SACP wants ‘radical shifts’

2012-07-12 06:55

The SACP doesn’t just want to fix potholes and roofs, but it wants to fix the whole system, SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin has said.

Cronin told journalists yesterday, ahead of the party’s four-day conference starting at the University of Zululand near Richards Bay today, that the SACP wanted a “radical shift” in ANC policy.

This wasn’t about “demagogic slogans” like “expropriation without comprehension”, he joked.

The ANC Youth League had been calling for land reform to be speeded up through land expropriation without compensation.

“It is not about rhetorical radicalism, but radicalism that addresses the structural problems,” he said.

Cronin said “unless you analyse the system, you end up in ‘Touching Lives’ mode”.

Touching Lives is a reference to the SABC’s social outreach programme.

“Of course we must touch lives, but if you run around fixing potholes or mending a roof that has blown away, unless you fix the system, it will continue to reproduce this racialised society we are in.”

He said the SACP could make a “diagnosis” of this and was the only entity which has done a “structural analysis” of what reproduces racialised poverty.

He said it wasn’t just good to build two to three million houses for the poor, government also had to ensure these were built close to where people worked so they didn’t have to travel so far.

He also said the ANC’s policy conference wasn’t the best forum to debate complicated policies.

“It is very difficult to make policy at a policy conference with thousands of people,” he said.

“But it is great in the nature of the ANC where the branches are involved in policy-making, and different to the DA where policy is the thumb suck of some members, but you have to get the balance right between what a branch member is expected to know, and what you want in policy,” he said.

“A lot is still not clear from the ANC’s policy conference (last month),” Cronin said, “but I think the most important political observation to make is what the ANC did agree on, and that is that the ‘second transition’ should be the ‘second phase of the first transition’.

“What that debate was about was an acknowledgement from the ANC that things can’t continue as business as usual, and that is what the SACP has been saying,” Cronin said.

At the policy conference there were differences about, for example, the extent of nationalisation the party had agreed on, after six provinces were said to have been in favour of wholesale nationalisation of state assets, and three against.

The party’s four-day congress is expected to start this morning at the University of Zululand in KwaDlangezwa near Richard’s Bay.

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