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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 6, No. 13, 18 July 2007

In this Issue:


Red Alert

The SACP 12th National Congress: A highly successful gathering of South African communists

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

Our 12th Congress has come and gone. We are communists, and we met as women and men drawn from the ranks of the working class, from the urban and rural poor, from progressive professional and intellectual strata. We are drawn from the ranks of the exploited, the casualised, the retrenched and unemployed, from the youth, from the landless, the black-listed and the red-lined. We come from heroic communities that were the revolutionary mass base in the struggle against white minority rule, communities that remain battered by crime and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

We are Communists and we also met as Young Communist Leaguers who have been in the forefront, down on the ground, in struggles against the monopoly financial institutions and the choking grip of the credit bureaus, in the struggle for a comprehensive land reform and agricultural transformation, for accessible, safe and affordable public transport for all, for free education. We have helped build cooperatives and we have stood shoulder to shoulder with the organised working class in the struggle for jobs and a living wage.

Ours was a highly successful Congress that took some far reaching resolutions.
We achieved the main tasks we had set ourselves for Congress; to elaborate our South African Road to Socialism, and within this context adopt a concrete programme of action to implement our Medium Term Vision (MTV), to build working class hegemony in all key sites of power. The incoming Central Committee will incorporate all these resolutions into our final programme.

At this historic 12th Congress we have agreed that our national democratic revolution stands at the cross-roads. The first decade since our 1994 democratic breakthrough is now behind us. It is a decade of achievements and victories, upon which we must build.  But it was also a decade in which, in many ways, established big capital has been the principal beneficiary, enabling it to consolidate its power and influence. The second decade of democracy must see a decisive rupture with the present accumulation path. It must be a rupture that ensures that this decade becomes, indeed, a decade of the workers and the poor of our land.

Our Congress was attended by our allies, the ANC and COSATU, our YCL as well as a broad range of progressive organizations and invited local guests. The Congress was also attended by close to 100 international guests from fraternal communist and other leftist organizations from all over the world. Many of our local and international guests participated in most of our proceedings, including commissions, and Congress was extremely enriched by their inputs and observations.  Congress was characterized by very high quality of debate and interventions, including very sober analysis of the current domestic and global balance of forces.

Our Congress plenary was addressed by the Deputy President of the ANC, Cde Jacob Zuma, the ANC Secretary General, Cde Kgalema Motlanthe, General Secretary of COSATU, Cde Zwelinzima Vavi, and National Secretary of our YCL, Cde Buti Manamela. Congress was also addressed by the representative from the Communist Party of China, Cde Wang Dongming, and Cde Fernando Remirez de Estenoz Barciela, who formally accepted on behalf of Commandant Fidel Castro, the Chris Hani Peace Award.

Congress also elected a highly balanced Central Committee, and saw an increase in the number of worker leaders serving on this body. We are however disappointed that we failed to meet our target of electing at least one third of women into the Central Committee, and this is something that we will have to urgently attend to, as part of our commitment to increased women participation in all our structures, in order to deepen the SACP’s struggle for women’s emancipation, gender equality and the struggle against patriarchy.

By all accounts this Congress proved to be a huge disappointment to our detractors, some of whom left no stone unturned to try and distract and defocus us. Sections of the media tried all sorts of tricks to derail us, including during the Congress itself. In the run up to this Congress all sorts of documents emerged trying to cast aspersions on our Party, its activities and programmes, and question the integrity of some of our leaders. Some of these unfortunately came from sections within our own ranks. Our Party was never built by the media, and it shall therefore never be destroyed by the media!

Now that we have gathered and taken decisions we expect all of our cadres to abide by these decisions, drive their implementation, even if some might have argued against some of the resolutions taken. This is communist discipline, and we are confident that our cadres will indeed respect and implement these decisions with the determination that has always characterized our Party and its cadres.

On the SACP and State Power

Congress adopted a far-reaching resolution on the question of the relationship of the SACP to State Power. This resolution noted, amongst other things, the following:

"That the question of state power is the central question of any revolution

"That state power is located in diverse sites, including the executive, the legislatures, the judiciary, security forces, the broad public sector, state owned enterprises and apparatuses and other public institutions.

"That the strategic Medium Term Vision (MTV) of the South African Communist Party is to secure working class hegemony in the State in its diversity and in all other sites of power.

"That electoral politics are an important but not an exclusive terrain for the contesting of State power.

"Working class power in the state is related to working class power in all other sites, including the imperative of developing organs of popular power, active forms of participatory democracy and social mobilisation. 

"That the structures of the SACP and our cadres have confronted many problems with the way in which the Alliance has often functioned, particularly with regard to policy making, the lack of joint programmes on the ground, deployments and electoral list processes". 

Guided by these perspectives, Congress then resolved:

"That the SACP deepens its capacity to provide strategic leadership in regard to key policy sites of state power, including industrial policy, social policies and the safety, security and defence sectors.

"That the SACP contests state power in elections in the context of a reconfigured Alliance;

"To mandate the incoming CC to actively pursue the different potential modalities of future SACP electoral campaigning. These modalities could involve either:

  • An electoral pact with our Alliance partners, which could include agreement on deployments, possible quotas, the accountability of elected representatives including accountability of SACP cadres to the Party, the election manifesto, and the importance of an independent face and role for the SACP and its cadres within legislatures.
  • Independent electoral lists on the voterís roll with the possible objective of constituting a collation Alliance agreement post elections.

"The SACP must actively engage its Alliance partners on these proposals.

"The Party and State Power Commission must take forward its work to study international experiences closely, and to analyse in detail and evaluate our local reality.

