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RED ALERT
Why the assassin must not be granted parole
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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 13, No. 26, 3 July 2014

In this Issue:

   

Red Alert

Why Chris Hani's killer Clive Derby-Lewis should not get parole

By Cde Jeremy Cronin

The issue of parole for Clive Derby-Lewis, the convicted killer of Chris Hani, is once more the subject of some public debate. The SACP, ANC and the Hani family have consistently opposed the granting of parole to Derby-Lewis and his convicted co-conspirator, Janusz Walus. In opposing parole we are confident that we are also expressing what is a widespread view among South Africans of diverse political persuasions.

However, Derby-Lewis is now reported to be suffering from terminal cancer and this has provoked a degree of sympathy and not only from his hard-core, right-wing supporters. Some of the more well-meaning argue that the humaneness of a society should be judged, in part, by how it treats its prisoners. I think that is correct. They go on to argue that we are a rule-governed, constitutional democracy and that we should not seek to emulate the barbarism of the past. I agree.

But let's start by reminding ourselves of what the law actually says about parole. Section 79 of the 1998 Correctional Services Act deals with medical parole. It states: "Any person serving any sentence in a prison and who, based on the written evidence of the medical practitioner treating that person, is diagnosed as being in the final phase of any terminal disease or condition may [we stress MAY] be considered for placement under correctional supervision or on parole…" The purpose of such a parole, the Act continues, is to allow the person "to die a consolatory and dignified death".

The operative word here is "may", not "must". There is no legal imperative on the state to parole prisoners in the final phase of a terminal disease. Furthermore, in the spirit of humanism, let's accept that dying a "consolatory" and "dignified" death is not something we should wilfully deny anyone. (Although, it's something that Derby-Lewis and Walus clearly denied Chris Hani).

As the SACP we believe that Derby-Lewis is being treated with medical professionalism in hospital and that when not in hospital the conditions in Pretoria Maximum Security are humane. As a former inmate of that facility, as a guest of the apartheid regime back in the 1970s and 80s, I can vouch that conditions for current inmates are immeasurably more humane than when I was there.

Let's also remember that Derby-Lewis and Walus were sentenced to death in 1993 for Hani's murder. Unlike the dozens of MK cadres and thousands of common law prisoners who were hanged on the gallows in Pretoria Maximum Security, Derby-Lewis and Walus were reprieved from decidedly undignified deaths by the new dispensation driven by the ANC-alliance that abolished the death penalty.

But our arguments against a parole for Derby-Lewis take in a wider set of political considerations. On Derby-Lewis's own admission (at his failed TRC amnesty hearing), the assassination of Comrade Chris Hani was not just another of the thousands of killings of political activists in the apartheid era. With the CODESA negotiations process perched precariously in April 1993, the assassination of one of the most popular resistance heroes was designed to provoke a racial civil war that would sink the negotiations and plunge the country into black and white bloodshed. They were actively planning a catastrophe. The hit-list that was found on Walus immediately after the killing also included Nelson Mandela and Joe Slovo.

Neither Derby-Lewis nor Walus have expressed any remorse for their actions, nor have they implicated any others in what was, nonetheless, manifestly a much wider conspiracy. This has made them heroes in ultra-right extremist circles in SA and to some extent internationally. Remorse was not a requirement in the TRC's amnesty process, but it should surely be an important factor when considering parole. In the case of a prisoner serving a life sentence, only a court can decide on parole - surely any court would want to consider the propensity for further offending. An ailing and ageing Derby-Lewis may well be unlikely to go out and perform assassinations. Although let us remember that Derby-Lewis was not the actual hit-man in the Hani killing. Derby-Lewis was the one who procured the gun for Walus and it was he, through his wife Gaye, who secured the hit-list with home addresses for Hani, Mandela, Slovo and others.

Even if a paroled Derby-Lewis was no longer inclined to be actively involved in the background of a right-wing conspiracy, he will certainly be regarded as a model by the National Front protestors who have lately been demonstrating on his behalf. And what about Gaye Derby-Lewis's recent outburst? She characterised the SACP as "street terrorists" because we are not supporting the parole application. The claim that Hani was a "communist terrorist" was precisely the justification Derby-Lewis and Walus advanced for the murder in their amnesty applications. There are still nasty people out there and Derby-Lewis has not disassociated himself from them.

