Speech by the National Secretary of the Young Communist League to the Second Provincial Congress of Limpopo

Category: Speeches

Mastec College, 26-29 April 2007

Context of the National Conference

  • Few months before the 12th National Congress of the SACP;
  • Immediately after the historic Second National Congress of the YCLSA;
  • Towards the National Policy Conference and 52nd National Conference of the ANC;
  • In the middle of our commemoration of the late General Secretary of the SACP, Chris Thembisile Martin Hani;
    Significance of this Provincial Conference
  • Prepare the YCLSA of this province in contributing to all of these august Conferences and Congress.
  • Engage with and take forward the outcomes of the Second National Congress of the YCLSA.
  • Discuss the role of the YCL in building a strong SACP, especially in Limpopo province.
  • Take forward the discussions on the relationship between the SACP and the YCLSA.
  • Look into the discussion documents of the ANC National Policy Conference and its 52nd National Conference.
  • Emerge with a strategy to take forward youth development in the province.
    Ours was not a miracle

On the 27th April 1994, for the first time in the South African history, each man and woman was afforded an equal opportunity to cast their votes in the first ever democratic elections.

The National Party government had surrendered from the crises they faced of sustaining Apartheid. International sanctions, armed struggle and the sabotage on key Apartheid economic sites, mass action rendering the country ungovernable and building strong structures of the Mass Democratic Movement had become the necessary pressure points to ensure that the Apartheid regime ultimately surrenders its policy of national oppression, economic exploitation and patriarchal domination.

This Mass Activism, involvement of the people, the people being their own liberators signifies the extent within which ‘Power to the People’ can change societies and make revolutions.

It also signified that South African transition from Apartheid was not a miracle, but was as a result of collective and massive action and pressure on the regime.

Any suggestion that our liberation was a miraculous, unexpected act will merely disarm the people of their power to ensure that they defend and consolidate this gains.

Thirteen years later, as the YCL we declare that “The Struggle Continues”, “Aluta Continua”.

We say so because some of the social relations that existed under Apartheid are continuing because of the capitalist nature of our transition.

We say so because life for the millions of young people comprises of unemployment, poverty and HIV/AIDS.

We say so because we alone are the drivers of this struggle, its locomotive, the generation that will succeed the previous one in consolidating this freedom and building socialism in our lifetime.

Celebrate and consolidate our democracy

We are not full of pessimism on the gains that we have garnered thirteen years after.

The artificial and psychological make-up of Apartheid have been thrown in the dustbin of history.

White minority rule in the dustbin of history. Racial segregation is in the dustbin of history.

Job reservation is in the dustbin of history. In their place there is freedom of movement, the right to organize and form trade unions or political parties, freedom of expression and an ongoing project of building our nation.

We do not take all of these for granted, thus, we say to the youth that we should celebrate these victories.

In the past thirteen years, there has been transformation in sports allowing us to participate in the international platform with investments in facilities in black areas.

There has been investment in education through learning materials, no-fee schools, improved security, better teacher training resources and improved curriculum.

Young people, black and white from all manner of background live in Safety and Security. More people drink safe and clean tap water. More people have houses registered in their names. More people have access to electricity.

These are important victories that we should defend and celebrate because we now live better than how our fathers and mothers used to under Apartheid.

Capitalism makes our freedom elusive

But then all of these are a house of cards. They are being build on the same foundation that housed a system which oppressed our mothers and maimed our fathers.

We declare, as our mother body the SACP guides us, that Apartheid was the form in which capitalism manifested itself. In order for us to ultimately defend our freedom, change the Apartheid social relations, we need to smash the capitalist economic system.

We have only chopped the visible oppressive nature of Apartheid, we need to go further and smash its underlying roots, which is capitalism.

We declare that the rights enshrined in our wonderful constitution and the freedoms guaranteed by that book are made elusive by the continued capitalist system of production.

The colonial nature of our society and the continued ownership of the economy by white people is as a result of the underlying roots of Apartheid, which is capitalism.

Today, most young people aspire to participate in the economy and ensure that they help in job creation. Millions of young people see no difference between 1987 and 2007 because capitalism remains the wall of shame between freedom and oppression.

Millions of young people remain unemployed. Millions of young people cannot pursue their education at tertiary. Thousands of young people are doing time in prisons. Thousands of young people are doing crime. Thousands of young people are trying to earn a living through prostitution and drug trafficking.

We cannot let the capitalist system elude us of our right to life. We must smash the capitalist system.

