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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 9, No. 6, 7 April 2010

In this Issue:


Red Alert

Remember Chris Hani in 2010: Waging a relentless struggle against corruption!

29 March - 1 May: 34 days of activism against corruption

Blade Nzimande, General Secretary

The SACP Politburo has declared the 29 March to May Day 2010 a period within which to intensify our campaign against corruption, beginning with our highly successful seminar against corruption on 29 March 2010 in Braamfontein and culminating on 1 May 2010, the workers' historic May Day. This is the 34 Days of Activism against corruption!

The end of the 34 days of activism does not mark the closure of the campaign, but is only a period during which we heighten mass awareness and lay the foundations for sustained mass mobilization thereafter.

We must carry this message of the fight against corruption into every voting district, municipal ward, workplace, community and into all corners of our country, reaching out to the workers, the poor, our youth, women, traditional leaders. Let every SACP branch, district and province ensure that we have an explosion of red forums and red cards against corruption in every locality and workplace where the workers and the poor are!

In all this we are informed by our own analysis, and indeed by that of the alliance as a whole, that corruption currently poses one of the most serious threats to the consolidation and deepening of the national democratic revolution.

It is against this background that we must locate the commemoration of the 17 anniversary of the assassination of our late General Secretary, Cde Martin Thembisile 'Chris' Hani.

The SACP, joined by its alliance partners, will over the next of couple of weeks be holding commemorative events, starting with a gathering at the graveside, and followed by a number of other important events.

This coming Saturday we will also be joining the Hani family in the unveiling of the tombstone of the late Nomakhwezi Hani, daughter of Cdes Chris and Limpho Hani.

Let's do it like Chris, let's remain focused

The principal challenge of the national democratic revolution in this conjuncture is to remain focused on the key strategic objectives of the revolution. Cde Chris, throughout his life, understood the different challenges facing our movement in different conjunctures, and threw in all his energies into those conjunctural challenges.

When our movement launched the armed struggle in the early 1960s, cde Chris joined our glorious army, Umkhonto WeSizwe at a very young age and dedicated the rest of his life into this. Indeed there were many distractions in that period, including from those who were doubtful about the viability of an armed struggle in South Africa. When the movement launched the Wankie-Sipolile campaign Cde Chris was amongst the first to join.

When we embarked on negotiations, despite some doubts from amongst many of us, including Cde Chris himself, about some of the modalities of those negotiations, he led the SACP delegation to the CODESA talks with energy and enthusiasm. At the same time during this period, he also dedicated his energies into building self-defence units and joined in the wave of mass and worker mobilization of the early 1990s. In addition he dedicated a lot of time into organizing in the rural areas, informed by the dangers of a struggle that has a predominantly urban bias.

There are a number of things that can easily distract us during this period. Our primary task at the moment is to transform the current growth path and break the back of the colonial type economic trajectory so that we can have a new, developmental path capable of meeting the needs of millions of our people.

Within this context we also need to mobilize the workers and the poor to be at the centre of the realization of the 5 key priorities of government. Just like during the negotiations period where mass mobilization was the necessary foundation for driving forward the negotiations process, today, government alone, without sustained mass mobilization will not be able to achieve the key priorities of the ANC-led alliance.

The last ANC NEC meeting, preceded by an important bilateral with the SACP, took important resolutions on many issues that had the potential to derail us on our key revolutionary objectives, including public spats, insults and premature pronouncements on our forthcoming 2012 congresses. We must build on this momentum by ensuring that we mobilize to focus on the key strategic and programmatic issues facing our movement. This is a lesson from Cde Chris' exemplary life, staying focused.

Of late, our detractors are trying to divert our energies by claiming racial tensions in the wake of the murder of the AWB leader, Eugene Terreblanche and exaggerating the meaning of some of our liberation struggle songs.

The SACP strongly condemns the opportunistic grandstanding by Helen Zille by trying to escalate these matters to the point of seeking an urgent meeting with the President. We wish the ANC can tell Zille where to get off and expose her opportunism, as the President has already dealt with these matters adequately. We must not allow the office of the President to be used to seek cheap political publicity from parties that have no interests of the overwhelming majority of our people.

The SACP also wishes to reiterate its support for the ANC's actions to challenge the High Court ruling about some of our liberation struggle songs. The courts must not allow themselves to be used in attempts to rewrite our history in favour of those who benefitted immensely from the apartheid era, including elements that were in the forefront of sustaining the criminal apartheid regime. Our songs are not just about our past, but they are also about today going into the future. These songs are about us, about our dignity, about who we are and what we want to be!

Remember Chris Hani: Escalate the fight against corruption

During this period of 34 days of activism against corruption we will be commemorating a number of very significant events - the 17th anniversary of the assassination of our late General Secretary, Cde Chris Hani, on 10 April 2010, our Freedom Day on 27 April 2010, a day extracted from the apartheid regime in the wake of the assassination of Cde Hani, our national day of action against corruption in KZN on 30 April, all culminating on May Day 2010.

