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SACP Red October Campaign 2017 launching statement as delivered by General Secretary Cde Blade Nzimande

8 October 2017, Johannesburg City Hall

If left unchecked, violence in our communities, in the economy and society at large will plunge our nation into deeper crisis. The problem includes contact crimes, killings/murder and attempted murder, common assault and assault with grievous bodily harm, common robbery and sexual violations. Subtle forms of violence include emotional and verbal violence. All members of society, regardless of sex and age are exposed to the problem of violence. Violence is, according to authoritative statistics and police dockets, very high in metropolitan areas. Unreported instances or cases of violence make it very difficult to quantify the full extent of violence in our country.

Nevertheless, according to a report presented to Parliament in March by the South African Police Service (SAPS), covering nine months from April to December 2016, Gauteng could be described as the capital of South Africa`s contact crimes. The province accounted for more contact crimes compared to other provinces. The Western Cape was second to Gauteng. KZN was the third after Western Cape and Eastern Cape the fourth after Western Cape.

Gauteng Province was also leading in murder cases at 3, 057, followed, second to it, very closely by KZN at 3, 027. The Eastern Cape was the third after KZN in murder cases at 2, 831 while the Western Cape was the fourth after the Eastern Cape at 2, 481 cases of murder.

In politics, the province of KZN is the centre of criminal killings used to further political ends, the so-called political killings. The SACP has suffered major losses in this regard as the first, major target. The SACP called on the relevant authorities to act against the political killings, but our call appeared to have fallen on deaf ears until the violence expanded.

In the broader economy, there are industries where, violence comes across as a means of resolving conflicts, relating to consumers, or as part of organising and competition strategies. This is clearly visible in the taxi industry and is one of the serious problems in the mining industry as evidenced in, but not exclusively, the Rustenburg platinum belt.

As part of the problem of violence, sexual and gender-based violence is not only to be found in the household or residential areas. It is to be found also in industry. Females are the majority on the receiving end of sexual violations, gender-based violence and men who use their positions of authority at work to impose their sexual desires on women, either using subtle or crude forms of violence.

Very recently, Statistics South Africa released a report showing that sex crimes have increased. We must bring this problem to an end and create a society in which everybody regardless of sex, sexual orientation and age is safe!

Although there is little that has been achieved and the problem persists, the triple crisis of racialised, gendered and spatial inequality, unemployment and poverty has received more attention in social mobilisation than the prevailing problem of violence in our society. In addition, there is visible social mobilisation against corruption and state capture. We must intensify our mobilisation to radically reduce and address economic inequality, unemployment, poverty, corruption and corporate state capture. However, we must, at the same time deepen the struggle against violence and pay more attention to gender-based violence in all spheres of societal activity.

It was in this cintext, taking this call of duty into account, that at our 14th Party Congress in July we resolved that our annual Red October Campaign, the one we are launching today, must focus on building and strengthening social mobilisation towards eliminating gender-based violence in particular and violence in general. We therefore resolved to include insecurity as a result of crime and violence in our communities, industry and society at large as the fourth scourge facing our people and democracy in addition to the triple crisis of inequality, poverty and unemployment as well as corruption and state capture.

Violence against women, children, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans- and/or intersex (LGBTI) community must be brought to an end. The extent of domestic violence, abuse of women, sexual harassment, including rape and other sexual assaults, and femicide require a focused campaign to uproot this scourge and re-instate the safety of women and LGBT is in our society. We must, in this regard, pay equal attention to ensuring the safety of children, both females and males, as well as people with Albinism.

Elimination of gender-based violence and child abuse require cross-cutting mobilisation of the nation as a whole. At our Congress we resolved to forge the broadest possible patriotic front to defend and deepen our democracy and a Popular Left Front of forces to defend, advance and deepen our revolution. We need to build, as part of the strategy, a front to eliminate gender-based violence. To this end the SACP convened a consultative meeting last month attended by representatives of progressive NGOs with a focus on achieving gender transformation.

The meeting was also attended by representatives from SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority. The participants provided invaluable inputs, as well as educational guidance. On behalf of the Party I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the participants who attended the meeting. The SACP will deepen the engagements and the programme towards building a mass movement against gender-based violence, against child abuse and against abuse of LGBTIs.

We need to deepen social mobilisation to ensure effective prevention of violence by communities, the government and all relevant state authorities alike. This includes ensuring the provision of services and support to survivors or victims of gender based-violence by communities, progressive NGOs and the government, and the investigation, prosecution, sentencing and rehabilitation of perpetrators by the criminal justice system.