Join the struggle for ‘A Better Life For All’

The Young Communist League is a vibrant, dynamic youth organisation which introduces young people to the ideals of socialism as espoused by the SACP. As the YCL, we believe that it is only through the building of socialism that we can overcome the wall of shame that binds us with Apartheid.

This is a society where all the means of production, the natural resources, are socialised and owned by the entire population. It is a society where no man has to work for another, and all men work for all.

A society were poverty and misery, competition for food, greed and self-interest will be history. It will be a society where there is no corruption, crime, prostitution, drug abuse and hunger. A society which Chris Hani and many others who died aspired and struggle for.

Like 1994, this society cannot and will not come as a miracle. It will take an effort and commitment to struggle, but it will be for the better. For us to attain this society, this true ubuntu, we need to build strong youth organisations.

Young workers need to join trade unions. Unemployed youth need to forms themselves into organs of peoples power. We need to take charge of the transition period, make it meaningful and steer it towards socialism.

Complete our liberation struggle, fight for socialism in our lifetime

As we celebrate the Thirteenth Anniversary of our democracy, we call on the youth of the country to join the YCL as the first major step towards breaking the wall with Apartheid.

We call on the youth of the government to shout and struggle collectively in order to be heard. A solo performance in the revolution is not as good as it seem in music. It is only though mass-choir, mass struggle, that we can build a better society.

Our Defiance Campaign and the 10 Youth Demands are major steps towards attaining our freedom. Our call for free education cannot be realized if it will be a solo performance.

Our cry for jobs will not be heard as long as it remains the struggle for fragmented individuals. The end of poverty will not be as a sole planning and strategizing of a government ministry. It takes efforts. It is indeed a struggle.

For this collective programme, we need to be united against one enemy, Capitalism. In this unison, we also need to unite behind a minimum programme.

This programme calls for the following demands to our government and a call for action to youth. These are:

  1. Free Education for all from Grade R to the first tertiary qualification by 2008;
  2. Micro-finance for youth co-operatives, Small Medium and Macro Enterprise;
  3. Treatment for HIV/AIDS infected youth;
  4. Access to land for sustainable farming;
  5. A safe and secure environment;
  6. Recreational facilities to enhance our sports, arts and cultural abilities;
  7. Access to Basic Services;
  8. Housing Security;
  9. One Youth cooperative in each Ward; and
  10. Food Security.
    In order for us to ultimately complete our liberation, we must smash capitalism and build socialism now. All of these will not be attained through pursuance of a miracle, but rather as a result of struggles waged by the youth.

We want to be like ‘Chris’

  • We want to use this Congress to continue with our memory of Chris Hani, remember our history and the heroes, gallants, freedom fighters and liberators of our people from national oppression.
  • The greatest mistake that any revolution can commit is to try and wipe out its history, and thus will result in the historical objective of that revolution being aborted.
  • We have learned a lot on what Chris Hani was in his lifetime, and therefore declared that ‘We want to be like Chris’.
  • Being like Chris Hani for us means that:
    • We will at all times build strong SACP and YCLSA and do not see these organisations as springboards towards ascending to high office.
    • We will at all times ensure that we defend and take forward the unity of the SACP and the YCLSA and will not seek to divide these organisations of the working class through trivial squabbles over leadership.
    • We will at all times refuse to be bought with money in exchange of voting so and so in a Conference of either the SACP or the ANC. We will at all times refuse to be subjects of patronage, and will not be tempted to abandon the principles and traditions of these organisation for jobs or money.
    • I must hasten to say that we must expose those who offer yung people money and jobs in exchange of them being elected. These are foreign and alien people in our organisations. They are turning our organisations into mafia sects and do not belong with us. They are fong-kong and fake leaders who should be stoned out of our organisations.
    • We are going to the ANC and SACP Conference and Congress respectively. The idea that certain people will buy their way into either the NEC or the Central Committee of these structure must be combated by the youth at all levels and at all times. Both of these Conferences will require vigilance at all times from the youth of our country.
    • We want to be like Chris Hani also because we are prepared to ensure that we commit ourselves to serving the youth of our country. We claim the legacy of Chris Hani as the legacy of the youth of our country and by doing so, we will take forward the Health, Housing and Hunger Campaign (or Triple H) plus Education.
    • In defending the legacy and memory of Chris Hani, we reiterate our call for an Inquest into his assassination. Clive Derby-Lewis has intimidated our General Secretary, Dr. Blade Nzimande, to shut up. We want to send a message to him today where he is at Pretoria Central Prison that it will be his home for his entire sorry murderers life as long we do not have the truth on the assassination of Chris Hani. We say to Clive Derby-Lewis that we want answers. We want to know the following from them:
    • Who gave them the gun which they used to murder our General Secretary, as it was once stolen from the armoury of the Apartheid regime?
    • Who tipped them off that Chris Hani will not be having security on that day?
    • Where was the gun which Waluz Januzs used tested, as there is information that it was tested in Derby-Lewis brother’s farm?
    • Who else was involved, in essence, who was part of the conspiray to murder, cold bloodedly, our General Secretary.
      Build youth power for socialism: Socialism in our lifetime
  • Our Second National Congress, which was convened under the theme of Build Youth Power for Socialism: Socialism in our Lifetime, agreed on key resolutions in building a strong YCLSA.
  • Our task at this National Conference is to ensure that as we discuss in commissions, we formalize and programmatise these resolutions.
  • I want to focus on some of the key resolutions that we have taken at the Second National Congress.
    All power to the people