Then there is the wider matter of disclosure. I represented the SACP throughout the many months of the Derby-Lewis and Walus amnesty hearings. Our main objective as the SACP was not necessarily to prevent these assassins from getting amnesty (as much as that went against our emotional feelings), but rather the more important political objective was to use the possibility of amnesty to leverage the exposure of the wider conspiracy and the controlling hands behind Comrade Chris Hani's assassination.

In the end, the two failed in their amnesty application largely because they were so busy covering up for others that it was quite clear that their "disclosures" were riddled with inconsistencies. The most obvious cover-up related to the role of Gaye Derby-Lewis in the affair. She had been charged with the two others but found not guilty by the court that sentenced the two men to death (incidentally Gerrie Nel was the prosecutor in the case). This meant that at the subsequent TRC amnesty hearing it was patently stupid of Derby-Lewis to cover up for his wife, since she was not at risk of imprisonment. So why this cover-up which probably cost them the chance of amnesty? It's possible they were denying her role in order to protect a much wider network.

It was Gaye Derby-Lewis who obtained the hit-list with addresses and descriptions of homes including security features from a journalist, Arthur Kemp. Kemp was working on The Citizen at the time but is widely reputed also to have been a security policeman. Kemp was arrested along with the Derby-Lewis couple and Janusz Walus soon after the Hani assassination. But he was quickly released and mysteriously disappeared out of the country. He re-emerged subsequently in the UK where he became a leading spokesperson for the neo-Nazi National Front. A few years ago the BBC did a television story on his role in SA, the Hani assassination, and his subsequent activities in the UK. One allegation is that in the UK he was posing as an ultra-right-winger on behalf of British intelligence in order to gather information on these circles.

Another murky figure in the Derby-Lewis/Walus circle is Janus's older brother Witold. Witold had extensive connections to the old SADF and was involved, amongst other things, in selling used army vehicles - possibly a cover for other activities. It was on Witholds's small-holding north of Pretoria that Janusz tested the Hani assassination gun.

The gun itself had a peculiar provenance. It was one of the weapons that had been "stolen" from an air-force armoury in a raid by the Orde Boerevolk, led by Piet "Skiet" Rudolph - a former security policeman. Many South African right-wingers still believe that Rudolph (like Arthur Kemp) was still a security policeman at the time, but using right-wingers as part of a false flag operation to intimidate the ANC in the midst of the negotiations process. Derby-Lewis obtained the gun from another right-winger in Krugersdorp, but we were unable in the amnesty hearing to discover how many hands it has passed through, and how and why, before being used to kill comrade Chris Hani.

Then there was Janusz's "employer", Peter Jackson, a "chemicals transporter". Janusz worked as a truck-driver for Jackson and this involved numerous trips across the SA-Botswana border, ostensibly transporting chemicals and "glass-ware" from the Walus family factory. It is hard to believe that these businesses had such an active market for their products in Botswana. One possibility is Janus was transporting military equipment to UNITA in southern Angola.

The investigation into Comrade Hani's murder was nominally led by Michael Holmes of the Brixton Murder and Robbery Squad. Peter Alexander was, in theory, a person of interest to the investigation. However, according to the Dutch investigative journalist, Evelyn de Groenink, Holmes was instructed by the Security Police not to pursue Jackson. De Groenink has had access to a written instruction from the Security Police reading: "Inligting oor Peter Jackson sal nie opgevolg nie." ("Investigation into Peter Jackson will not be followed up."). Holmes told de Groenink that: "We didn't need to look at all the evidence because the Security Police put everything we needed in a box for us."

De Groenink has published a book in Dutch linking the assassinations of Dulcie September in Paris, Anton Lubowski in Windhoek, and Chris Hani. When Jacana publishers in South Africa attempted to bring out an English edition, they were threatened with costly pre-publication litigation by a range of arms trade personalities. Witold Walus actually sued Jacana. The English publication was aborted.

Whether de Groenink's wider conspiracy theory, linking the three different assassinations, is well-grounded or not is an open question. She has certainly unearthed important additional information on the Hani assassination not previously known to the SACP. Interestingly, de Groenink believes that Walus and particularly Derby-Lewis were actually convenient fall-guys, "patsies" (a bit like many believe Lee Harvey Oswald to have been in the Kennedy assassination). By containing the investigation to two bumbling right-wing extremists - a Polish immigrant with a deep anti-communist hatred, and a vainglorious, dad's army white supremacist - those really behind the assassination, according to de Groenink, diverted attention from the intelligence, military and arms dealer networks behind the murder.

