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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 8, No. 18, 23 October 2009

In this Issue:

Editorial Note:

We apologise for the late posting of the Red Alert as the norm. This was due to work scheduling challenges that we faced during the week. Below we publish our 2009 Red October Campaign Speakers notes in order to further enrich the understanding of the Campaign and we call on all to rally behind the SACP as it undertakes the campaign.

Socialist regards!!


Red Alert

Quality Healthcare for All!! Build people's power to fight corruption!!

2009 Red October Campaign

It is that time of the year when we call upon the working class and our communities to join us in our annual Red October Campaign.

We call on the workers and the poor of our country to join us:

  1. To mobilize for quality health care for all by supporting the accelerated implementation of a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHI)

  2. To expose and fight all forms of corruption in the public and private sectors and in all of society

  3. To defeat the use of public office to pursue private business interests and fight against use of money to capture the state and our movement

  4. Build working class power to implement the ANC's election manifesto

The ANC's election manifesto as well as government's programme has correctly identified five key priorities for the next five years:

  1. Decent Work

  2. Quality and affordable access to education, ensuring that no poor student who is deserving should be denied access to free education up to undergraduate level

  3. Quality and affordable health care for all through the implementation of a National Health Insurance for all

  4. Rural development, with a particular focus on access to land for food production

  5. Intensify the fight against crime through, amongst others, building street committees in our localities

Build Working Class Power to implement the National Health Insurance Scheme

As part of the implementation of these priorities, the SACP has decided to use this year's Red October Campaign to focus on health.

The basic aim of the NHI is that of ensuring that every South African, rich or poor, black or white, employed or unemployed, is covered by this scheme. No South African must be made to pay upfront for health services, whether in the public or private health care sector. In addition, those who have resources must subsidise those who do not have, and that we build an equitable health care system, where we move away from the current unequal and unjust, regime, where more than 60% of resources poured into health services benefit only about 14% of the population, which happens to be on private medical aid schemes.

Through the NHI, we must ensure that no one is turned away from any health facility or institution, whether it be a public or private institution, whether they have medical aid or not!

In order to realize the goal of an NHI the SACP calls upon the workers and the poor of our country to join us in waging a holistic struggle for the transformation of the health sector. For the NHI to succeed it is important that we roll back the outsourcing and privatization of services in the health sector. To this end we also call for the return of all outsourced services back into the public health sector.

The SACP further calls upon our communities to form local people's health committees and to participate in the running of hospital boards that are inclusive and representative of communities and other relevant stakeholders. Such committees and boards also have an important role to play in rooting out all forms of corruption in our public health system as well as exercise oversight over procurement of goods and services for our public health system. We must also root out the corrupt practices of inflating goods and services sold to hospitals in particular and government in general.

The capitalist bosses who run medical aid schemes, who own private clinics and hospitals, are already waging a huge campaign, especially through the media, to oppose the introduction of the NHI. We want to send a clear message to these capitalists: Hands off the NHI! The NHI is for the workers and the poor of our country who cannot afford the exorbitant fees charged by private health institutions!

Working together with the workers and the poor of our country we shall do all in our power to expose and defeat the capitalist agenda in health sector!

In order to achieve the objectives of the NHI, we must intensify building working class power in the workplace. We call upon all health workers to join the health unions affiliated to our allied federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Let us build a strong NEHAWU, a strong DENOSA and a strong SADNU. We especially call upon workers in the super-exploitative private sector to join these progressive trade unions in order to defend their rights and lead the transformation of those institutions as we introduce the NHI.

Join a COSATU health union to fight against:

  • Long working hours
  • Casualisation
  • Labour brokering

Mobilise against all forms of corruption

Our struggle for affordable health care to all and the provision of basic services to our people is closely linked to the struggle to fight against all forms of corruption in our society. Fighting corruption is a necessary condition for building a developmental state, a state that cares and a state whose priority is the eradication of poverty and reducing social inequalities in society.

Corruption must be fought wherever it occurs, in the public and private sectors, as corruption is more often than not tantamount to stealing from the poor. Therefore the fight against corruption is not just a moral crusade but an important political struggle to defend and deepen our democracy in the interests of the workers and the poor.

Contrary to popular perception and a myth sometimes perpetrated by the media, it is often the rich and other elites who annually steal billions of rands in both the public and private sector. Sometimes they also do it through practices such as price fixing. It is not the ordinary workers and the poor who are the biggest corrupters and corruptees, but often those in positions of influence and access to these resources.

It is for these reasons that we say it is only our mobilized power as the working class that is best capable of leading a decisive struggle against all forms of corruption!

