Thursday, June 04, 2009

SACP News Update: Statement on Zuma's State of Nation Address; Evaluation of Elections; Position on SABC

SACP Press Statement On President Zuma`s State Of Nation Address

3 June 2009

The SACP warmly welcomes both the tenor and content of President Zuma`s State of Nation address to Parliament this morning.

President Zuma clearly located the new government`s cornerstone priority as the fight against poverty. He located this priority within the context of persisting challenges within our society and a global capitalist crisis and domestic recession. We welcome his assurance that the crisis and recession will not be a reason to abandon our ANC-led election manifesto policies and commitments. While the pace of change might be affected, President Zuma was categorical that we will not alter our strategic direction.

The SACP further welcomes the indication that the Framework Agreement for SA`s Response to the International Crisis (concluded in February this year between government and its social partners) will guide the new government in the key short-term strategic responses to be made to the recession.

However, it is quite clear that President Zuma has committed his government to pursuing not just short-term defensive measures, but also to sustaining our state-led R787bn infrastructure construction programme and to enhancing our industrial policy programme with an emphasis on the creation of decent work. Together with other strategic programmes announced in the State of Nation Address, our infrastructure and industrial policy programmes must help to put SA on to a new, more inclusive and equitable growth path.

Over the past years the SACP has run a series of popular mobilisational campaigns around health-care, rural transformation, public transport and transforming the financial sector, including our Developmental Finance Institutions. We are pleased to note that many of the themes and policy perspectives that emerged from these campaigns now find their place within official government policy.

Finally, we welcome the emphasis placed by President Zuma on our collective responsibilities. The emphasis he placed on active citizenship and on participation by communities in popular participatory organs like Community Policing Forums is absolutely correct. Together we can and must do more!

Issued by the SACP
Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802

SACP Gauteng PEC Press Statement

25 May 2009

The SACP Gauteng PEC held its meeting on 24 May 2009 which mainly dealt with the outcome of the elections. Firstly, the SACP in the province continues to celebrate and welcome the ANC elections victory. This outcome gives the ANC a renewed mandate to improve the lives of the people especially the working class and the poor as the most vulnarable class in our society.

The PEC further wishes to congratulate Cde Nomvula Mokonyane on her appointment as the Premier of Gauteng. We re-iterate our unwavering support as we have confidence in her leadership abilities. Her role in government, as leader in the ANC and as a former Central Committee Member of the SACP has prepared her to gather enough experience to undertake this task with distinction.

The PEC also noted with concern the decision of the ANC PEC and the Premier on the appointment of the new executive (Provincial Cabinet). Whereas the SACP respects the decision of the ANC, we strongly regret the fact the executive completely excludes any of the current SACP leadership serving in the legislature. The PEC is concerned about the impact of this decision on alliance relations in the province going forward, however, at this stage, given the magnitude and scale of this matter, the SACP will refer the matter to its structures to reflect on it.

The PEC called upon all its structures to go back to the communities as promised during the elections campaign. Its incumbent upon all cadres to support this call and ensure that the Elections Manifesto is implemented to the fullest. As part of our programme, we shall also be focussing on farm evictions. Service delivery issues should top our agenda especially SACP elected representatives. The SACP in the Province will be prioritising the following areas which experience serious service delivery challenges currently:

Alexandra Women Hostel and Juskei area
Eldorado Park
Somali in Ekurhuleni

The PEC noted with concern the escalation of service delivery protests, especially around Gauteng and called for an urgent intervention with the alliance leading such a programme.

The SACP in Gauteng fully supports the action by SAMWU on the wage despute affecting Metro Bus drivers. We hold a view that Metro Bus Management is being irresponsible and failure to resolve this matter mainly affects the working class as they use public transport to go to work. This ineptitude deepens our crisis post elections and will plunge the Provincial Government into chaos. The Executive Mayor should provide leadership and resolve this matter once and for all, he cannot stand on the side. After all, this company is owned by the manicipality and therefore cannot continue to pursue profits at the expense of the workers and commutters. Workers in this sector also deserve decent salaries and we shall continue to support their struggles.

Issued by the Acting Provincial Secretary on behalf of the SACP Gauteng PEC
Jacob Mamabolo: 0828841868

For further comments contact:
Pat Ntsobi: Provincial Spokesperson : 0833754363

Statement of the SACP Central Committee
24 May 2009

The SACP Central Committee met in Johannesburg on the 22nd and 23rd May 2009. This was the first plenary CC meeting after the April 22nd elections, and the Political and Organisational Reports and ensuing discussion devoted considerable time to assessing the election campaign and the way forward.

