Deputy general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Jeremy Cronin, told congress delegates of the four key tasks that face the working class.
Pointing out the failure of Gear to create the promised “6% annual growth, job creation, and revenues to …meet our social delivery targets,” Cronin said that the working class must use the recent critical comments of Minister Manuel, President Mbeki and former President Mandela of the private sector (both black and white) to their advantage.
He spelt out clearly the four tasks of the working class in the current period.
The first was to consolidate its unity with the democratic state around a programme of action that puts job creation, poverty alleviation and a strong and strategic public sector top of the list.
The second job, and no less important, was to “build solidarity with the poorest of the poor in urban, peri-urban and rural areas,” as the SACP is doing in its Red October campaign where it is targeting farmworkers and the landless.
Adding new words to South African English – the “BEE-llionaires” (the emerged black capitalists) and the “wanna-BEEs” (the aspirant black capitalists) – he said that the working class had a duty to ensure that the “˜BEEs’ “˜accumulation aspirations’ included guaranteeing job creation, promoting the buying of local goods, skills training, investment and enhancing the national market. The “working class is not interested in de-racialising capitalism” if BEE doesn’t achieve these things.
But perhaps the most important job of the working class is to “be vigilant about our own organisations and our new democratic institutions” and to “ensure transparency, honesty and accountability.”
He said carrying out this task was crucial because capital was determined to shape the future of the country by “bypassing our democracy”.
They know they cannot win democratic elections so they go for the “pockets… of a targeted layer of cadres in our movement”.
And that is why fighting against “corruption in our own ranks is not just a moral struggle, but possibly the most important front of the class struggle in our contemporary South Africa .”