SACP warns against ‘degenerating into two-party Western democracy’

2012-05-21 14:28

The SACP has warned against South Africa “degenerating” from a “de facto one-party state” into a two-party Western democracy.

SACP deputy general-secretary Jeremy Cronin told journalists it was “a huge asset in South Africa that we have not become a Western democracy”.

He said although South Africa has “democratic features, given the huge developmental needs” and the fact “that we are coming from a wounded past” and need to build national unity and consensus, these override the need for a Western-style democracy.

Cronin was speaking at the launch of the SACP’s July congress discussion document at the party’s offices in Cosatu House, Johannesburg, today.

Cronin, who jokingly referred to himself as a “settler” and not a “refugee”, with reference to the uproar around DA leader Helen Zille’s use of the word, said “provided we don’t score own goals, (the DA) has reached its electoral ceiling and that is why it is trying to broaden its base – and you know what I’m referring to”.

Cronin was referring to last week’s march by the party to Cosatu House over the youth wage subsidy, which ended in violence when marchers clashed with Cosatu supporters.

“They are constrained by their own constituency and even though some of its leaders want to break the ceiling, it is encumbered by the links to a certain society and ideology,” he said.

He warned, however, that if the SACP, ANC and Cosatu alliance “blunder”, the DA could win more support.

He said the DA often mobilised white, Indian and coloured communities to think of themselves as a minority, overwhelmed by the majority.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, reading from the party’s statement, said the DA, supported by the media, “constantly harps on” about the “dangers” of a two-thirds majority, of “confusing party and state”, of “cadre deployment”, and so on.

He said “what was once called in colonial circles the thorny ‘native question’ (that is the ‘dilemma’ for a white minority of surviving overwhelming indigenous majority) has now been dusted off, updated and botoxed into an inflated ‘threat of one-party political dominance’.”

He said two-party democracy has reached a low in the US, where people need lots of money to stand as candidates, and where major corporations “typically” support both major parties.

The SACP blamed the DA’s “relative success” on the “1996 class project and its African bourgeois nationalist off-spring”, referring to the growth plan implemented by former president Thabo Mbeki.

According to the SACP’s document, the DA’s claim that the ANC and its alliance constituted a threat to the Constitution, is a “dumb-down of the actual Constitution, turning it into a 19th century liberal document focused on upholding individual rights and on checking-and-balancing the state”.

The document says although these values are important, the “transformative obligations” are just as important.

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