What the NGC means for the SACP

Communists will struggle for unity

At the ANC’s crucial September national general council (NGC), the South African ­Communist Party (SACP) will have one major task: to help rebuild an ANC that is united within its own ranks on the basis of a ­revolutionary democratic programme.

Where is the “strategic political centre”?

In the SACP, we have a very different understanding and approach to progressive ­political power. Progressive political power doesn’t derive from a conference resolution.

Instead, it derives from the ability to listen and learn from the people and, on this basis, to organise and mobilise the great majority of working class and popular forces.

The SACP has worked to help build the ANC into an effective strategic political centre of the National Democratic Revolution. This means that programmatically and organisationally, the SACP works as communists to help to build the ANC’s revolutionary ­capacities. In the current situation, this task is a challenging one, as the ANC’s NGC discussion documents quite candidly acknowledge.

The struggle against money-based ­factionalism – organisational renewal
The SACP very strongly supports the general positions advanced by the organisational renewal report of the ANC.

However, there is one thing missing in this document – it tends to treat these problems as a result of the present “material conditions” without advancing a clear position on what underlies these material conditions. It also does not advance a perspective on what we intend to do – to change the material conditions themselves.

The question of narrow BEE
These shortcomings are directly linked to the fact that the “leadership renewal” document does not sufficiently make the connection between the many factional challenges our movement faces and the phenomenon of narrow BEE. It is an issue that is implied in this and other NGC papers, but it is never spelt out fully.

The SACP will use the NGC to forcefully place on to the agenda the connection ­between narrow BEE funding and the ­organisational challenges we are facing.

While we support the empowerment of the black majority, there is a need to ask the obvious question: is narrow BEE, ­particularly BEE codes that require percentage ­targets for capitalist ownership, not at the heart of exposing our movement to the ­“material conditions” that are having such a negative impact on our movement?

Economic transformation – placing our economy on a new growth path
The ANC’s economic transformation ­document for the NGC is relatively weak and uneven. The SACP’s central committee has proposed that at the NGC it should focus on the Polokwane resolutions and on progress made in government in ­implementing these resolutions, especially the ­economic ­resolutions.

There is a need for a “midterm” ­evaluation of the progress made in ­government towards placing our economy on to a new growth path that creates jobs and greater equality.

The alliance needs to focus on a clear ­programme of action that needs to be ­fundamentally about a state-led and mass-driven struggle to transform our economic growth path. Consolidating this perspective is the key task of the ANC’s NGC.

Transformation of the media
One proposal by the SACP is that the media appeals tribunal be appointed by ­Parliament.

The SACP may consider other proposals around how the selection process could ­happen – perhaps through a judicial service commission-type selection panel that ­involves a range of representative entities ­including, for instance, the South African ­National Editors’ Forum.

The tribunal should comprise ­independent people, but people who have an ­understanding of the media.

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