If that's the case, then perhaps we are doing Clive Derby-Lewis a favour by not letting him out of prison. There may be dangerous "friends" who would like to ensure that he keeps his mouth shut.

Cde Jeremy Cronin (JC) is SACP First Deputy General Secretary

 

Build and defend working class unity: Drive the second, more radical phase of our transition

SACP Statement at the NUM Central Committee as presented by General Secretary Cde Blade Nzimande

Thursday, 3 July 2014

NUM Acting President Comrade Piet Matosa,
General Secretary Comrade Frans Baleni,
Aall National Office Bearers, the entire leadership and delegates from all levels and regions;

Leaders from fraternal unions;
Distinguished guests,

Allow me on behalf of the SACP to convey revolutionary greetings from our Central Committee.

Developments since the NUM Congress: Defend the unity of COSATU, defend the unity of the revolutionary forces!

Since your last Congress, our country has held the fifth democratic elections, an important step in the further consolidation of especially our representative democracy, including the realisation of one of a key objectives of the Freedom Charter: "that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people".

The SACP has hoisted the Red Flag high, saluting the ANC-led alliance electoral victory, secured with an overwhelming 62% majority of the vote. This popular mandate was achieved under extremely difficult and challenging conditions that included the impact on our country of the current global capitalist crisis and the unremitting anti-ANC alliance hostility from most of the commercial print and electronic media, with some few exceptions. The electoral campaign also coincided with serious challenges to the unity of COSATU, and the emergence of a right-wing, populist demagogic movement, the EFF, posing as left wing.

In the run up to the 2014 elections, the SACP had called on the working class to close ranks to ensure an ANC election victory to advance, deepen and defend the gains achieved over the past 20 years. We are pleased to say that tens of thousands of our SACP cadres rose to the challenge and campaigned for the ANC electoral victory. SACP cadres were also in very difficult and challenging areas like Bekkersdal, Bronkhorstspruit and Malamulele. A major highlight of the electoral campaign was the 123 000 strong march in April, at eThekwini, organised by the SACP together with COSATU.

We therefore also take this opportunity to congratulate the NUM and its membership for the role it played in ensuring this overwhelming ANC electoral victory. It is important for the organised working class to ensure that, if it is to be part of the motive forces to drive a progressive national democratic revolution, especially the second, more radical phase; that it must take responsibility for this revolution by not isolating itself from the broad national liberation movement.

We must also bear in mind the fact that it has always been the intention of imperialism, monopoly capital, and the apartheid regime, to work towards driving a wedge between the national liberation movement and the progressive sections of the organised working class like COSATU. Also, it has been the intention of these very same enemy forces to particularly drive a wedge between COSATU and the SACP.

When we addressed you at your last Congress, we particularly focused on the necessity to understand that the offensive against the NUM was part of a larger agenda to drive a wedge between COSATU and the ANC. In particular we pointed out that the attack on the NUM was the beginning of a renewed attack on COSATU itself. We are now being proven right, including the fact that this offensive against the NUM, COSATU and our Alliance, is being waged together with sections from within COSATU itself. And as has always been the case, the offensive against COSATU from within the ranks of COSATU itself, always seeks to dress itself as more radical than COSATU and our Alliance. Yet, it is an offensive that works together with all the enemies and detractors of our movement and Alliance, using notions of "civil society" or "united front", whose civility or unity is that of wanting to destroy our Alliance!

For us as the SACP, and the working class as a whole, the ANC electoral victory constituted a defeat of these and other hostile forces, and is a decisive popular mandate to advance boldly with the second, radical phase of the democratic transformation of our country. Now is not the time to demobilise our forces or to indulge on matters that divide and divert the working class. Now is not the time to become hesitant in the face of threats from the side of monopoly capital. The great majority of the working class and poor have once more placed their trust in the ANC-led alliance, but popular patience in the face of persisting crisis levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment cannot be taken for granted indefinitely.

The urgent necessity of convening a multi-stakeholder Mining Indaba

Our last Central Committee spent a considerable amount of time analysing recent and current developments in the mining industry in general, and the platinum belt in particular. Whilst the strike in the platinum belt is over, it has left very serious social and worker turmoil in its wake. It has had a disastrous impact on the lives of mineworkers, their families and communities, both around the mines and in the rural areas from which workers are largely drawn. Since the tragedy leading up to and including August 2012, violence directed by vigilante forces against NUM members and their families has now resulted in further deaths, more than 28, including two prospective witnesses to the Farlam Commission. Despite cases being opened and perpetrators being well-known in some of these cases, no successful prosecutions have been achieved.

