Thursday, August 28, 2014

SACP Central Committee: Advance and Deepen Our Second, More Radical Phase of Democratic Transition
A SACP woman supporter.
24 August 2014

The SACP Central Committee (CC) met in Kliptown, Soweto over the weekend 22 - 24 August 2014. The CC discussed and contributed to a secretariat political report focused on the important African National Congress (ANC) December 2012 Mangaung National Conference resolution calling for a radical second phase of our democratic transition. The CC also discussed and took resolutions on several contemporary issues - including the serious challenges in the financial sector, the threat of proto-fascist hooliganism to our hard-won democratic advances, and the situation in Gaza, Palestine. The CC also used the opportunity to hold community meetings for several hours in Kliptown and nearby Eldorado Park on Saturday morning.

Giving context and content to the call for a second radical phase of our democratic transition

The CC noted that the ANC`s 2012 National Conference, the Alliance`s 2013 national summit, and President Zuma`s 2014 inauguration speech all placed the imperative of a second radical phase of our democratic transition centre stage. Since the 1994 democratic breakthrough a major redistributive programme has been under way, impacting significantly on the working class and poor. This massive redistributive effort has included 3 million subsidised houses, the extension of social grants to over 16 million South Africans, one the largest roll-outs of subsidised solar water heaters in the world, reaching over 400,000 poor households, and much more. Yet, despite this impressive and in many respects internationally unparalleled effort, there is the stubborn persistence of crisis levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

This reproduced crisis is rooted primarily in the untransformed character of our productive economy:

high levels of private monopoly concentration,
the domination of an increasingly financialised mineral-energy-banking complex that reproduces a weak manufacturing and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise sector, and
SA`s subordinate location in the global imperialist value chain as a producer of un-beneficiated mineral resources.

The CC resolved that, in the coming weeks, the SACP will release a fuller discussion document that seeks to provide substantive context and content to the imperative of a second radical phase, and a programme of action to achieve it. The objective will be to stimulate discussion across our Alliance and in the wider public. The paper will seek to expose those who refuse to accept that there is a systemic crisis in our economy, and who favour business as usual. In defending the imperative of radicalism, the paper will distinguish a genuine radicalism from those who seek to reduce radicalism to hooliganism, or to a more aggressive promotion of private accumulation by a small elite of aspirant black capitalists.

The demise of African Bank and subsequent events in the past two weeks have dramatically illustrated precisely one of the core systemic choke-points within our economy.

A financial sector that continues to bleed SA dry

The SACP has never regarded the views of ratings agencies as anything other than self-interested advice to speculators. Moody`s downgrading of all SA`s banks in the aftermath of the demise of African Bank had little to do with its disapproval of speculative activity preying upon the poor, and everything to do with its disappointment that the Reserve Bank`s partial bail out and restructuring of African Bank was not loaded entirely onto the South African tax-payer, with major investors in the Bank being forced to take a 10% "haircut".

Nevertheless, whatever Moody`s reasoning, the fact is that the downgrade had its origins in the reckless promotion of unaffordable lending to working people and the poor. The CC noted that the involvement in one way or another of so-called reputable banks (and retailers) in these practices, has now emerged as a major threat to the reputation and credit-worthiness of the country. Those commentators who have grown accustomed to blaming the struggles of the working class for negative credit ratings must surely now be obliged to acknowledge the role of speculative profit-seeking by financial institutions.

The problem runs deeper than just the conventional financial institutions. The symbiotic relationship between African Bank and Ellerines underlines the degree to which wide swathes of our economy have become financialised. Increasingly, major retailers in basic consumer lines like furniture, clothing and food are gouging their profits not so much from what they sell as from punitive interest on credit advanced.

The SACP calls on all regulatory authorities, including the Reserve Bank and the National Credit Regulator, to root out "business models" predicated on promoting indebtedness among workers and the poor.

Beware of false rumours being spread about retirement funds

The SACP calls upon workers and public servants not to resign on the basis of unfounded rumours that government is planning to take away people`s hard-earned pensions and prevent them from accessing their funds. In some cases these rumours are being deliberately fanned by anti-Alliance elements in the union movement for their own narrow political ends. We are aware of teachers and health-care workers who are resigning from their jobs in order to access their money in the mistaken belief that they may be denied access to their funds in the future.

Those fanning these rumours are acting in the most irresponsible way. Not only are the rumours wrong, they expose those panicked into resigning to serious losses. For instance, if you resign in order to withdraw your retirement funds only R25 000 of those savings are tax free. Whereas on retirement R500,000 is tax free.

The rumour-mongers are deliberately confusing retirement reforms under way directed at provident funds. There are currently no measures in place to force workers on resigning from their jobs to preserve their retirement savings. What will take effect from March next year is that only when they retire will members of a provident fund be obliged to use two-thirds of what they have saved after March 2015 to purchase an annuity (a monthly pension). However, whatever has been saved up till March 2015 will still be available as a lump sum on retirement.

In the case of public servants, their pensions are regulated in terms of the Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) rules. The GEPF will not change at this stage. Government is obliged to consult workers before any proposals or reforms can be put into law. Proposals by government aimed at lowering charges on pension funds, encouraging workers to keep their savings until retirement, and convert some of their retirement savings into income at retirement are some of the proposals for consultation with all workers.

