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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 8, No. 7, 15 April 2009

In this Issue:


Red Alert

Let's keep our eyes on the ball: Vote ANC to consolidate and deepen the national democratic revolution!

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

Today we are left with only one week before the elections of 22 April 2009. Whilst the ANC-led Alliance prepares for electoral victory, the opposition, the media and remnants of the 1996 class project are working round the clock to distract us from the task at hand - ensuring an overwhelming electoral victory for the ANC!

Last week we held a highly successful commemoration of Cde Chris Hani, including about 3000 people who were at the graveside on Friday 10 April, as well as the more than 10 000 people who attended the national commemoration rally at Clermont in KwaZulu Natal on Saturday 11 April. We held these activities as part of the Chris Hani Month, celebrating the life and struggles of Chris Hani 16 years after his cowardly assassination. On all these occasions and at many campaign meetings, the message is unequivocal: that never before have we had such a solid wall-to-wall; sector-to-sector; community-to-community elections campaigns by all the allies. Going forward, there seems to be nothing left to stop the Tsunami that will deliver the overwhelming majority for the ANC! The overwhelming response from our people has been: "Yes, the ANC must go back into government with an even bigger majority".

An offensive by elites

Our detractors have been working hard in their doomed attempts to water down both the efforts of our campaign and the responses to the ANC campaign on the ground. There are three main sources of these detractions.

The first is the mainstream media, including the many polls that have been mushrooming with intensity over the past two weeks. Attempts are being made to extract maximum political and electoral mileage out of the dropping of charges against the President of the ANC, Cde Jacob Zuma. This broader strategy is being pursued by the opposition parties including main stream media, led by the Public Broadcaster. In the main there is an attempt to divert from the exposure of the conspiracy against cde Zuma to how Zuma's lawyers got the tapes. The SACP's position is that the exposure of these tapes was nothing more than whistle blowing as part of the fight against all forms of corruption. Use of state organs for party political purposes is corruption in the extreme.

We also find it offensive in the extreme for former President Mbeki to add his voice to these distractions by posing the question of how intelligence tapes got into the hands of Zuma's lawyers. This is not the nub of the issue. Instead, as we said in addressing the Chris Hani Memorial Rally in Clermont, Mbeki as former head of state, has a lot of explaining to do regarding the very serious abuses of state organs under his watch. He owes this nation a proper account for all these shenanigans, as Cde Fikile Mbalula, in his open letter to Mbeki, aptly asks of him.

The second diversion is that of elevating COPE as an equal to, if not more prominent than, the ANC by especially the SABC, whilst conveniently ignoring all indications that the renegades' COPE is fast falling apart. The SABC board, and its senior management and journalists in the news division have lost all shame in siding with the renegades. It is time now that those who serve on this board and still regard themselves as ANC members to step down if they are not to be permanently tainted by an anti-ANC, pro-Cope factionalist stance of the SABC.

Clearly Helen Zille and her DA have already thrown in the towel, and shoved aside their entire manifesto, with the unveiling of a poster, 'Stop Zuma'. This shows that the opposition is now scraping the bottom of the barrel to try and prevent an overwhelming victory for the ANC. Ironically, it is such messages that are galvanizing our people ever more towards a convincing ANC electoral victory come 22 April.

The latest of the opposition gimmicks is that of wheeling out an Mbeki sycophant like Alec Erwin to try and breathe life into the rudderless COPE. We have known Alec Erwin as the perpetual ideological floor-crosser both within and outside our alliance- from being a virulent anti ANC, FOSATU leader in the 1980s into being a sycophantic ANC member and Minister, to now going back to his anti-ANC roots by identifying with the Cope renegades. More seriously, as a minister he has presided over the mess in the State Owned Enteprises (SOEs); from the wasteful Pebble Bed Modular reactor, to the SAA disaster and to the sorry state of Eskom and the selling of our family silver in Telkom, and what appears to be an irregular award of the Infraco partnership and other awards of SoE tenders.

The SACP will soon be posing very sharp questions about who are the real beneficiaries of this and other deals and why was the Infraco tender so rushed on the eve of elections. We hope Alec Erwin will give honest answers about the potential shenanigans in a number of procurement activities by SoEs. In fact, all that we will remember about Alec is his perpetual, almost congenital, opportunism, a jelly back bone , his selling out of the working class and allowing the use of SoEs to enrich a few.

Underpinning all this is a seemingly co-ordinated effort by the rich and elitist elements within the middle classes to try and build a South Africa modeled after their values and interests. One expression of this has been the careful mobilization of the men of the cloth, including respected bishops, the media and the perpetually angry and increasingly incoherent Max du Preez's of this world, and other elites in trying to prevent or influence a perfectly legal and legitimate consideration of Cde Zuma's representations by the National Prosecuting Authority. Interestingly some of them, like Max du Preez, by virtue of being newspaper columnists, are parading themselves as self-appointed paragons of morality and virtue.

Let us stay focused

As a liberation and revolutionary movement we should focus on the key tasks ahead. Our is a task of building a developmental state as mandated by Polokwane Conference and a review of the many policies and practices pursued by the 1996 Class project.

Our task, as we move towards a new ANC administration next week, must include a comprehensive audit of all SoEs including the extent to which their investment policies were in line with a developmental agenda or they are being used for the enrichment of a small politically connected elite. Refocusing the SOE's and DFI's towards meeting the needs of the workers and poor must be a priority if we are to realize the priorities contained in the ANC Manifesto.

Government's efforts must also be directed at elevating the status of the rural and agrarian reform programme into a truly national agenda in order to drive meaningful rural development with measurable outcomes - which will empower those communities to be part of finding a lasting solution to building sustainable livelihoods in the country side

Another priority is to build a public service that truly understands and has the capacity to deliver on the commitments of the new ANC administration. Even more important, is the most thorough transformation of our criminal justice system and the need to effectively deal with the abuse of state organs for narrow party political agendas.

As we said in our message during the Chris Hani commemoration activities, government alone will not be able to achieve its objectives unless complemented by a vigilant and organized working class and the poor. This means the following:

  • Building an even stronger COSATU in order to achieve quality jobs for all.
  • Building a progressive co-operative movement for sustainable livelihoods.
  • Building local people's education committees for quality education for all.
  • Building local health committees and strengthening hospital boards for quality health care for all.
  • Building street committees to fight crime and corruption.
  • Building people's land committees for faster rural development land and agrarian transformation!

Let our cadres intensify our elections work through even closer contact with the voters. The task now is to ensure that every ANC voter gets to the polling station on 22 April!