All the above activities are also inspired by President Zuma's declaration of 2010 as the year of action. Let us make sure that, in line with this call, let us also make 2010 the Year of Action against Corruption.

Cde Hani, amongst his many roles and achievements in the liberation struggle, was a principled and consistent fighter against corruption. In the early exile years he co-signed a memorandum sent to the leadership of the ANC complaining and pointing out, amongst many others, creeping corrupt practices and patronage networks within our own movement. This memorandum, amongst other things, led to the convening of the first ANC conference since its banning in 1960, the famous Morogoro Conference in Tanzania.

Were Chris Hani alive today he would have been in the forefront in the struggle against corruption and tenderpreneurship!

Whilst the struggle against corruption should in the current period be led by the ANC, the SACP will nevertheless be expected to play a special vanguard role in this regard. This is because the SACP is best placed to articulate the capitalist foundations of all corruption. And there is no other political formation in our country today that is best capable to articulate this reality, other than the SACP.

The struggle against corruption cannot be separated from a struggle against capitalism and its corrupting ideology and practices. The very existence of a system which allows a small elite to exploit workers in the private accumulation of wealth, instead of societal accumulation of wealth to be shared amongst all, creates opportunities for corruption.

Therefore a struggle against corruption must also be a struggle against capitalism and its market. This is what Cde Chris lived and died for. In his memory and in his name, the SACP will be escalating its mobilisation to fight corruption wherever it occurs, whether in the public or private sector.

The SACP is not the only political formation, or the only organization concerned about threat posed by the scourge of corruption to the attainment of a better life for all, but that there are many citizens and organizations out there who share our outrage at the pillaging of resources and theft, thus depriving the workers and the poor of our country what is due to them. That is why we have taken the initiative to organise the widest range of forces opposed to corruption even if they may not share all of our ideological perspectives.

The working class as the vanguard of the struggle against corruption

The working class, by virtue of its revolutionary potential and traditions, is best placed to be at the head of the various forces fighting against corruption. It is the working class and the poor that stands to lose the most in the pillaging of public and private resources. Its own jobs and other means of livelihood are at stake.

The working class also has a presence in both private companies, public institutions and in the state in particular. It can act as the eyes and ears of the whole population, and indeed it must act as such. Let us follow the example of unions like SATAWU, which blew a whistle on potential corruption at SAA. It is the revolutionary duty of the working class fight corruption as a necessary struggle to defend, consolidate and deepen the national democratic revolution.

The media tends to foster the idea that corruption is more rife in the public sector than in the private sector or that corruption in the public sector is more serious than corruption in the private sector. This is of course not true!

There is also large-scale corruption in the private sector, except that it is often ignored or be called by a respectable and seemingly innocuous description 'white collar crime'. Crime and corruption has no colour, it is just crime.

It is the working class that is best placed to confront corruption in both the public and private sectors simultaneously.

In the coming May Day the SACP will be calling upon the organised working class in particular to intensify its struggles against corruption.

The struggle against corruption must be intensified as we intensify the struggle against labour brokers and price-fixing. Corruption, on the one hand, and labour brokerage and price-fixing, on the other hand, are not two separate things, but two sides of the same coin.

What is to be done?: 2010 the year of action against corruption

The SACP calls upon all our people and organisations opposed to corruption to develop a mass movement to defeat the scourge. This must include the following:

  • mobilise in their own localities to expose all forms of corruption, and broaden the scope of CPF to deal with matters of corruption as well

  • Strengthen the progressive labour movement to build its capacity to fight corruption

  • Call upon all public and private institutions to develop clear anti-corruption strategies

  • Government tender processes to be more transparent through the publication of those shortlisted and awarded tenders in order to allow for public comment as well as prevention of the same culprits getting tenders all the time

  • Prevent the tenderisation of the state by ensuring that where community organisations are able to benefit directly from government programmes these should not always be turned into tenders often grabbed by 'middlemen', but instead to be given directly to organised communities

  • Mobilisation of the youth in particular to fight against corruption as it is targetted by tenderpreneurs, druglords and 'get rich quick' schemes aimed at corrupting our young people and promises of short cuts to wealth

  • Acknowledge and honour the men and women in both the public and private sectors who hate and act to expose corruption and are only interested in serving their people honestlyIn the public service in particular we can highlight and salute the role of the thousands of public servants who do their work honestly and are totally dedicated to serve our people, whatever it takes. Similarly in the private sector there are many workers and professionals who are only interested in doing an honest and good day's work.

  • We must strengthen the capacity of our entire criminal justice system, including SARS and Chapter 9 institutions to fight the scourge of corruption.

  • Must call for action against those found with their fingers on the till, even if they are within our own ranks. We must protect our organisation from being refuges for the corrupt!

Working together we can end corruption!

The SACP says: a red card to corruption!