Wednesday, March 11, 2009

SACP Central Committee Statement on the April 22 National Elections in South Africa

SACP Central Committee Statement

01 March 2009

The SACP Central Committee met in Johannesburg over the weekend 27th February – 1st March. The main focus of the CC was to receive reports on and to consolidate our election campaign for an overwhelming ANC-led alliance victory on April 22.

From our door-to-door work, from our factory floor and community meetings and from the mass rallies in which we have engaged, one thing is increasingly clear – the ANC-led movement’s mass-base is responding in numbers that are often larger than ever before. Millions of ordinary South Africans are responding to defend the unity of the movement that brought them freedom. They are responding to the ANC-alliance election message to defend and advance their democratic and social gains.

Above all, the great majority of South Africans have a very clear appreciation that there is only one electoral formation that has the capacity, the policies and the popular support to galvanise our country and our government to respond effectively in the face of the most serious global economic crisis since the early 1930s. It is a crisis that has its roots and its epicentre in the developed capitalist economies of the north, but it will not leave any country untouched. Already in China, more than 20 million migrant worker jobs have been lost. In India, job losses amounting to 100 million are being predicted in the export sector this year.

South Africa too is beginning to feel the blast of this grave global melt-down. Already 36,500 jobs have been lost in our auto and mining sectors, sectors that are particularly vulnerable to plunging demand in our export markets.

In the midst of this global crisis, opposition parties and, unfortunately, much of the media are trying to turn our local election campaign into a trite affair of personalities and traded insults. But the vast majority of South Africans, even those who are not ANC supporters, know in their heart of hearts that if we are to weather the storm then we need an experienced leadership in government, and we need a ruling party capable of uniting our country in the defence of jobs and in the defence of our social security net.

The SACP commends the role played by our government, and not least by SACP members in government, in bringing together the trade union movement and the private sector to agree upon the Framework for South Africa’s Response to the International Economic Crisis. Together, we must now ensure that the major pillars of this framework are translated into concrete interventions and are vigorously implemented.

At the heart of this framework response is the determination to continue to pursue our state-led public infrastructure programme, to expand public sector employment, and to consolidate our social security net. South Africa’s stimulus package is fundamentally different to the rescue packages that dominate interventions in the developed capitalist centres. There, governments are stepping in as lenders of last resort in a desperate (and probably vain) attempt to stave off further destruction of value in their economies. In SA, government is focused on the productive economy and on social services. Here the public sector is the employer and producer not just of last resort in the midst of this capitalist crisis, but, hopefully, also increasingly an employer and producer of first resort.

The infrastructure programme produced growth of over 10% in the construction sector, and therefore mitigated the overall 1,8% negative growth for the last quarter of 2008. Our ability to steer an effective infrastructure programme has a great deal to do with the fact that we succeeded in the early 2000s to block attempts to privatise and fragment our key state owned enterprises. In this regard, however, we continue to be deeply concerned by what has been happening in our telecommunications sector. The Telkom sale of its Vodacom shares to the British company Vodafone is a case of greedy BEE elements (and others) compromising our national resources and capacities. We call on government to urgently review, and preferably reverse, this deal, not least in the current global context.

All social partners at NEDLAC have agreed that we must not allow the working class and poor to bear the brunt of the crisis. There are many defensive measures that must be undertaken, among them is a much greater policing of our trade movements. It is a scandal that there is a 60% difference between what China is recording as the value of its exports to SA, and the figure that our SARS has for the same trade. Clearly, there is gross under-invoicing by SA importers, and this must surely implicate some of our major clothing retailers. We call on government to get tough on this criminal behaviour.

A key pillar of the ANC-led alliance election manifesto is the fight against corruption. The most serious forms of corruption are occurring in the public and private corporate sectors. We call on workers to be the ears and eyes of our campaign against corruption. In this regard, we salute the whistle-blowing initiatives of SATAWU in regard to SAA.

The CC noted the good performance of SACP cadres on the ANC election list process. This is testimony to the trust that ANC branch members have in the hard work and commitment of many Party members. The CC discussed measures to reinforce our support for and the accountability of the many hundreds of deployed, and soon to be deployed, SACP cadres.

The CC received reports on joint work by the SACP and the ANC in the so-called “hot-spots” of Merafong, Moutse and Matatiele. We warmly welcome Parliament’s decision to relocate the people of Merafong to Gauteng, thus acknowledging that an injustice had been done that flew in the face of popular consultation. We also believe that good progress is being made in Moutse and Matatiele, although final outcomes will be unlikely before April 22. We call on these communities to exercise restraint and to contribute actively to the effective resolution of outstanding issues. A key component towards effectively addressing their concerns is by voting for the ANC in even bigger numbers.

The CC salutes the government and people of Cuba on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their revolution, celebrated at the beginning of this year. Despite many hardships, brought on by the persisting US blockade and other destabilisation measures, the Cuban revolution continues to inspire progressive forces around the world. We note that, despite some milder rhetoric, and some marginal reforms, President Obama continues to be committed to maintaining the blockade, and now finds himself increasingly isolated on this matter throughout most of Latin America and the Caribbean. We call on President Obama to drop this failed and anachronistic Cold War policy, and we call on him to release the Cuban Five – the five imprisoned Cubans who were monitoring Miami based terror cells.

The CC notes the transitional unity government formed in Zimbabwe. The viability of this arrangement remains uncertain. It does, however, offer some hope of a partial respite for the millions of Zimbabweans who are having to endure an all-round crisis. The respite must be used to ensure that the productive economy, especially small-farming, is returned to viability, and that democratic space is opened up for the beginnings of normalisation.

The CC condemns the continued persecution of democratic forces in Swaziland. PUDEMO chairperson, Cde Mario Masuku remains incarcerated, in the past days SWAYOCO leaders have been detained without trial. We have concerns that torture is being used against political detainees. We welcome signs that the European Union is finally beginning to express concern about political oppression in Swaziland. As the pressure begins to mount we can expect this feudal regime to behave with increasing violence and criminality.


Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802

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