The underlying reason for this continuous tragedy is the profit-maximising monopoly domination of the platinum sector. The three transnational corporations - Amplats, Lonmin and Implats have avoided centralised bargaining in the sector, flirted with vigilante unionism, and competed amongst themselves on remuneration, in a manner that gave rise to a conflict between workers. All of this has resulted in chronic labour market instability. To add insult to injury, the senior management have been paying themselves huge and insensitive salaries and perks.

The SACP welcomes that the strike in the platinum belt has been settled - incidentally at percentages that are not much higher than those secured by NUM and other unions in the mining sector. However we are concerned that the settlement has narrowly focused on remuneration, albeit an important but not the sole component of the transformation in the mining industry.This settlement still leaves the initiative for and direction of restructuring in the hands of the mining monopolies. Already we are aware that the mining houses are looking to further disinvest; mechanise; close some shafts and operations; and retrench, all at the cost of workers. If this succeeds, not only will it impact upon employment and economic growth in South Africa, but it will also have a grave impact upon our downstream industrialisation objectives. This is a call to duty to progressive forces and trade unionism in defence of workers.

In the aftermath of the platinum belt strike, a story has surfaced that the conclusion of the strike was synonymous with the NUM and our movement being dislodged as a leading formations in their respective spheres in our society. Whilst this is essentially an anti-alliance sentiment, we should not underestimate attempts to use the strike to dislodge the NUM. It is important that we continue the work we have been doing on the ground as an Alliance, both in the mining shafts and communities, in order to ensure that progressive forces remain the leader of our working class communities. The SACP pledges to continue working with the NUM on this front.

We are also concerned that matters relating to the social wage - access to decent housing and education for the mining workers and their families - continue to occupy lesser prominence in the settlement of the platinum belt strike, in addition to the narrow focus on remuneration.

It is for these reasons that the SACP has called upon government to convene a major mining indaba. This indaba must be used as a key platform for driving the second, more radical phase of our democratic transition. On the agenda of this indaba must be:

  1. taking forward the resolutions of the ANC mandated "State intervention in the Mining Sector;
  2. moving towards centralised bargaining for all mining sectors;
  3. changes to the grading system in mining. Grading currently fails to sufficiently recognise the dangers and difficulties of certain work categories, notably underground rock-drilling;
  4. the role of contract labour in mining
  5. a range of social and economic problems impacting upon many mining communities - housing, the role of mashonisas, the failure of SAPs to provide community safety and security

It is indeed a shame that the workers who produce billions in Rand value terms appropriated as profit by the bosses, are increasingly living on shacks and with their children having no support to access especially higher education and other basic necessities.

Given the NUM's decades of experience of struggle in the mining industry, it must seek to play an important role towards the convening of such a summit. Most critically we must drive the strategic alignment of the mining sector with our critical re-industrialisation priorities. This alignment is and will be resisted by the mining houses and we must be prepared to face them down. This year, 2014, is the deadline for mining corporations to fully comply with the conditions of their mining rights licences. According to our information, not a single mining house will have complied. The NUM must come out of this gathering with a very firm response to this non-compliance and actions to be taken by organised workers.

Build and solidify the motive forces to drive a second phase of our transition!

The most important strategic and, potentially unifying programmatic, points of unity in our Alliance coming out of the Mangaung Conference of the ANC is that of the absolute necessity to drive our second, more radical phase of transition. This commitment has focused all our formations on what should be the main content of this phase of our struggle. We are all agreed that this phase requires a more sustained focus on transforming our economic trajectory away from its semi-colonial path of dependence on mineral extraction - a 'pit to port' kind of accumulation regime - to the development of a manufacturing sector, driven by, though not exclusively, beneficiation of our minerals and building local productive capacity to drive job creation, infrastructural development and confronting the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty.

Advancing and driving a second phase of our transition is not taking place in conditions and circumstances of our own choosing. We are embarking upon this path on a terrain characterised by both negative factors as well as positive aspects of our transition upon which we can build a better South Africa, especially for workers and the poor.

We are seeking to drive more radical phase of our transition against the backdrop of half a decade of the worst global economic crises since the economic depression of the early 1930s. In fact the fourth administration of our democratic government has had to operate within this context, thus limiting possibilities for more radical transformation in favour of the workers and the poor.

