'Banks must invest in low-cost housing'
Banks should be forced to invest in low-cost housing, SA Communist Party secretary general Blade Nzimande said.
The state should move from merely regulating to actively directing the private sector, he told delegates at the party's elective conference near Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal.
Delivering his political report, Nzimande said the state had to direct the private sector towards developmental outcomes and objectives.
"Legislation must be made to force South African banks to invest in low-cost housing. It is after all the money of the working class."
Earlier, outgoing SA Communist Party chairman Gwede Mantashe urged party members to join the African National Congress.
"Our ability to influence and advance our agenda will be determined by our immersion in the structures and programmes of our alliance partners," he said.
"The reality facing the party today... is that of communists who are not even members of the ANC."
Mantashe said there were several SACP members at national level who held top positions in the ANC and Cabinet.
But there was a lack of "cross-pollination" between the two parties at a provincial level, with the exception of the Eastern Cape.
Mantashe said his decision to step down as party chairman was not newsworthy.
"This (decision) is born of practical consideration that one is doing a disservice to the party by being an absentee chairperson."
Earlier, axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni featured in songs at the start of the conference.
"Asinandaba uMalema uyayizonda le party, asinanda uYengeni uyayizonda le party (Malema hates this party but we don't care, Yengeni hates this party but we don't care)," delegates sang.
Yengeni is a member of the African National Congress's national executive committee and in charge of its political education schools. He lost his position as chief whip after accepting a discount on a luxury car during the tendering process for the country's arms deal. At the time, he was a member of a parliamentary committee reporting on the arms deal. Yengeni went to prison in 2006, and was released on parole after serving six months of his sentence.
Malema was expelled as president of the ANC Youth League in April.
In another song, some delegates advised him: "Malema ungayijahi impi ngoba iyabulala (Malema, don't be in a hurry to fight in a war, because it kills)."
A song in support of President Jacob Zuma was also sung.
"Iizinja zilele kufokhona emzini kaMsholozo kodwa amagerilla abuyile (The enemy is near but MK is ready to fight for Msholozi)."
Msholozi is Zuma's clan name.