and to be adopted by Branch General Meeting (similar for district)
Supplementary Verification by the province and district
Submission of final forms to the Party Building Commission
Verification, random sampling and visits to provinces by the PBC
Final report and recommendations from the PBC to the PB and CC
The auditing process will focus on the functioning of Structures (BECs, DECs, other structures such as sub-committees and Constitutional meetings by focusing on: -
The composition (age, class, gender and class profile) of structures
Weaknesses, Strengths, Achievements and Failures of structures
Problems encountered, how they were dealt with
Implementation of SACP Annual Programmes of Action and Campaigns for 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 focusing on activities undertaken by each structure, assessing the impact of these activities on the alliance and local community, problems encountered in undertaking SACP Programmes and Campaigns and how they were addressed
The functioning of the Alliance at the level of operation of each structure
The impact and influence of the structure on the alliance and the local community
Assessing how political education, cadreship development and fundraising are conducted
SACP Publications ? what each structure does with SACP Publications and Umrabulo? Whether each structure developed any short-term or long-term publications? Assessing the impact of these publications on the work of the structure?
Membership statistics for branches - Total Paid Up, Active vs inactive members, Men vs Women, New vs old members, Strengths vs weaknesses of members
Membership statistics for district - Total Paid Up and branches, Active vs inactive branches, Men vs Women, Evenness vs unevenness in branches, Strengths vs weaknesses of branches
The time-frames for this auditing process are: -
- Circulation of Audit Form - 22 March
- BEC and DEC meetings - 11 to 30 March
- BGMs and District Councils ? 1-15 April
- Supplementary Verification ? 30 April 04 to 18 Marc18 March - 18 April
- Final audit and references to SACP HQ - 30 April 10 May
- Study of each report by National PBC ? 01- 15 May
- Provincial Visits ? 15 May ? 15 June 05 June - 15 June Final Report and Recommendations 30 June
All the above will be overseen by a Credentials Committee which is constituted of the SACP General Secretary, the SACP Deputy General Secretary, Provincial Secretaries and the SACP National Organiser.
The CC is required to discuss and take decisions on these issues.
The CC has adopted the following rules for the nomination of CC members to be elected to the new CC by the 11th Congress: -
Provinces must submit nominations adopted by constitutional and quorate Provincial Councils by 31 May
Each nomination must receive the endorsement and secondment of 2 other provinces (as per resolution of a constitutional and quorate Provincial Council) by 31 May
Nominations for office bearers or CC members from the Congress floor must receive secondment by 25% of Congress delegates for the CC
The Process of Discussion
In the first instance Branch Meetings, District Councils, PEC Meetings, Provincial Councils (in March and May) will be the space for discussion in lower structures of the SACP. Following these discussions, reports to the drafting teams are required from Provincial Secretaries by 31 March. In turn, the drafting teams will report to the CC meeting planned for 12 April. The CC will hold a further discussion and the drafting teams will then finalise and concretise a Draft Political Programme which must go back for further discussion in SACP structures by the beginning of May. These discussions will lead to a final draft of the Programme which will be tabled for adoption at the 11th Congress in July. 31 March
In addition to this internal process, the SACP must engage other stakeholders. During May and June the SACP, nationally and provincially, will hold seminar style meetings with the ANC, ANC WL and ANC YL, COSATU, NACTU, FEDUSA and Independent Unions, MDM formations, NGOs, Communities of faith/religious sector and the Intelligentsia.
CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEETING 12-14 APRIL
PROVINCIAL COUNCILS 23/24 MARCH, 11/12 MAY, 13/14 JULY
DISTRICT COUNCILS 06/07 APRIL, 04/05 MAY, 1/2 JUNEContact: Mazibuko Kanyiso Jara
Department of Media, Information and Publicity - South African Communist Party
Tel ? 011 339 3621;
Fax ? 011 339 4244
Cell ? 083 651 0271
P.O. Box 1027,
Email ? email@example.com
Website ? www.sacp.org.za
After all these matters raised here, we still need to perfect the internal coordination and functioning of the Party. One of the key problems in this regard has been the need to perfect party administration at all levels particularly in provinces, in some instances there is not even an Administrator. The majority of our structures function un-evenly. Some still do not have or engage in political education programmes whilst others do. Information distribution and assimilation to districts and branches I most difficult. The CC launched Bua Komanisi Bulletin as an attempt to bridge this gab but still few comrades in districts and branches ever know about CC decisions until a CC member is deployed in their area. What is the role of members in such cases when there is no intervention? what kind of leaders do we have? What are the collective strengths and weaknesses? What qualities are required? Are our structures appropriate for the tasks at hand? Are we pre-occupied with copying structural organisation of the ANC even if it is not relevant to the Party? How do we envisage Party structures in this regard taking into account successful lessons from many socialist countries? What is the cause of this? How should it be corrected as this effectively undermines the work of the Party. How do we solve the imbalance in the composition of our membership ? strong presence of rural, factory floor workers, women from all areas and strata, racial composition etc. How do we ensure that all Party cadres fulfil their duties? through intensified ongoing party political education, compulsory induction programme for new members and a dedicated focus on building women cadres who would have overall political authority and oversight over provincial activities and implement the SACP programme to ensure that they focus on organisational building, strategic decision making, inter provincial connections on common issues through structures at all levels to implement the party programme
in core, mainly ?full-time?, semi-skilled and skilled jobs in the major sectors of our economy (mining, manufacturing, public service, parastatal and commercial sectors). This is the main base of the trade union movement. Politically, this stratum is the leading detachment in the struggles of the working class as a whole, because of its strategic economic location, revolutionary traditions and organisational muscle. It is this stratum that has borne the brunt of restructuring (retrenchments, casualisation, etc.). Is it shrinking?
"The most serious strategic threat to the NDR is the attempt by capital to stabilise a new, ?deracialised? capitalist ruling bloc, under the mantle of the ANC itself. Around this attempted re-definition of the NDR is a potential new ruling bloc in formation, dominated by old and emergent new fractions of the bourgeoisie. The new bloc seeks to present its interests as those of a broader range of middle strata and to incorporate organised, skilled sections of the working class as ?junior partners?. But it can only reach 30% of the population ? and its project is likely to be unstable and unsustainable". These various forces, particularly political parties, were analysed. While the opposition parties play an ?obstructionist? role, they are incapable of mounting any serious challenge to the ANC. While it would be "na?ve to ignore the danger of counter-revolution?. counter-revolutionary forces currently lack any serious mass base, nor do they enjoy any significant economic backing".