The SACP calls upon Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration to disseminate information to all workers, assuring them that the law has not changed and that workers have access to their hard-earned pension funds.

Defend our democratic institutions from hooliganism

The Communist Party way back in the 1920s was the pioneering political formation in calling for a democratic, non-racial, one-person one-vote parliament in our country. Communists have suffered persecution and even death in the struggle for this important objective. Parliament is a critical institution within our new democracy. It is a place in which the people`s representatives develop and pass legislation and hold the executive publicly to account. In our multi-party democracy we should welcome robust debate and all parties, whether a majority party or a minority party should be respected. Even the smallest party in Parliament has the honour of and obligation to represent the hundreds or tens of thousands of South Africans who voted for it.

While major strides have been made since 1994 in the transformation of Parliament and other legislatures in our country, the SACP agrees with those who believe that Parliament must continue to move away from what is sometimes a limiting decorum inherited from an earlier colonial era.

We believe that all political parties, whatever the differences among them, currently represented in Parliament share these general views and values - with one exception. The leadership of the EFF is in Parliament in order to discredit and smash it. As the German playwright Bertolt Brecht observed of the 1930s, while the emergent National Socialist Nazi party engaged in provocative hooliganism in the Reichstag, one of the hall-marks of fascism is its inclination to turn politics into theatre. In its formative years, it is the politics of pseudo-military hooliganism. In power, IF they come to power, the theatre turns into Nuremburg-style, mass military displays of leader worship and nationalistic chauvinism. We cannot allow this trajectory to take hold within our institutions. We call on all South Africans, including those members of the EFF parliamentary caucus who are themselves increasingly alarmed by the bus they have boarded, to isolate this dangerous cancer within our body politic.

The leader of the EFF, whose case with receiver of revenue SARS is back in court tomorrow, is acting with all of the reckless disdain of someone with nothing to lose. His behaviour, not just in Parliament in Cape Town last week, but in the Gauteng legislature, continues along the same trajectory of anarchic plunder and wrecking of anything in his way that characterised his conduct in Limpopo and as leader of the ANC Youth League, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Long before Malema`s belated expulsion from the ANC, the SACP characterised this tendency as "embryonic fascism". We stand by this characterisation. Some commentators today, like German liberals in the 1930s, dismiss this characterisation. We are told that for fascism to breed it needs to be suckled by sectors of capital. But this is exactly the case here - Malema has long been supported by wealthy funders, principally but not only the most decadent factions of capital. We welcome reports that SARS is investigating the source of payments for Malema`s tax debt. It is SARS on behalf of the people of South Africa that needs to be saying to Malema and his dodgy backers: "Pay back the money".

Parliament is not the only corner-stone of our democracy under threat. The Party is deeply concerned at the ongoing turmoil in the NPA. Likewise, while respecting the office of the Public Protector, the Party is concerned at the constant over-reaching by Advocate Thuli Madonsela that wittingly or unwittingly plays into an anti-democratic regime-change agenda that seeks to portray the entirety of government as corrupt. At the same time as members of the ANC-led movement we must acknowledge that corruption and maladministration within government and within our movement does exist - always with the active complicity of private sector elements. We must deal decisively with corruption and unethical behaviour in order to defeat the threat to our democracy.

Apartheid Zionist Israel is guilty of war crimes and genocide

The horrific mass death and destruction in occupied Gaza continues. The SACP reaffirms its condemnation of the multiple war crimes and genocide perpetrated by apartheid Zionist Israel. The Party salutes the growing numbers of South Africans, including a growing number of South African Jews who have actively come out to express horror and condemnation. This has included one of the largest marches in South Africa`s history involving hundreds of thousands in Cape Town. The SACP and Young Communist League of SA have been active participants along with a wide range of formations in these activities.

The Central Committee expressed its full support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement`s campaign for a boycott of G4S Security company. This is the company that runs Israel`s illegal detention facilities, torture centres and prisons. G4S has a strong presence in SA, including at ACSA airports. We say: boycott G4S. The CC also calls on our authorities to deal decisively with South African citizens who are illegally serving in the Israeli army.

Swaziland autocracy continues

The CC condemned the arrest of the President of Pudemo who has now been charged, for the third time, with sedition. The charge carries a potential death sentence and it is particularly concerning that Swaziland recently advertised for the position of an official state hangman. The SACP is also concerned about recent moves by our own Department of Home Affairs to expel Swazi political refugees living in SA. We have taken up this matter with the department and we insist that these comrades must not be returned to Swaziland to face certain detention, torture and possible murder.


The CC received a brief report on government`s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The CC commended the rapid precautionary measures put into place by government. The Party also noted the opportunism of DA Gauteng leader Jack Bloom in spreading rumours about a non-existent Ebola case in SA. What is required is calm heads, vigilance, and a common and united South African response - not party political opportunism.

Issued by the SACP Central Committee, Kliptown, Soweto

Alex Mashilo: Spokesperson
Mobile: 082 9200 308
Office: 011 339 3621/2
Email: and
Twitter: @2SACP

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