SACP to plot its way forward at special congress this week

The SACP hosts its special national congress this week. Party leader Blade Nzimande has warned against a return to neoliberal dominance in SA.
The SACP hosts its special national congress this week. Party leader Blade Nzimande has warned against a return to neoliberal dominance in SA.
Image: Madelene Cronje

The SA Communist Party (SACP) has dug in its heels in its effort to stop what it calls a return of neoliberal dominance in the economy.

According to the party’s organisational report - presented at its special national congress this week - the SACP’s principal task in representing the working class in the transformation of the economy is to intensify the fight against state capture and leave no space for the return “to the era of neoliberal dominance”.

Presenting the report, party leader Blade Nzimande said the SACP stood for a “democratic developmental path and state”. In order to make this a reality, part of what members will discuss when they break into committees this week is the transformation of the financial sector.

The party wants to ramp up campaigns for a publicly controlled and developmental banking sector, prescribed assets, a sovereign wealth fund and a change of mandate for the SA Reserve Bank to “explicitly target employment growth”.

Party members are also expected to discuss the turnaround and expansion of state-owned entities, the acceleration of land redistribution and a review of the fiscal policy framework.

“The fundamental reality has been the nature of the transitions from colonialism and colonial regimes to a postcolonial order. In many cases, new elites rose and accessed political power, whilst the economic power remained with old domestic and imperialist ruling class,” said Nzimande.

“The combined impact of the restructuring and privatisation of SOEs and capital outflows left the democratic government with an unfunded mandate to tackle huge socio-economic challenges without adequate financial resources."

Party members are also expected to reflect on the tripartite alliance’s support of Cyril Ramaphosa for president of the ANC in 2017.

The organisational report reads: "The SACP and Cosatu preferred to align itself with those forces inside the movement who seemed committed to fight against state capture."

But there seems to be tension within the ranks.

“At this point, as the SACP and Cosatu, we must reflect on our experience of sometimes supporting one faction to win an internal election in the ANC and thereafter a while dumping us [sic],” adds the document.

The SACP will also reaffirm its earlier resolution to contest elections independently.

“We need to make it clear that there must be an agreement on the manifesto for the elections and that we would not accept imposed and unpopular candidates that represent factional interests,” said Nzimande.

But this may be difficult, considering the party’s membership issues. The SACP currently has about 319,000 members - of which a large majority (about 221,000) is unemployed.

It plans to reach a membership of about 580,000, which it estimates is one percent of the population.

Nzimande said the party is “dialectically growing and declining at the same time”, meaning that it is growing in some areas and declining in others.

The congress will continue until Thursday, when committees will report back on decisions they have taken regarding various policies. 

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