"The incoming CC must convene a policy conference within a year, in order to assess the feasibility, and potential advantages and disadvantages of the different modalities noted above, including further detailed research". 

Congress affirmed the right of the SACP to participate in elections, but left the modalities of doing so to be further debated and elaborated in a policy conference that will be convened to deal with this matter specifically.

On economic transformation

Congress also adopted a wide variety of resolutions on building working class power in the economy, the workplace, in communities, ideologically and in the international sphere. Congress further committed itself to intensify the SACP campaigns on the transformation of the financial sector, land and agrarian transformation, public transport, co-operatives and fighting patriarchy in all spheres of society.

On economic transformation Congress noted that whilst the economy maybe performing better, but it remains a colonialism of a special type economy, dominated by white monopoly capital (the mining-energy-financial complex). In order to transform our economy for the benefit of the overwhelming majority of our people, we need to wage a working class offensive to break the stranglehold of this monopoly capital. In order to achieve this it is important to transform the very structure of production and ownership in the economy and promote SMEs and co-operatives, accompanied by the building of new industries. Congress reaffirmed our long held position that a key instrument to achieving this is an industrial policy, a developmental state and popular mobilization.

Congress also resolved to launch a campaign for the renationaliation of SASOL and Mittal Steel as national strategic entities, as well as reverting mineral rights to the state as the custodian of our mineral wealth and land.

Another key resolution adopted by Congress was that our macro-economic policies must be aligned to an industrial strategy. Part of this should be to align the mandate of the South African Reserve Bank and the Public Investment Corporation to such an industrial strategy. The mandate of the Reserve Bank must be changed so that it moves away from its narrow and one-sided focus on inflation to incorporate objectives such as employment, growth and industrial development.

Congress also expressed serious concerns over the stagnation in workers’ real earnings, while productivity, profits and packages paid to executives have soared. It is this discrepancy that accounts for the recent upsurge in industrial action as organized workers demand a fair share of the wealth they have created. To this end Congress expressed its full support for the ongoing working class struggles and will continue to mobilize communists to part of these struggles.

Challenges going forward

The major challenge arising out of our Congress is that of building strong SACP structures with an effective presence in all the key sites of power identified in our MTV. The SACP must be further strengthen itself by deepening its campaigns and restructure itself such that is effectively rooted in the workplaces and in our communities. Congress also emphasized the importance of building the policy capacity of the SACP by, amongst other things, the mobilization of progressive policy capacity located in academia, NGOs and other similarly progressive structures.

This will also require the building of our Alliance from below, by seeking to involve our Alliance partners in various localities in the campaigns of the SACP and also seek to launch joint campaigns. A critical challenge in this regard will be to deepen political education and cadre development both inside our Party and in the broader working class.

We will also intensify our socialist propaganda in the whole of society, especially amongst the workers and the poor of our country, as part of implementing our programmatic slogan "Socialism is the Future, Build it Now"!


SACP’s message on the Occasion of Madiba’s 89th Birthday

The SACP would like to convey its best wishes to Cde Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 89th Birthday.

Madiba, as he is affectionately known, is a strong symbol of our freedom and democracy, a committed and selfless servant of our people and a friend of Communists. He has always believed in the maximum unity of progressive and revolutionary forces for the strengthening of our democratic dispensation.

He embraced and appreciated the role of the Communist Party and communist in the liberation movement. He appreciated the strategic importance of our revolution to advance towards a society where exploitation of men by men shall be ended. He has always advocated for the unity of the alliance. The SACP also appreciates the example that Madiba set, of knowing when to serve the people in a political leadership capacity and when to step down.

We remain highly indebted to his selfless contribution and the rest of his generation

Happy Birthday Tata!!


SACP's response to the article that appeared in the Mail and Guardian on 13 July 2007 tilted "Red Blade's bourgeois life". The letter was sent to the Mail and Guardian on the 17th July 2007.

By direction of the SACP, I am writing this letter to demand a retraction and apology on some of the information contained in the above-named article.

We are simply outraged at this article, not only because it contains outright lies, but also because your journalist never even contacted our General Secretary or our offices to check on her facts. This is a very serious violation of basic journalistic rules, thus leaving us with no other conclusion that given the information contained in the article and the timing of its publication (right in the middle of our Congress) was aimed at defaming our General Secretary. We are extremely disappointed by this behaviour, as it has the potential to damage not only the image and credibility of the journalist in question but of a title like the Mail and Guardian.

No newspaper worth its name can simply allow the publication of fabricated stories and fail to follow basic procedures. We also wish to remind you that this is not the first time that the M&G has fabricated stories about our General Secretary and the SACP. Not so long ago we had to take your newspaper to the Press Ombud for this type of sloppy reporting.

We wish to state that our General Secretary does not earn the amounts contained in this article. As a matter of fact the salary of our General Secretary, as decided upon by the Central Committee, is pegged at the level of a Member of Parliament, which is far less than the amount you reported. Secondly, our General Secretary does not own four luxury vehicles as you claim. As a matter of fact, even the car that the General Secretary drives is not owned by him, but is owned by the SACP through its car scheme, whereby the user pays half the installments, and the car can only revert to the full ownership by the user only after four years or at the completion of payments. Other than this the General Secretary owns no other car.

Your assertion that our General Secretary lives in a large house is simply a subjective judgement aimed at insinuating that he lives a ‘bourgeois life’, as your reporter does not state it is large in relation to what size of houses. As a matter of fact, no one from the M&G has ever requested to come and see the house of our General Secretary.

In the light of the above we therefore demand a retraction and apology on matters relating to the salary and ‘cars’ of the General Secretary to be published in your next edition as prominently as it was in your last edition.

Yours sincerely

Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson