Politics: SACP – Should it stand independently from ANC?

SACP – should it stand independently from ANC?

Karl Cloete

Under the slogan and theme ” Communist Cadres to the front: Make the second decade of freedom a decade for the workers and the poor”, the SACP held its Special National Congress over the weekend of April 8-10 in eThekwini.

This Congress was intended to assess how the working class has benefited from the 1994 democratic breakthrough in relation to what the capitalist class had achieved. It also had to chart a way forward on how the second decade of freedom becomes a decade for the workers and the poor as part of consolidating the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and the struggle for socialism.

Party Campaigns:

1. The Congress called for a general debt amnesty for the poor. Congress argued that if we have given amnesty to apartheid era torturers and killers and amnesty to the wealthy who illegally transferred money out of our country the same should be extended to the working class and the poor.

2. Know your neighbourhood campaign. This campaign is in honour of Chris Hani and is meant to do door to door work to ensure that we understand whether our people are getting the necessary basic services.

3. The SACP will throw its full weight behind Cosatu jobs campaign.

4. At an international level the SACP must actively engage with our continental crisis of underdevelopment. In its Congress declaration the Party argues that the progressive and democratic agenda of our government in Africa will not be sustainable and gains will not be durable unless workers, peasants and the poor become active motive forces in the societies of our continent

On the SACP standing for elections – Not now – Not never!

Much of the debate was taken up by a very energetic debate on the question of the SACP, state power and contesting elections.

One Limpopo delegate spoke saying ” not now – not never” whilst another Eastern Cape delegate felt that if the SACP wants to honour its slogan of Socialism is the future – build it now, the Party should stand independently of the ANC in the 2005/2006 local government elections.

The Special Congress resolved this debate through a compromise which will see the establishment of a Central Committee Commission whose brief is to;

assess the opportunities, challenges and threats to the building of a Party of power, influence and activism;
develop strategic options with regard to election participation by the Party
assess, amongst other things, the organisational capacity and readiness of the SACP
canvass the views of the working class, workers and the poor in general as well as engaging the alliance and other progressive social formations
assess the electoral and state power experience of Communist and Left wing party’s world wide.

This Commission is expected to finalise its work in time for the Central Committee report to the 12 th SACP Congress in 2007.

Who knows, we may see a new President of the country with a new look red parliament and cabinet, if the strong debate of the Special Congress is anything to go by.

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Who was Mbuyiselo Ngwenda?

Aubrey ka-Saki

Mbuyiselo Ngwenda’s political commitment and loyalty to the working-class is an inspiration to all, not just locally, but continentally as well, said Fieldmore Mapeto , Eastern Cape regional education officer.

Commemorating the sixth anniversary of the untimely death of such a stallion, Mapeto told shop stewards gathered at the Vista campus, Port Elizabeth , on March 17 that every gender worker should create a platform and look at themselves as cadres of the working class.

Cde. Mbuyi (as he was known) through dedication and hard work in the labour movement championed new ventures that rocked the economic foundations of the capitalistic world.

Because of his capacity, he moved from the unknown to be one of the most vociferous human forces known in South African history.

His early cadreship

Fresh from student politics, Ngwenda invaded the hostile world of capitalism when he was overwhelmingly elected VWSA Engine Plant shop steward during the active ’80s.

He was the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) Kwazakhele Branch chairperson. This pioneered him a route that drew him a cut above the rest. His trade union activities pushed him from shop steward to political educator at Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA).

Youthful and gallant, Ngwenda swiftly rose in esteem. In no time he got a post as regional educator, and from there he was elected regional secretary of the Eastern Cape .

Then the history of trade unionism in South Africa took a turn, as a young lion of troubled times and tides roared and soared across the metal industry to reach every workplace.

Leader of the working class

When he became Numsa deputy general secretary to Enoch Godongwana in 1996, Numsa experienced winds of change as he became an organic embodiment of society politically.

In big companies such as VWSA, Daimler-Chrysler and BMW, those around him best remember him as a young stalwart of the changing times. Major resolutions were taken with progressive measures.

Ngwenda stood for the seizure of state power by the working class. An outright Marxist-Leninist, cde. Mbuyi’s ideals centred on how the means of production should be transferred from bosses to the producers. His message was clear: “Socialism now. Build it!”

When he eventually became General Secretary of Numsa in 1997, he had fearlessly fought for the total economic emancipation of the exploited masses.

His silent departure during March 1999 from this cold, cold world left a vacuum of the Black Panther, whose searing voice will be missed for generations to come. He was a legendary masterpiece of no downfalls and failures, a voice of the hurricane. Behind he left an undying sparkle to shine on.

I’ll remember Mapeto’s wise words, when he was closing his keynote speech to all shop stewards on that historic day: “I strongly call upon you not to mourn the death of Mbuyiselo Ngwenda, rather get inspiration from it. He sacrificed his life to create an interlinked political programme between the workplace and society.”

Mapeto also underlined the need to launch the Mbuyiselo Ngwenda Education Trust so that orphans of our martyrs and pioneers receive the care they rightly deserve.

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