However, the last five years of the global capitalist crisis was preceded by a decade or so (from 1996) of our democratic government's flirtation with a neo-liberal economic experiment, Gear, which curtailed many possibilities for radical economic transformation in the wake of the 1994 democratic breakthrough. Whilst our movement had adopted a potentially radical programme of Reconstruction and Development (RDP) in 1993, as a programme to be followed by an ANC government after the 1994 elections, it was a programme that was to be quickly abandoned, if not undermined completely, by the neo-liberal Gear programme. The outcomes of the 2007 ANC Polokwane Conference, and the inauguration of the fourth ANC-led Administration in 2009, with Cde Jacob Zuma as President of both the ANC and government, marked an important shift. Amongst other things it marked a rupture, albeit incomplete, with the neo-liberal dispensation of Gear, as well as a break with attempts to liquidate the ANC as a broad liberation movement leading an alliance with the SACP and Cosatu.

It is against the backdrop of the fourth democratic administration that some major advances and gains have been made towards the transformation of the semi-colonial growth path. These advances include the adoption of the New Growth Path, which included the adoption of IPAP, and most significantly the prioritisation of infrastructure development as a key driver for job creation and transformation of our economy. It is also an administration that prioritised skills development and the building of a democratic developmental state that saw some important socio-economic achievements. It is upon these advances that we must build in order to drive a second, radical phase of our transition.

However, we are not going to drive a second, more radical phase of our transition unless the working class is strong and united. Therefore it is important that we focus on rebuilding the unity of COSATU, but a COSATU that remains part of the Congress movement. We need to isolate and defeat all attempts to try and separate COSATU from the Congress movement, irrespective of the quarters from which they come from; as it is a COSATU that is part of our revolutionary movement that will be best placed to lead the struggles of organised workers with progressive content. In fact the attempts to drive COSATU out of the Congress movement are extremely reckless, short-sighted, and dangerous, and therefore are not going to succeed. They pose the most immediate threat to the interests of the working class.

Transform the financial sector to serve the people!

The SACP calls upon the NUM to join us as we revitalise our financial sector campaign this year. Building a movement for the transformation of the sector is a critical component and dimension of driving a more radical phase of our transition. There are five critical dimensions in the struggle for the transformation of our financial sector.

The first is that our financial sector is dominated by four major banking oligopolies. It is a financial sector that is also oriented towards financing consumption to such an extent that retail food, clothing and furniture chains are becoming more of financial services providers than sale of goods. This feature is closely related to the ballooning of micro-lending, that is, often reckless, with a large unregulated sector of loan-sharks. This being part of the causes of the problems facing the workers and industrial relations. We need a diversified and de-monopolised financial sector, with a healthy mix of state and co-operative banking as well.

Another key structural feature of the South African financial sector is that it is largely made up of trillions of Rand of workers' pension, provident funds and insurance products. Yet workers have very little say and benefit over how these monies are invested. In fact billions of Rand annually end up in the hands of middlemen and other providers that have developed a parasitic relationship to our financial sector. As we revitalise our financial sector campaign, it is perhaps important to also reflect on the possible influence of business unionism within the ranks of the trade union movement in being unable to decisively take up issues on the developmental use of union investment funds and workers' pension and provident funds.

The second dimension of our financial sector campaign must focus on matters related to the struggle for a decent social wage for the working class. The fact that large sections of South Africa's working class falls through the cracks in terms of finances for housing and higher education is an indictment on primarily the financial sector of our country. The capitalist financial sector is very smart and efficient in creating innovative financial products to exploit and fleece the working class. Yet this sector has not been innovative in creating financial products that will address the social needs of the working class like housing, education and health. The primary reason for this is that the organised working class has not taken up this struggle in earnest.

The third dimension of our financial sector struggle must seek to wage intensified struggles around a host of consumer issues, including the fight against housing evictions, unfair blacklisting and redlining, bank charges, funding for SMEs, access to credit and the creation of a fair and affordable credit regime.

The fourth dimension of our struggle must be the transformation of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) in the hands of the state. This campaign must start with understanding and publicising the investment portfolios of all the DFIs (e.g. Land Bank, IDC, DBSA, PIC, etc.), so that their investment strategies are aligned with our overall development objectives.

The last, but not least dimension of the struggle to transform the financial sector relates to the need to adopt structural changes in macro-economic management to roll back the destructive consequences of the Gear class project.

All these struggles must act to catalyse and build a progressive, working class led financial sector transformation and consumer movement in our country!

The SACP continues to support all progressive working class struggles for a living and social wage!

