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March / April 1999


The elections on June 2 are a critical moment in our ongoing struggle.  The basic question every South African voter faces is:

  • Do we push ahead, and speed up change?
  • Or do we slow down, giving way to confusion and demoralisation?

The choice is obvious.  All South African voters, and especially socialists and workers must: VOTE ANC !

A vote for the ANC is a vote to advance, deepen and defend the democratic breakthrough of April 1994.  An overwhelming majority vote for the ANC will ensure we can build on the foundations of the last 5 years, that we can speed-up change.  This is what June 2 means.  This is the importance of voting ANC.


The SACP is confident of an overwhelming ANC victory.  This is the feed-back we get, everywhere we go.  But people also ask many questions.  This is good.  Nothing should be taken for granted.

Here are some questions we get asked:

  • It's obvious the ANC will win a majority, so why bother to vote? 

The SACP agrees the ANC will easily win a national majority.  But the size and quality of the victory are very important. We must ensure other parties do not take control of provinces.  We must ensure the ANC is the largest party in KZN and Western Cape, and that we do not lose ANC-controlled provinces like Northern Cape, or even Gauteng.  Without hard work, we could see an unholy alliance of other parties gaining ground in some of these provinces.

Nationally, the ANC will certainly score well over 50%.  Few electoral parties in the world do as well.  But if we are down by a significant margin compared to 1994, this will be used by reactionary forces to sow demoralisation.  "They are beginning to slide", they will say.  "This is a vote of growing popular discontent", they will try to claim.

It is critical the ANC wins a massive election victory.  We must send a very clear signal.  We want ongoing change, and we want speeded up change.

  • I support the ANC, and recognise good things have been done.  But with a big majority the ANC might become arrogant.  Doesn't democracy need a strong opposition?

There are examples in Africa and the rest of the Third World, in which heroic liberation movements with strong majorities lose their way, become remote from the people.

We must all be vigilant.  This is why internal democracy and debate within the ANC and alliance is so important.

But when other parties talk about "opposition", what are they talking about?  What are they opposing?  The NNP, DP, IFP, UDM, and the rest, are basically opposing CHANGE.  All of them are defending the interests of minorities that benefited from the apartheid past - capitalists, racists, bantustan elites.  They are not contributing to a democratic opposition, they are trying to oppose democracy itself.

Help build a strong, democratic ANC and alliance.  Vote ANC!

  • What about GEAR? 

The SACP has not "conveniently forgotten" government macro-economic policy, unveiled in mid-1996.

The GEAR debate is a good example of the point we are making above.  The really relevant democratic debates on GEAR are happening inside our alliance, and not between the alliance and other opposition parties.

Since mid-1996 there has been a constructive debate on GEAR within the alliance.  Together, we have made progress, reflected in the ANC election manifesto.

But what is the GEAR debate about?  Everyone in the ANC alliance agrees the key policy is the RDP.  Everyone agrees there is a serious global economic crisis, and that our own economy, weakened by decades of minority mismanagement, is vulnerable.  We all agree, therefore, that fiscal discipline and care are required.  On all of this - we agree.

But what are the best macro-economic precautions, what treatment is needed?  Our government applied GEAR with good intentions to safe-guard the RDP.  But we believe GEAR shock-treatment was wrong.  That is the debate within the alliance.

Does that make the ANC government policy closer to the DP, than to COSATU or the SACP?  No!  Tony Leon loves shock therapy for its own sake.  He wants more and more shock therapy to blow away the soul of the RDP. The DP, NNP and IFP want more GEAR and less RDP.

Keep the macro-economic debate open, support the RDP - VOTE ANC !


In the first 5 years of ANC-alliance government, together we have:

1. Entrenched worker rights - the new Constitution guarantees:

  • The right to fair labour practices
  • The right to form and join unions, and to strike

Together, we blocked attempts to include the lock-out clause.

2. Housing for millions - the opposition claims "the RDP is dead".  But the RDP is being implemented daily.  Since 1994, more than 700,000 houses have been built, sheltering more than 3 million people.

3. Water, electricity and phone connections - in 5 years, together, we have connected 2 million households to electricity, brought water to 3 million people, and provided 3 million new phone lines.  In all of this, we have given priority to the poor.

4. Improved working conditions - together, and in the face of opposition from bosses and political parties, we have passed the LRA, Basic Conditions of Employment, Employment Equity, and Skill Development Acts.

This is just the foundation.  With an overwhelming electoral mandate on June 2 1999, together we will ensure:

5. Five more years of accelerated change