The CC noted the outstanding electoral victory achieved by the ANC and its alliance. The sustained, nearly two-thirds majority is a remarkable achievement for a movement that has now been an incumbent ruling party for 15 years. The electoral victory was all the more notable because it came in the midst of what was potentially a serious breakaway from within the leadership core of the ANC. The victory was also notable because it was achieved against an unremitting and extremely hostile year-long ideological offensive mounted against the ANC and its alliance from a large part of the media and the middle class intelligentsia in our country.

The CC agreed that the electoral victory was the victory of the working class and poor of our country, who mobilised in overwhelming numbers to defend their movement, and to defend and advance the gains achieved over the past 15 years. The election victory was also notable for the high levels of participation by the youth sector, and the ability of the ANC-led movement to connect dynamically with a new generation of citizens.

There are, however, important challenges following April 22nd. The anti-ANC “public” opinion constructed by the media and chattering classes was roundly rebuffed by the actuality of popular opinion in our African mass base in townships and rural villages throughout our country. However, the media offensive did have an impact upon minority communities, including working class minority communities. This was seized upon by the opposition parties, notably the DA, which ran a thinly disguised, subliminal racist campaign in defence of perceived minority interests. Advances in building a non-racial society over the past decade and a half have suffered. The SACP calls on its membership and the working class movement to defeat racism, and to build a principled non-racial solidarity, particularly based on working class solidarity in the struggle to overcome the crises of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

We also need to engage actively and constructively with media professionals, academic institutions and think-tanks in our country. Much of the anti-ANC ideological offensive over the past year has been framed as a conflict between “populism” and the defence of various “liberal” constitutional rights (media freedom, freedom of speech, independence of the judiciary, academic freedom, etc.). The SACP fully supports these constitutional rights, but we strongly reject the notion that these rights can be defended and consolidated without connecting them to other critical rights – the right of all to access to education, the right to employment, the right to shelter, etc. Nothing is more distasteful than the former upholders of apartheid, who had to be forced into our new constitutional dispensation, now posing as the defenders of constitutional rights.

Our electoral victory, of course, now places a huge responsibility on the ANC and its alliance partners. We cannot pretend that our comfortable electoral majority is secure for all time. In the face of the global capitalist melt-down and in the face of persisting systemic crises within our own society – deep-seated inequality, crisis-levels of unemployment, and wide-ranging poverty – the next five years must be marked by a sustained effort at transforming the underlying factors that are reproducing these crises of under-development. In particular, we need to place our economic growth path onto a new job-creating and more egalitarian trajectory.

The CC congratulated all SACP members who have been elected as ANC public representatives in Parliament and in provincial legislatures – overall, some 14% of ANC elected representatives are SACP members. The CC also congratulated the many SACP members who have now been deployed into senior positions in legislatures and executives. While there has been a minor campaign in some quarters of the media to suggest that these deployments are controversial within the SACP, certainly in the CC there was unanimous support for the idea that the SACP, working closely with its alliance partners, must never position itself simply an extra-parliamentary oppositionist bloc. We must assume full and collective responsibility for governance.

This will require, however, that we ensure that Communist deployees in executives and other senior positions must set an example of activist and participatory governance – in which popular organisation and mobilisation is not seen as inherently conflictual with the important governance tasks confronting our country. At the same time, maintaining a strong and independent SACP is the prerequisite for a Party and for a cadreship of communists that are able to build a principled mass-based Alliance. To this end, the CC is also seized with strengthening the organisational machinery of the SACP. In doing this, we will be building on our activist cadre that has played such an outstanding role in the election campaign.

The new Minister in the Presidency, cde Collins Chabane, was invited to the CC to brief our meeting on the newly reconfigured national executive. The CC noted that the issues raised in this regard over the past year by the SACP had been taken into consideration, and welcomed the efforts to ensure that we build a strategically focused, better coordinated and more effective developmental state. In particular, we welcome the establishment of a planning commission, and a cabinet cluster that will focus on economic policy and specifically industrial policy. The CC agreed that the reconfiguration needs to proceed in a phased but rapid fashion, and that we must ensure that reconfiguration does not consume all our energies to the detriment of actual implementation of our key programmes.

The CC also received a briefing from the City of Johannesburg on its public transport plans as an innovation that needs to be engaged with in the light of the coming Confederations Cup, 2010, and the need for affordable, accessible, safe and efficient public transport systems throughout our country.