Given that patriarchy and its forms of exploitation have been given increased expression by capitalism, the elimination of violence in general and in particular violence against women, LGBTIs and children is integral to the interests of the working class who are the most affected.

As the SACP we will also be using our centenary celebrations of the Great October Socialist Revolution to strengthen working class women struggles against violence against women. Our struggle to build momentum towards, elements of, and capacity for socialism in the here and now is simultaneously the struggle for, and requires, the elimination of violence in general and abuse of women, LGBTIs and children.

Our immediate programme includes:

  • Education and awareness to combat the scourge.
  • Building effective street committees and Community Policing Forums that work to curb violence against women and crime in general.
  • Building an increasingly vanguard leadership and supportive role that enables the expertise and specialised activism of progressive organisations and NGOs dedicated on achieving transformation of gender relations to deepen their work and to work together with them in combating femicide (murder of women), child homicide and infanticide in our communities.
  • Equally fight sexual abuse and rape of boys and boy child learners and advance and deepen the overall struggle against patriarchy.
  • Intensifying our Know Your Neighbourhood and Act Campaign; streamline and strengthen a focus on violence and gender-based abuse in the campaign.
  • Work with the Police and the NPA to combat violence and gender-based abuse and ensure arrests, prosecution, adequate sentencing and rehabilitation of perpetrators. The fact that there are criminal elements that infiltrated the Police, as the Minister of Police recently revealed, does not mean that we must not work with the Police and recognise the good work that the Police do. We must defeat the criminal capture of the Police and decisively deal with criminals according to the law.
  • Let us go all out and participate in the governant initiated listening campaign and let us convene community meetings to engage and work with communities to combat crime in general and gender-based violence in particular. We do not need permission from another political organisation to convene a community meeting. All we should do is to inform others, including our allies, and further invite them to the meetings. We are an independent Party.
  • Deepen the struggle against economic exploitation including a strong focus on patriarchy, inequality, unemployment and poverty.

There is also this rising phenomenon called "blessing" by the so-called "blessers". This must end. We cannot leave it out in the struggle against patriarchy.

Our people, particularly the workers and poor are faced with too many serious problems.

We must defend, advance and deepen our revolution and rescue it from the trajectory of destruction it has been plunged into. We must wage the struggle on all fronts. The economic programme of this struggle must entail a deepening sense of urgency about the fundamental necessity to defeat crime, corruption and corporate state capture across all levels. This phenomenon of state capture must be characterised properly; it is in fact a counter-revolution, and we must treat it as such.

The SABC, SAA, Eskom, PretsoSA, the CEF (Central Energy Fund), Prasa, Transnet, the SA Post Office/Bank, Telkom, Denel etc.; regulatory and other national authorities such as SARS, Sentech, Usaasa etc.; development finance institutions require social mobilisation in order to work and serve the people. These public entities were forced into crisis by looting, governance decay and corporate state capture. The investigative and prosecutorial authorities that must act appear to have been lulled into passivity and turning a blind eye to the rot. Look at the Gupta leaks. Nobody has been held accountable, even if they do not deny what they are implicated in but seek to give it context. In a way the rot highlights the danger of leadership distance by the working class to state power.

At our Party Congress we resolved to play a more active role in contesting elections either within or without the umbrella of a reconfigured alliance. We have started developing a roadmap in this regard and we will be engaging with progressive and worker organisations. The roadmap will be presented to our annual Augmented Central Committee by the end of this year for consideration and adoption and will be implemented towards a Special Party Congress that will consider a report of the work and adopt the final way forward.

We are on record that the mode of functioning of our alliance as it stands is outdated and must be reconfigured. Intransigence in having the alliance reconfigured will certainly lead to it to be reconfigured through the ballot. There just no way the alliance will become successful if it is not reconfigured. This is, in summary, the way forward from our Party Congress.

We must build strategic discipline in our movement and the state. We must defeat the looters and parasites and build organic, technical and professional capacity of our state and transform it to become a capable democratic developmental state to serve the people wholeheartedly.

We need investment in the productive sector of the economy to create jobs and decent work. Capital is presently on a holiday, and over a trillion rand is held in liquid cash rather than invested in productive economic activity. This is made possible partly by the strategic discipline of the state that is has been and continues to be hollowed out and both must come to an end! Everybody, including capital, must be disciplined.

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