The SACP wishes to affirm its continued support for the legitimate struggles of workers for a living wage, including the current struggles of the metalworkers of our country. We also wish to re-affirm the SACP's complete opposition to labour brokers as modern day slave-owners who have no place in a democratic South Africa. It is for this reason that we call upon all parties to find an urgent solution to the current strike in the engineering and metals sector. We particularly call upon employers to display a sense of urgency to ensure that negotiations are always concluded sooner rather than later.

The long processes of collective bargaining that are characterised by all manner of delaying tactics, lack of quality leadership on all sides, and a lame duck approach towards settlements, plunging workers into unnecessarily long periods of strikes with devastating consequences, must just come to an end. Equally, the SACP is calling on the institutions created in our labour legislation, the bargaining councils and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), to intervene timeously in resolving collective bargaining disputes and deadlocks.

It is for these reasons that we support efforts by government to facilitate speedy resolutions to all these disputes.

The SACP is also firmly of the view that the struggle for a decent social wage must not be de-linked from collective bargaining. This means employment must lift workers out of poverty. Employment must enable workers through their earnings to lead a decent life, adequately feed, clothe, house, educate their families and take care of their health and wellbeing. Workers must also have time for rest, recreation and to improve their skills and education, both formally and informally. They must have time for their families and to participate in the life of their communities. Better wages will also broaden the tax base which will enable the state to play a greater role in the expansion of the social wage and the improvement of the quality of life of our people.

Let us therefore deepen and defend the link between workplace struggles, the national democratic revolution and the struggle for socialism.

Defend workers struggles from predatory tendencies, defeat the vultures!

World history is littered with examples where genuine workers' struggles led by trade unions were captured by different forces including imperialist backed forces. In the case of nearby Zambia, a tendency led by the financially secure Frederick Chiluba, turned the trade union organisation into a party political platform. This was not in the interests of the workers. You cannot be a union, a political party and a united front, all at the same time! Also South Africa has a large Communist Party and an anti-workerist COSATU.

Chiluba managed to replace the government and became the President of Zambia. But what did he do thereafter? He became worse than the government that he replaced. He gave away state-owned copper mines to foreign monopoly capital whose servant he had become, and rudely dumped the workers after attaining power.

Here in our country, several tendencies have been engaged in attacking our historical links, including the alliance between our national liberation and progressive trade union movements. Opportunistically, these tendencies have been seeking to use workers 'demands in the Rustenburg platinum belt and turn both these and that area as their base for a country-wide agenda. Some of the individuals involved have always been hostile to our movement, however, others were previously in our ranks. Among COSATU affiliates, the NUM has been the focal point around which these forces coalesce their attacks on our alliance. An attack on the NUM is an attack on the Alliance.

This requires us to intensify the struggle against all forces that seek to hijack and exploit the genuine grievances of the workers in order to pursue agendas similar to those of Chiluba. We are calling upon all workers to close ranks against these tendencies and unite behind our Alliance!

We therefore have a reasonable expectation as the SACP, that meeting just after the general election from which we emerged victorious for the fifth consecutive time, you will reflect and share with us your policy perspectives on the second, more radical phase of our transition. This must include focus on the next five years and take into account the ANC-led alliance manifesto, both linked with our medium-to-long-term strategic goal, that is, the need to complete the national democratic revolution and achieve socialism.

The SACP wishes you successful deliberations from your Central Committee.

 

Swimming Against the Stream: Congratulations are in order Comrade Majesty Mnyandu!

By Alex Mashilo

The end of the youth month on Monday 30 June came with another statement of hope for the future of South Africa. The graduation of a young South African, Majesty Mnyandu with BA (Honors) from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg is the symbolical case in point. This is by no means an ordinary graduation. It is a culmination of courage and resilience from a young man who has survived most of the social ills that the current South Africa faces, yet he had been able to swim against the stream.

Majesty Mnyandu was born in KwaZulu Natal. His roots are at Emkhazini in Durban South. His father, Odysseus Bangukufa Myandu, is the son of Cijimpi Mnyandu, an SACP and ANC stalwart whose name is engraved at the Freedom Park in Tshwane among the heroes for his role in the liberation struggle and who died in banishment (http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/cijimpi-mnyandu). During the political violence of the 1990's, his family was one of those that were targeted by political violence which led to its displacement. According to Majesty, he was displaced from his family after further challenges. This was preceded by Majesty opting not to leave their area to school in rural Harding alongside his siblings to escape violence.