At present, public transport often remains untransformed, relatively unregulated and operator-controlled. We need to transform this reality into public transport that is a publicly controlled and regulated reality in which the needs of communities are prioritised. The CC resolved to re-launch our former Red October public transport campaign, beginning here in Johannesburg. In the coming weeks, working together with a wide cross-section of commuter, trade union, driver, small operator, and community formations we will be campaigning for transformed public transport. It is critical that the future of public transport in our cities is not left simply to a (sometimes hostile) dialogue between government and taxi operators.

The CC also resolved to reinvigorate our long-running financial sector campaign. In the light of the current global capitalist economic melt-down and its impact on South African consumers, households and small businesses there is an increase in repossession of houses, cars and other items, and the closure of small businesses and the likely increase of black-listings.

The CC briefly discussed the question of ethics for executive members in government. The CC commended the Minister of Transport, cde Sbu Ndebele, for handing back the luxury car that he had received from a group of small contractors. This episode raises wider questions. The SACP strongly believes that no-one in government should receive a gift from the public for doing what is, in any case, their job. What is more, government delivery should not be seen as personal patronage from an individual government leader – it is a collective effort and a collective responsibility.

The SACP in the past week has supported COSATU in its efforts to reverse the sale of Vodacom to majority foreign ownership. In the light of the court decision to decline a ruling in this direction, we will be working closely with our alliance partners to chart a way forward. One thing is clear; the problematic way in which this sale has been handled (which the court itself acknowledged) is just one small part of a much wider problem. Our IT and telecommunications sector has been badly mismanaged, largely by a former leading cadre in government (formerly, but no longer, associated with the ANC). Moreover, this is not just a question of mismanagement. All the evidence points to a systematic ripping-off of public and national resources in the interests of an avaricious personal accumulation agenda. In particular, the future of Telkom has now been seriously compromised. The SACP calls for a comprehensive ICT plan that places at its centre universal access and affordable quality service.

With new legislation and a new Parliament in place, the SACP now calls for the rapid dissolving of the current SABC Board. The imperative of urgent moves in this direction has been reinforced by the new evidence of massive financial losses in the SABC, the consequence of gross mismanagement. The current Board has presided over this implosion of this public resource, and it must now go. The SABC must be rescued and it must be re-built as a public broadcaster that serves all the citizens of our country, and not narrow factional or party political objectives.

Issued by the SACP
Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802

What Is Broken Cannot Be Fixed!
SACP statement about the current state of the SABC

04 June 2009

The SACP is seriously concerned about the deteriorating situation at the SABC, including the worsening debts of the SABC, failure to pay producers, divisions within the board, the breakdown of relations between the board and senior management that has spilt into the public arena, and what is seemingly a breakdown of governance at the institution.

These developments cannot be allowed to continue without seriously damaging the credibility and the capacity of the public broadcaster to perform its role. In fact it is not an exaggeration to say that unless urgent action is taken, the SABC faces total collapse.

The SACP wishes to emphatically reject and strongly condemn the behind the scenes opportunistic maneuvers that have been brought to our attention to try and replace only those board members who have resigned from the SABC Board and do an internal re-shuffle to appoint a new chairperson from amongst the existing board members. As we say, what is broken cannot be fixed! The very composition of the current board, in terms of representivity and competence is completely faulty.

We therefore re-iterate our call for the current SABC board to be immediately dissolved, replaced by an interim board, and for parliament to start a credible process to select a representative, credible and competent board. We shall leave no stone unturned to achieve this objective, including the mobilization of the working class to ensure that we build a better public broadcaster. It is for these reasons that we are throwing our full weight behind today’s protest actions by workers and actors against the SABC.

We call upon the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee to act without any further delay on this matter.

Since the appointment of the current board, the SACP has, amongst other things, consistently pointed out the following:

-That this board is completely unrepresentative and is dominated by people with business interests with no representatives of the working class and communities served by the SABC
-The circumstances under which the current board was appointed were suspicious and not conducive to the public broadcaster building positive relationships with the key stakeholders, especially the workers and the poor of our country
-The news divisions, at least until recently, has been used as a weapon for one political party thus undermining its role as a provider of news professionally and impartially
-The management of relations between the board and senior management and the management of the finances of the SABC have been scandalous, to say the least

Over the years the SACP has also consistently raised the unrepresentative nature of the many boards of public institutions and state-owned entities, with a particular bias towards appointment of business people, to the total exclusion of representatives of the workers and the poor. The SACP will, in the coming months and years, be actively taking up the question of inclusion of working class, community and NGO representatives in all public and state owned entities. We expect the new administration to do things differently than the previous one when it comes to including the concerns and representatives of the working class and the poor in the functioning of these institutions. This is an important requirement if we are to achieve a truly developmental state.

Issued by the SACP
Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802

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