SACP to reflect on its relevance to working class

2015-07-07 06:11
Bonginkosi "Blade" Nzimande. (GCIS)

Bonginkosi "Blade" Nzimande. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - The SA Communist Party will this week reflect on how to better reposition itself, following criticism that it no longer represents the working class.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande on Monday said members would reflect on what kind of organisation they wanted to build, at a special national congress which starts in Soweto on Tuesday.

"We are a vanguard party with a mass character. That is how we have defined ourselves," he said.

"We are building this communist party within the context of an alliance at this point in time, but as our late general secretary would have said, comrade Chris [Hani], we need a communist party which is adaptable and flexible to any conditions that may arise. That's what we trying to do."

Important contribution to make

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA has claimed that the SACP is no longer the vanguard party of the working class, but a lapdog for
its alliance partner, the African National Congress.

The metalworkers' union has been said to be looking at starting a socialist party as a result of this.

Nzimande however said the SACP was looking at growing its party, despite some trying to keep it small or "liquidate" it.

"As much as we know we have an important contribution to make in so far as theorisation of our struggle, you can't limit us to that today.

"In fact some of the people who were saying that, is who we refer to as the 1996 class project, who wanted to liquidate us," he said referring to the ANC leadership and strategic vision under former president Thabo Mbeki.

"In fact they want to break up the alliance and turn the ANC into something different, a parliamentary party."

Chasing 510 000 members

Nzimande said the normal size of a communist party in any society should be 1% of the population.

South Africa had a population of 51 million. So if the SACP was going to represent 1% of the population it would need 510 000 members.

"That's what we are chasing. We are not understating what we always wanted - to produce quality membership. We are working at that. We are not perfect, but we do a lot of political education and our own campaigning, [which] by the way is education in itself."

The SACP currently had 225 000 members.

Nzimande admitted there had been some weaknesses in the SACP's campaigns.

There was concern that its national campaigns had not been as "vibrant" as the SACP would have liked them to be.

"We are also concerned, it is something that also the alliance summit itself said, that the challenge in many instances in our alliance is that we don't implement our programmes that we have agreed on. The only programme that we really implement is the election campaign," Nzimande said.

"That's a self-criticism we are making."

Capacity had also been a problem for the SACP.

However, second deputy president Solly Mapaila said despite this the party had seen its numbers grow because of its campaigns.

"By the way we are the second biggest political organisation after the ANC in South Africa.

"Politically on campaigns we do better than other political organisations," he said.


The SACP would use its congress to reflect on the alliance and the declaration taken at the summit last week.

Asked if the SACP had thought of moving away from the alliance and contesting elections on its own, Nzimande said not at present.

Although the SACP had some differing views to the ANC, the Freedom Charter united the two. Both at least agreed on a minimum programme.

The congress would discuss a document on the state of trade union federation Cosatu. Nzimande said the problems in Cosatu were a "rude awakening".

"It was a real wake-up call."

He said the congress would reflect on the all Cosatu unions which were under attack, but would not reduce the discussion to individuals or factions.

The third document to be discussed at the congress was called "Going to the Root". It would focus on the radical second phase of the national democratic revolution, which was inspired by a position adopted at the ANC's Mangaung conference in 2012.

There had been different interpretations of this by the alliance partners.

Nzimande would present his political report to the special national congress, which about 700 SACP members were expected to attend.
Mapaila would present the organisational report on strengthening the party's character.

On day three on the congress, alliance partners were expected to make presentations.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa would address the congress on behalf of the ANC.

Read more on:    sacp  |  cosatu  |  anc  |  blade nzimade  |  politics

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