Majesty decided to look for his mother, who was unable to accommodate him as she was married after separation from his father and had to raise another family? At 13, Majesty found himself with the responsibility of taking care of himself. This started a sad journey in his life, where he found himself having no choice but to live in the streets of Durban. During this time his desire for progress never vanished, despite all the hardships that a child is forced to adapt as a means of survival in the streets. He walked around the city until he came across street children rehabilitation programs and participated fully in their programmes. Having learned much about the street children rehabilitation programmes, Majesty thought that the best ones were in Johannesburg, which offered more than food but accommodation and education. Majesty also had a dream of becoming a professional performing artist, despite the background of hardships he had experienced and he was going through on a daily basis. So the idea behind Johannesburg was also a means to access the South African arts and cultural industry.

On 17 November 1996, Majesty boarded a train to Johannesburg (without a ticket) from Durban station. During the journey he was caught, beaten and thrown out of the train by security guards for not having a ticket, but he climbed back in. He requested passengers to help him under the circumstances, which others did. On 18 November the train arrived in Johannesburg. Majesty spent the day walking around in the city, looking for street children shelters. He later approached the police officers in Park station to help him find a shelter where he could stay and be safe.

This is how he got introduced to Rhema Paradise for Street children a shelter, run by Rhema Bible church. He joined other children in the program where he excelled academically and was earmarked for opportunities to study further. His Mentors were DR David Molapo and Mr Lazarus Zim, through whom he was able to access and interact with other international leaders at a young age. With this assistance he obtained a Diploma in Theology from RBC and another in Media Studies from Damelin in 2001-2004.

Challenges came again when his age of being in the shelter "expired", this is the period where he had turned 21 and was expected by law to be out of the shelter. He attempted finding stable employment, an endeavour that did not work out because of high levels of unemployment facing the youth, mostly blacks, which affected him as well. This became a long period of temporal employment and occasional homelessness. However, this did not deter him from volunteering himself in the Works of the NGOs that are attempting to address the social ills in the city of Johannesburg. This is where he acquired immense knowledge about human development.

One of his achievements during this period is that he got an opportunity to work for the SABC as a presenter and co-producer for three documentaries. The most prominent documentary being 'Umgababa from the Ashes' which is one of SABC's top political documentaries about political violence in the 1990's (http://www.sabc.co.za/wps/portal/intsales/pages/documentariesdetail?id=3feefb00491842efbb5effe7f7089e4b&page_from=documentaries).

Majesty decided to permanently reside in Johannesburg in 2009, where he joined the Young Communist League of South Africa. I came in contact with him at this time, during which I was the league's Provincial Secretary. This contact led to interaction about Majesty's background and talent. He provided his skills as a performing artist, in poetry, comedy and music for the organisation and its mother body, the SACP. He performed at key district (Johannesburg), provincial (Gauteng) and national YCLSA activities and some of the SACP's key activities. Because of his involvement, at this time also working with other artists in the YCLSA based in Johannesburg, most of our programmes henceforth included cultural activities.

It is through this activism, work and other participations in development initiatives that led Majesty being identified by Wits as a pioneering human development practitioner. In recognition of his dedication to development work, the University through its 'Drama for Life' program decided to offer him a scholarship to study for a BA (Honours) in Drama in 2012. He completed and graduated on Monday 30 June. Believing in his organisation the Communist Party (inclusive of the YCLSA) he came to the office a day after to present his certificate to the Party, triggering this piece. Majesty is currently studying towards his MA Degree at Wits. The hardships he experienced, and his capacity to stay the cause, particularly his revolutionary potential and commitment to success regardless of the challenges in life is an important lesson that young people can emulate. Despite having challenges of their own, many young people have advantages that Majesty did not and still does not have.

As we just completed the Youth Month and entered the Nelson Mandela Month, Majesty is inspired by Mandela's words when he said: my generation of leaders have laid a foundation, it is up to the coming generations to build.

Current roles and responsibilities of Majesty Mnyandu include the following.

Consulting Storyteller Freedom Park
Drama For Life Scholar Wits University
Founding C.E.O KASMEDIA Community Films
National Spokesperson United Proactive Artists
Resident Storyteller Kwesukela Storytelling Academy
Gauteng Provincial Chairperson Swaziland Solidarity Network
Community Engagement Facilitator Department of Anthropology UNISA
Johannesburg District Executive Member of the Young Communist League

Congratulations to Comrade Majesty!!!!!!