We urge you, the workers and the poor of our country to:

  1. Boldly expose corruption wherever it occurs
  2. Strengthen our trade unions as fighters against corruption
  3. To consistently demand action against those exposed for corruption
  4. Expose and roll back all forms of patronage based on use of positions of power to distribute resources in a corrupt manner
  5. Expose and defeat the ‘tenderpreneurs' – those whose mission is the corrupt pursuit and hand out of tenders
  6. Expose and defeat the ‘throwing of the javelin' – those using public office to selfishly set themselves up for private business opportunities!

Build Working Class Power to defeat use of public office and resources to capture our movement and the state

We call upon all the workers and the poor of our country and all other progressive organizations to mobilize and defeat the corrupting influence of business interests in our revolution. Let us strengthen the struggle against the use of public office for purposes of private business interests. Let us also expose and defeat the use of access to business resources to try and corruptly capture our organizations and government. Most promising revolutions, especially in capitalist environments, have faltered and even defeated because of the triumph of money and moneyed interests over the interests of the workers and the poor.

We must expose the tendency of the setting up of companies overnight, using inside information in the state, in order to anticipate and capture government tenders. Let us also expose the moneys that are flowing into our organizations to try and corrupt democratic elections of leadership in our organizations.

In our society today there is a growing practice of use of public office to give out tenders by those who hold such office for their own benefit and to dispense patronage. In fact such practices are completely unfair to those entrepreneurs with no political connections, especially SMEs, who are working hard to build their businesses. It is for this reason, amongst others, that both the ANC and SACP have taken resolutions for their leadership collectives at various levels to declare their business interests and associations.

Let all those who occupy leadership positions in our organizations and at all levels to declare all their interests, especially business interests!

Some of our detractors, both inside and outside our movement, argue against this focus of our campaign as inappropriate on the grounds that ours is a multi-class movement that embraces all social classes. Yes, this is true, BUT:

  1. Much as our movement is a multi-class movement, and that is precisely where its strength lies, at the same time it is a movement biased towards the workers and the poor. Such a bias is informed by the fact that our struggle is about fighting poverty and to drastically reduce social inequalities in society. In order to achieve these objectives the interests of the overwhelming majority of our people (the workers and the poor) must be at the centre of our ongoing national democratic revolution. The very concept of a national democratic revolution is premised on the leading role of the working class in the transformation of South African society.

  2. Being a multi-class movement does not equal to class neutrality. In fact class neutrality is a myth, and is often used as a cover to privilege the interests of elites over those of the masses.

  3. We are also faced with the very real danger of two, but deeply interrelated, threats. The first one is that of the use of access to state power or holding of public office as a platform for private capitalist accumulation.

A precondition for disrupting the corrupting influence of business in our organizations and society is to build strong organizations. It is absolutely important that we strengthen our alliance at all levels. Let us expose and defeat all those whose agenda is to weaken our organizations and our alliance, so that they can pursue their narrow business and other selfish interests without being checked or held accountable!


Ban labour brokers!

During this campaign, the SACP also fully throws its weight behind the working class campaign to ban labour brokers. As we have said before, labour brokers are modern day slave owners. Like parasites, they live on the sweat of the working class, creaming off monies they have not worked for.

We call upon government to lead the way by terminating the services of labour brokers. To this end we welcome the decision by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs to lead the way by declaring its intention to do away with labour brokers!

We also call upon other government departments, provincial and local governments, state-owned enterprises and all other public entities to do away with labour brokerage!

Build Working Class Power to wage militant, but disciplined working class and community struggles

The SACP acknowledges and understands that there are many challenges facing the working class and poor communities in our country. It is for these reasons amongst others that we have our annual Red October Campaign - to advance the interests of the working class and poor communities. Our Red October Campaign is essentially about immediate struggles to accelerate the provision of basic services to all, and to roll back the capitalist market in the provision of such services.

That is why this year, we are calling for affordable and accessible, quality health care for all; intensifying the struggle against corruption; and seeking to roll back and defeat the corrupting influence of business in our organizations, communities and society as a whole!

The SACP also supports all principled mass campaigns to mobilize our people for accelerated provision of basic services.

However the SACP wishes to distance itself from the practice of mobilizing our people, exploiting their conditions of poverty and lack of basic services, to fight factionalist battles for power in our organizations or government. It is clear to us that some of the so-called service delivery protests having nothing to do with service delivery, but are about competing factionalist interests within our organizations for access to power and resources, especially at local level.

The SACP also condemns violence, looting and destruction of property that sometimes accompany some of these protests. No one must use the name of the SACP to embark on such destructive and backward practices.

Similarly no member of the SACP must use the name of the SACP to engage in factionalist activity or destructive behavior, whether inside the SACP or in our allied organizations.

However, in the same vein, we also strongly condemn all those who opportunistically seek to turn a blind eye to the genuine problems facing our people by blaming the SACP for some of the disturbances and tensions in our communities.

We call upon the workers and the poor of our country to expose and isolate all those who peddle anti-communist and anti-working class lies amongst our people and in any of the components of our alliance.

Build working class power to build our alliance from below!