I said consistently “Amandla Ngawethu” and “All Power to the People” as a dedication to the memory of Chris Hani because of his own belief that power belongs to the people. The National Liberation Movement, the ANC, the SACP, COSATU and the Mass Democratic Movement relied on the power to the people to defeat Apartheid.

Chris Hani did not believe in the centralization of power in the hands of few elected officials.

The one major challenge that we face as the elected leadership of these formations is to ensure that we close the gap between the leadership and the people. The advent of democracy and the occupation of new positions by our leaders have widened this gap between them and the people.

One of the most significant characteristics of Chris Hani was his ability to engage and pick up issues that affects the people. The political distance created between the people and their leaders makes this impossible. When the real challenge about access to Health for those who do not have, education for those without, food for the Hungry and the challenge of the socialization of the means of production into the hands of the people are the issues that affects our societies; the leaders provide wrong solutions for this problems. When we want food and houses, they use the land for golf courses and game farms. When we want healthcare and education for free, they tell us these can be provided if we can afford. In memory of Chris Hani, we should claim power as the people and direct our leadership.

With house shortages, electricity, hunger, water shortages, unemployment and HIV/AIDS as some of the challenges that you face in our communities. We need to ask ourselves the question, can we get all these issues sorted out by relying on the leaders, or do we need to mobilise and unleash the power and capacities of the people to ensure that all of these are achieved. But if we believe in our own power, then, and only then, we will ensure that we give meaning to our democracy.

Very many leaders this days join the ANC because of the opportunity to ascend into political office as and when the time comes. There are also those who, after 1994, continued to disregard the needs and interest of the people even when elected by the same people. When asked about whether he would be looking for office or not, Comrade Chris merely said that:

“The perks of a new government are not really appealing to me. Everybody of course, would like to have a good job, a good salary, and that sort of thing. But for me, that is not the be-all of a struggle. What is important is the continuation of the struggle – and we must accept that the struggle is always continuing – under different conditions whether within parliament, or outside parliament, we shall begin to tackle the real problems of the country. And the real problems of the country are not whether one is in the cabinet, or a key minister, but what we do for social upliftment of the working masses of our country.

This, from a man who did not even need to persuade or lobby others to be a Minister or Member of Cabinet, is a display of true leadership and an instruction on the youth to remain in service with the people. We want to be like Chris!

Build a strong YCLSA. Build a strong SACP

  • We resolved at the Congress to build a campaigning Young Communist League, which takes up issues affecting young people, especially on Education.
  • We said at the Congress that we will support the COSATU Jobs and Poverty Campaign, the SACP’s Financial Sector and Red October Campaign and prioritise our Campaign for Free Education.
  • Our tasks therefore, in this regard, is to ensure that we do the following:
    • Know what in happening in our communities in terms of education, what are the shortages in the school, what facilities are needed, how many learners are excluded from studying because of school fees, are there text-books, are there chairs and tables, are there enough teachers, are the classrooms, is there a shebeen next to the school. We need to ensure that we are aware of all these problems and raise them with the relevant authorities. This is what the branches of the YCL should be preoccupied wit
    • We need to further known what is happening in our communities in terms of jobs and poverty. We must know how many young people are unemployed in our township or village, how many have skills for jobs, how many are from destitute families, do they get child support grants, is there in any way the we as an organisation can help in the problems of unemployment and poverty, are we mobilizing young people to demand jobs and an end to poverty, do we take forward issues of basic services in our communities.
    • We need to build a dynamic branch of the YCL that closes the gap between our organisation and the youth.
    • We resolved at the Congress on the need to ensure that we build branches in each
    • Kabelo Thibedi Campaign
      South African road to socialism and the SACP and elections

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2007 POA

SACP 12th National Congress and ANC Policy and 52nd National Conference

Reflections of the relationship between the YCL and the SACP