It would be very different if Chris were here today

2010-04-17 10:12

Chris Hani, among his many roles and achievements in the liberation struggle, was a principled and ­consistent fighter against corruption.

In the early exile years he ­co-signed a memorandum sent to the leadership of the ANC ­pointing out, among many ­other things, creeping corrupt practices and patronage ­networks within the ­movement.

This memorandum led to ­the convening of the first ANC ­conference since its banning in 1960, the famous Morogoro ­Conference in Tanzania.

Were Chris Hani alive today he would be at the forefront of the struggle against corruption and ­tenderpreneurship!

The struggle against ­corruption cannot be separated from the ­struggle against ­capitalism and its corrupting ideology and ­practices.

The very ­existence of a system which ­allows a small elite to ­exploit workers in the private ­accumulation of wealth creates opportunities for corruption.

Therefore a struggle against corruption must also be a ­struggle against capitalism and its market. This is what Comrade Hani lived and died for.

The SACP is not the only ­political formation nor the only organisation concerned with the threat posed by the scourge of corruption.

There are many citizens and ­organisations out there who share our outrage at the ­pillaging of resources, which ­deprives workers and the poor of our country what is due to them.

The working class, by virtue of its revolutionary potential and traditions, is best placed to be at the head of the various forces ­fighting against ­corruption.

It is the working class and the poor that stand to lose most from the pillaging of public and private ­resources.

The working class also has a presence in both private ­companies, public institutions and the state in particular. It can act as the eyes and ears of the whole population.

Let us follow the example of unions like the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, which blew the whistle on potential ­corruption at SAA.

It is the ­revolutionary duty of the ­working class to fight corruption as a necessary struggle to defend, consolidate and deepen the ­national democratic ­revolution.

The media tends to foster the idea that corruption is more rife in the public sector than in the ­private sector or that corruption in the public sector is more ­serious than ­corruption in the private ­sector.

There is large-scale ­corruption in the private ­sector which is ­often ignored or called by a ­respectable and seemingly ­innocuous ­description “white­collar crime”. Crime and ­corruption has no colour.

On May Day, the SACP will be calling on the organised ­working class in particular to ­intensify its struggles against corruption.

Corruption on the one hand, and labour brokerage and ­price-fixing on the other hand, are not two separate things, but two sides of the same coin.

The opposition to corruption must include:

-Mobilising to expose all forms of corruption and ­broadening the scope of ­community policing forums to deal with matters of ­corruption as well;

-Strengthening the ­progressive labour movement to fight ­corruption;

-Calling upon all public and private institutions to develop clear anti-corruption ­strategies;

-Government tender ­processes must be made more ­transparent;­

-Mobilising the youth in ­particular to fight against ­corruption as they are often the targets of tenderpreneurs, druglords and ‘get rich quick’ schemes;

-Acknowledging and ­honouring the men and women in both the public and private sectors who act to expose ­corruption and are only ­interested in serving their ­people honestly;

-Strengthening the capacity of our criminal justice ­system, including the South African Revenue Service and Chapter Nine institutions to fight the scourge of corruption; and
-Calling for action against those found with their fingers in the till, even if they are within our own ranks.

-Nzimande is general-secretary of the South African Communist Party and is also higher ­education minister. This is an ­edited version of his speech ­commemorating Chris Hani’s death.


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