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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 9, No. 12, 30 June 2010

In this Issue:


Red Alert

Fight Tenderprenuers to defend entrepreneurship!!

By Dr Blade Nzimande

This article is prompted by a letter to last week`s City Press which implied that the SACP uses the term of `tenderpreneurs` to refer to all those who apply and get government tenders. This is not true. As a matter of fact, much as we are opposed to capitalism, the SACP makes a very clear distinction between entrepeneurs and `tenderpreneurs`.

Entrepeneurs, found in co-operatives, small and medium sized businesses, are all those who genuinely and honestly go about doing business, including tendering for government work. `Tenderpreneurs`, found in both public and private sectors, and often the two colluding, are those who corruptly capture government tenders using their political positions or connections.

In fact `tenderpreneurs` pose the single biggest threat to genuine entrepeneurs, as the latter often do not have inside information or the necessary political connections to get government or even tenders in the private sector.

`Tenderpreneurship` expresses the worst in the intersection between holding of political position and business interests. The SACP has identified as urgent the need to fight this intersection in order to ensure that political office is not used for personal enrichment.

The SACP is also fully aware that the deliberate conflation between entrepeneurs and `tenderpreneurs` is often done by those very tenderpreneurs who are trying to discredit our campaign to fight against corruption, both in the public and private sectors.

Our detractors, both inside and outside, our own movement also try to castigate our campaign against corruption as a campaign against the ANC. Our position is clear: The ANC is not a corrupt organization! Nor is the problem of corruption only to be found within the ranks of the ANC. But in all of our alliance formations are to be found a minority of tenderpreneurs and other corrupt elements who use their political positions to enrich themselves.

For example in the SACP we have also produced our own tenderpreneurs, like Phillip Dexter of Cope, who often used the cover of being a senior official of the SACP to pursue his various business interests. In line with our commitment to eradicate such behaviour, we confronted and dealt with him - the action that precipitated his jump into Cope.

Let us restate the obvious. We are all agreed on the need for the transformation of the economy and to make sure that the economy is more inclusive as part of giving expression to the commitments in the Freedom Charter. But we believe that the model of BEE followed over the past fifteen years has not taken us in the direction we wanted.

Transforming our economy and empowerment must in the first instance mean investment in building the productive capacity of our economy in order to create jobs and meet the needs of the overwhelming majority of our people, the workers and the poor. Instead narrow BEE has only empowered a small elite, whilst workers continue to be casualised, outsourced and at the mercy of labour brokers, even by some of the companies with BEE `credentials`.

Furthermore, BEE has just become an adjunct to the very same untransformed, colonial type economy, where many white owned companies simply chase politically connected individuals in order to secure more business.

However, this does not mean that all of BEE has exhibited the above features, but they have certainly become a dominant feature of narrow BEE. That is why the SACP is also calling for a fundamental rethink of BEE, and that it must be linked to industrial policy an the fostering of a new growth path in our economy.

In the current phase of our struggle we need the unity of all progressive forces, including in co-operatives and business, to fight the scourge of tenderpreneurship. We also need to ensure that ther is even more transparency in the awarding of government tenders, including publicly revealing companies that are shortlisted and awarded such tenders and the reasons thereof.

Corruption and tenderpreneurship are also rife in the private sector, and must also be fought there with the same vigour as we fight these in the public sector. That is why the SACP and COSATU have committed to supporting progressive trade unions to expose corruption in the private sector as well.

In all this our ANC-led Alliance has also committed to ensuring that our organizations are not used as refuge for corrupt individuals. It is also often this dirty money that normally finds its way into our organizations to contest elective congresses.

This is the original version of the article that appeared on the City Press of Sunday 27 June 2010


SACP Political Bureau Statement

The Political Bureau of the SACP held its scheduled monthly meeting in Johannesburg on June 28th.

The meeting of the PB afforded the leadership of the SACP with an opportunity to evaluate the ongoing organisational and campaigning work of the SACP since our special national congress in December last year, and to discuss progress within our ANC-led alliance following a series of Alliance Political Council meetings as well as bilaterals. Also on the agenda of the PB was a "half-time" evaluation of SA`s hosting of the soccer World Cup.

At a time when many other political formations are in decline and are showing serious signs of factional degeneration, the SACP`s unity and membership continues to grow significantly. Current membership stands at over 105,000, making us by far the second-largest political party in SA, after our ally the ANC. Our membership growth is directly linked to our community-based activism and a range of campaigns spearheaded by the Party. Our current campaign against corruption has clearly struck a powerful chord amongst a wide-range of South Africans. Together with a wide range of forces we will be intensifying this campaign in the coming months by focusing on the blockages to service delivery to poor communities - many of these blockages are directly related to "tenderpreneurship" and other corrupting practices.

Contrary to an impression sometimes created in the media, Alliance unity, particularly at the national level, has generally been considerably consolidated over the past two and a half years. Alliance unity is not about a shallow feel-good sentimentality, but about principled activism around a shared strategic programme. Over the past year the SACP has consistently distinguished between the great majority of ANC leaders, members and supporters, on the one hand, and a small group of wreckers who do not want to see ANC, still less Alliance-wide unity consolidated. The SACP believes that the narrow sectarian agenda of this small group has increasingly been exposed, as they have become more desperate and brazen. Their exposure and marginalisation bodes well for consolidating unity across our movement, and, indeed, for building the widest, patriotic, nation-building effort within our country.

In this latter regard, the PB noted with great approval the many positive achievements in evidence on the ground within our country over the past two weeks of the soccer World Cup. The South African government and the people of SA have united together, like never before, to host hundreds of thousands of international guests from other parts of Africa, and from third and first world countries alike. Our international guests in their majority have also played their part, mingling with township communities and staying often in relatively modest accommodation. They are helping to remind us that they want to celebrate SA for what we are - a developing country with many challenges - and not for some illusory second-hand copy of the developed north.

The organisation of this World Cup has been different from most others in that government in all spheres has played a much more central role than, for instance, in Germany in 2006. This was necessitated by the scale of infrastructural development - notably with new stadiums and a wide range of new transport-related infrastructure. The SA Police have also had to step in on an even large scale than originally planned as a result of private security failures (linked, of course, to labour brokering and casualisation). What we have seen has been a developmental state in action, rallying the widest range of South Africans around a common vision and a common task. Of course, beyond mid-July the key challenge will be how to build on the momentum and experience gained. This, in any case, is not an issue that has been deferred to mid-July, from the start we have sought to ensure that we use the World Cup to lay down a transformational legacy in our towns and cities. This will particularly be the case with public transport.

But if government along with the Local Organising Committee need to be congratulated, it is, above all, ordinary South Africans from across the spectrum who we need to be saluted. What the last few weeks have once more demonstrated is that millions of South Africans, black and white, desperately want to feel part of a unifying programme of action. Let us build on this momentum by focusing our collective energies on the challenges we all face as a nation - jobs, transforming health-care and education, rural development, and fighting the scourge of crime and corruption.

We need the same focus in tackling the above priorities as we did with the FIFA World Cup - a state led action buttressed by mass activism.

Well done, South Africa! The SACP is proud to be a communist party, an internationalist party, AND, not least, South African!

Issued by the SACP.