Majesty Mnyandu in an interview with President Jacob Zuma for an upcoming documentary: Zuma The Organic Intellectual
Majesty Mnyandu
in an interview with President Jacob Zuma for an upcoming documentary:
Zuma The Organic Intellectual

Alex Mashilo is SACP Spokesperson and YCLSA Deputy National Secretary

 

Red fashioned designed parade at the doorsteps of our parliament: An act of mediocrity

By Cde Justice Piitso

It is important that we bring to the fore the most important debate about the political significance of the red colour in the revolutionary struggles of the working class movement. The red colour is about the unity and solidarity of the working class under the political leadership of our revolutionary movement.

 It is about the suffering and deprivation, the sweat and blood shed by our heroic working class force across the world, who died in line of duty, in the factories, mines, and in all other points of production of the great empire of capitalism.

Some of our detractors have praised the arrival of the red fashioned designed pseudo anarchists of the economic freedom fighters to the doors of our parliament, as an event of a far reaching political significance. A political tapestry that will change the complexion of the corridors of our legislative chamber.

The people of our country must understand that our red colour cannot be attributed to a fashion parade of mediocrity. Our red colour is a symbol of revolutionary struggles of the international working class movement.

It is the red colour of communism and proletarian internationalism; a colour that represents the historic mission of the proletarian class to liberate itself and all of humanity.

The 19th century heralded the rise of the capitalist mode of production and a bourgeois class as a necessary condition for the developing new modern nation state. The new modern economic system created conducive conditions for its own development, markets for its goods, freedom of commerce and transport, and a new heightened forms of competition between the nation states.

The development of capitalism and the bourgeois class brought into being a new class of the proletariat alongside itself. This was as a result of the massive movement of the peasantry from the periphery of our countryside into the urban centres seeking better living conditions.

The new objective realities of the development of the capitalist mode of production led to the sharpening of class contradictions between those who own the means of production and the property-less class. Class struggles assumed a complete new form and character as a result of the new forms of capitalist oppression and exploitation.

There was an impetus of new waves of struggles led by the working class to emancipate itself from the shackles of the capitalist oppression and exploitation. The Red Flag became a distinct feature of the unity and the solidarity of the international proletariat movement.

In 1871 the French working class declared the first ever workers republic of the Paris Commune. A red flag was hoisted at hotel de Ville in Paris which became the headquarters of the Commune.

It was for the first time in human history that the proletariat and its vanguard party captured the state power, established the dictatorship of the proletariat and begun the socialist transition of society. The heroic event of the Paris commune represented a historic leap for the victory of the struggles of the working class across the world.

Vladimir Lenin had to say the following about the significance of the red flag of the Paris commune:

"The flag of the Commune is the flag of the world's republic, the memory of the fighters of the Commune is honoured not only by the workers of France, but by the proletariat of the world.

 For the Commune fought, not for some local or narrow national aim, but for the emancipation of all toiling humanity, of all the downtrodden and oppressed".

Therefore the red fashion parade by the economic freedom fighters at the corridors of our legislative chambers is nothing else but a testimony of how the enemy is capable of mastering the political camouflage; an episode of how political chameleons want to thrive over the carcass of the working class.

Throughout history opportunist movement have been trying to undermine the role of the revolutionary movement and its political leadership in the struggles of the working class. In our own specific conditions of the South African socio-economic realities, the strategic focus of opportunist movements is to undermine the political leadership role of our revolutionary movement and the history of the struggles of the people of our country.

Our revolutionary movement is the main and fundamental weapon for the liberation of the working class. Therefore the tasks of our national democratic revolution cannot be performed by the forces of counter-revolution.

Our immediate task is to intensify the ideological and political work to elevate the political consciousness of our people. We need to prepare a calibre cadres for our people who are capable of outmanoeuvring the intellectual threadbare distortions of our scientific theory by the enemies of our revolution:

The fundamental reason why political education becomes an essential life of any revolutionary movement; the fundamental reason why our people must understand that our red colour is not just a symbol of mediocrity, but a revolutionary feature of the struggles of the working class.

The task of all revolutionaries is to provide an effective political leadership against the background of the growing hostilities and most aggressive world material conditions dominated by the forces of imperialism and neo-colonialism.
 
Our failure to assume this effective political leadership role will not only emasculate forces in our side but expose our national democratic revolution into the hands of counter-revolutionary insurgents.  Even if they can sing and dance our songs, appropriate our revolutionary colours and traditions, they remain a counter-revolution.

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