'Party acts like lobby group'
TOP academic Barney Pityana has taken a swipe at the South African Communist Party, calling it a "lobby group" for power positions in the government.
"The Communist Party is not communist no political party, but a lobby group to ensure certain individuals are placed in positions of power within government. How can it tell people that all is well, when we all know people still live in poverty," he said.
He also tackled the ANC for neglecting the electorate and said the ruling party had failed to deliver on its promises.
"People need to be served better than they are being served. South Africans need to wake up before it is too late."
The veteran struggle activist was speaking at a civil society conference organised by the Congress of the People (Cope) in East London at the weekend. He urged South Africans to send a message to Parliament that they would not tolerate the ANC's efforts to muzzle democracy by trying to change the Constitution.
"People should understand politics and play an active role in decision making. People should know that politics is not about abuse of power and state resources, but about uplifting people's lives."
He added that citizens needed to be extra vigilant to ensure democracy survived and thrived in the future.
Pityana - a founder member of Black Consciousness Movement - said an open society needed to be further developed, instead of the exact opposite, a secret society.
Pityana told delegates to hold government accountable every day instead of every five years.
"We need to make sure we know what is happening in every nook and cranny of government life."
"(Many) graduates are out of work, not because they do not have skills, but because they do not know someone who knows somebody," he said, to loud applause.