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RED ALERT
Reconfiguration from below: SACP takes responsibility, builds democratic popular power, contests elections in Metsimaholo
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Umsebenzi Online


Volume 10, No.9, 20 April 2011

In this Issue:

 

Red Alert

SACP Local Government 2011 Election Message

FORWARD TO PEOPLE-DRIVEN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

ACROSS SOUTH AFRICA MANY THINGS HAVE CHANGED

Together, working with our ANC-led government, we have begun to change our country, our communities, and our lives.

15 years ago, the majority of South Africans did not even have elected local government. Municipalities were basically whites-only. Together, in struggle, we have brought local democracy for all.

Millions of houses for the poor have been built. Over 14 million South Africans receive social grants. Today, most people have free basic water and electricity.  

…But we must still do much more
While many of us now have access to housing and services, there are still long waiting lists. Some municipalities are doing good work, some are not. The levels of unemployment and income inequality are unacceptable. Corruption is a scourge.

Faced with these challenges, the bosses and their media want us to lose heart

Day in and day out the capitalist bosses and their media spread a message of despair. It’s designed to make workers and the poor lose heart.

Yes, there are many challenges – but the capitalists want us to lose trust in our vote, to lose hope in democracy. They want us to lose confidence in the government we’ve voted for, and in the organizations we’ve built in struggle over many years.  

They want to distract us from the super-profits they are making. They want us to forget it’s their apartheid capitalist economy that’s still creating the crises of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

They want to divide us. They want us to fight factional battles amongst ourselves. They want us to run after the scraps they toss to us in our villages, townships and squatter camps – while they continue to live off super-profits in their wealthy suburbs.

Above all, they want us to forget how we once defeated apartheid. It was worker power in factories, farms, mines and shops; it was popular power in our communities that rolled back white minority rule.

And now it’s worker and popular power that must continue the battle against joblessness, inequality, poverty and the scourge of corruption.

But how?

Together, we must build better communities. To do that we must:

  • Strengthen local government;
  • Democratise local government; and
  • Connect our community struggles to the wider struggle to change our entire society and its economy.

Which is why the SACP says:

LET US STRENGTHEN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

  • Let us put an end to outsourcing core municipal functions to tenderpreneurs, to profiteers and other vultures – We must build, not weaken, the capacity of local government. We must ensure sustained local skills development for municipal staff and departments;

  • Let us reinforce the role of the non-profit social economy sector in municipal services and municipal procurement - including through dedicated support to co-operatives, and other sustainable livelihood activities in our communities;

  • Let us ensure every municipality develops a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy – corruption diverts public resources into private pockets; corruption is at the root of many factional squabbles; corruption plays into the hands of those who want to subvert democracy. Together, we must stamp out this scourge.

LET US DEMOCRATISE LOCAL GOVERNMENT

This means:

  • Involving communities in deciding on local development priorities. Councillors must be subject to these development priorities, including in rural areas.

  • Holding councillors to the legal requirement of convening ward meetings every three months. At these community meetings development priorities must be discussed and progress evaluated

LET US CONNECT OUR COMMUNITY STRUGGLES TO THE WIDER STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY IN SA

Why must the working class and poor still be condemned to live in rural labour reserves, in squatter camps and dormitory townships? We don’t just want more delivery scraps tossed into the same unequal spaces. We want to live where there is work, amenities and resources close to where we stay. We want to live in mixed-income and mixed-use communities. We want to end class apartheid in our countryside, towns and cities.

This is why the SACP says:

  • We must enforce the ANC’s Polokwane conference resolution for a halt on the sale of municipal (and other publicly-owned) land - unless the sale is in line with progressive Integrated Development Plans. The selling off of public property to private speculators and profit-driven “developers” must be halted. If not, we will continue to have green suburbs for the rich and over-crowded dormitory townships for the poor.

  • We must connect our local integrated development plans to an overall new national growth path and industrial policy action plan – with a focus on job creation, decent work and sustainable livelihoods.

TOGETHER, WE CAN BUILD BETTER COMMUNITIES!

FORWARD TO PEOPLE-DRIVEN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT!

ON MAY 18 - VOTE ANC!

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