YCL of South Africa, Gauteng Province message of support, delivered by Alex Mashilo: Gauteng Provincial Secretary at the occasion of the hosting of ANC Centenary flame by the SACP

Category: Speeches

28 October 2012, University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus

SACP Central Committee Members as by General Secretary Dr Blade Nzimande;
SACP PEC, DECs and BECs as led by Provincial Secretary CDE Jacob Mamabolo;
YCLSA PEC, DECs and BECs, fellow fighters;
Alliance and PYA leaderships;

Members of all our formations in the revolutionary movement, comrades and friends,

As the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) we appreciate being given this opportunity. We highly welcome the African National Congress (ANC) Centenary flame and we do so with warm hands. Particularly we are pleased that we welcome the centenary flame in this month of October.

October is dedicated by the ANC to one of the ever selfless leaders and revolutionaries of our movement – President OR Tambo. This is also a launching month for our annual Red October Campaign as led by the South African Communist Party (SACP). In the province we are still fresh from launching the campaign, with the Party leading a highly successful march to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), last Sunday, 21st October. The march and other associated actions that will follow if the SABC does not meet the demands submitted by the SACP, are part of our contribution in taking forward one of the key priorities of our programme as the alliance and the ANC-led government.

As the YCLSA we clearly understand the advancement of a fight against crime and corruption to be at the centre of the demands submitted by the SACP during the march to the SABC. We particularly want Party`s demands to be met with the urgency that it deserves. These demands include adoption of radical steps to eliminate: (1) corruption in the SABC, (2) tenderisation of the public broadcaster and its sale to the highest bidders, (3) factional and biased broadcasting in which among others a blackout had possibly been imposed on the SACP and its leadership by some elements in the SABC, especially television news and current affairs programmes but not least in other divisions.

We believe that the possible blackout on the SACP and its leadership was designed more likely as part and parcel of a failed factional agenda and utterly deceptive propaganda that the Party and its leadership are invisible. Mean while, it clearly appears as we characterised it as the YCLSA that some within the SABC had tacitly adopted a factional broadcasting policy involving what we called one demagogue and camera.

Along with populists, liberals and opportunists of different sorts, demagogues have been receiving overwhelming coverage by the SABC with common thread including attacks on the leadership of our movement, particularly President Jacob Zuma as the main target. OR Tambo would condemn this behaviour with the contempt it deserves and take practical steps correct it.

Like President Jacob Zuma, President OR Tambo would also not confuse steps to act decisively against ill-discipline and substitute them for the so-called political solution that, as it is now out there at a place in the sun for everyone to see, has possibly been advanced by some in exchange of political support. We say this confidently informed by the expulsions of various gangs in the ANC during and after OR Tambo`s leadership.

We are also pleased that the SACP not only hosts the ANC Centenary flame in the OR Tambo month, but an important month in the history of the Communist Party and indeed everyone in human society who identifies with the need to end all forms of oppression, domination and exploitation. Informing the founding of our Party`s Red October Campaign, October is the month during which the Bolshevik party led the first socialist revolution ever, in Russia. This and many other historic developments such as the persisting capitalist system crises and their impact on the overwhelming majority of the people in South Africa and the world over, serve to motivate us to advance and defend the struggle for socialism.

We are scientifically convinced that as a transition to communism, socialism represents the foundation and an indispensible advance towards a sustainable solution to capitalist barbarism and its conditions, effects (products) and levers for private capital accumulation, such as economic exploitation, inequality, poverty, unemployment, colonial and imperialist wars, among others just to mention but a few.

In our analysis of the socio-economic and political situation in Gauteng, we have noted with extreme sense of concern, that inequality, poverty and unemployment which exist side by side with some enclaves of wealth are not only manifested in the human settlement patterns and geography handed down from colonial and apartheid capitalist relations of production, between for example Alexander and Sandton. Within our own movement as led by the ANC here in Gauteng, inequality, poverty and unemployment exist side by side with some enclaves of wealth which is centred in few hands.

As Franz Fanon puts it in terms of his theory of post-colonialism in his work titled The Wretched of the Earth, specifically in a chapter titled The pitfalls of National Consciousness, there exists within our own ANC-led movement in Gauteng in its connection with government at both the local and provincial levels:

inequality in the acquisition of wealth and in monopolisation. Some have a double source of income and demonstrate that they are specialised in opportunism. Privileges multiply and corruption triumphs, while morality declines. Today the vultures are too numerous and too voracious in proportion to the lean spoils of ... wealth.

Fellow fighters, this and other new negative tendencies that emerged in post-colonialism in many revolutions including our own national democratic revolution must be fought against and defeated, else the revolution will degenerate. In The pitfalls of national consciousness, Fanon particularly condemns the emergence of a middle class-cum-intermediary bourgeoisie standing as a screen between the masses of the people and the former coloniser bourgeoisie (i.e. the former coloniser of special type and imperialist bourgeoisies in the case of South Africa) as a useless and harmful phenomenon. The ANC must have been aware about this when it wrote that:

our nationalism must not be confused with chauvinism or narrow nationalism of a previous epoch. It must not be confused with the classical drive by an elitist group among the oppressed people to gain ascendancy so that they can replace the oppressor in the exploitation of the mass. (Morogoro Strategy and Tactics, 1969)

OR Tambo would be gravely disappointed to learn that in the province of Gauteng there emerged elitist groupings he cautioned us against in long ago in 1969. These groupings are based on a New Tendency. They are so determined to turn and dominate, according to Fanon, the movement into a means of private advancement. In our province, this is linked with factional fights for positions of leadership, which are in turn liked with deployments and tenders. Out of tenders at both the local and provincial government levels there emerged those who have accumulated and continue to accumulate wealth on a private basis, thereby participating in the exploitation of the masses and widening inequality. All these things take place in the sea of poverty and high levels of unemployment.

In this pre-Mangaung period, some of the elements that so benefit are telling us about the so-called lack of leadership. They say they want change of leadership, which is nothing except factional change with absolutely no connection to the material change that our people want in their lives. Such a factional change, actually also counter-productive and counter-revolutionary, is advocated by elements that are part and parcel of the leadership of our country, both in the ANC and government. Such elements find pleasure in associating with collective achievements but dissociating with collective setbacks. This situation is so factional that, if you say “tell us about the change you want”, there would be no shame and hesitation by one to say “I want to be responsible for money”.

To borrow from Fanon, there are attempts to do away with a fruitful give-and-take from the bottom to the top and from the top to the bottom which creates and guarantees democracy in the movement, attempts to convert the movement into a screen between the masses and the leaders. Even on matters of leadership election, as Fanon puts it with the example of policy formulation, in The pitfalls of national consciousness there is one in terms of which a tendency emerges to impose directives and instructions on membership. This is not what OR Tambo stood for.

In memory of OR Tambo and the Great October Revolution, we must do all our best to ensure that the pitfalls of national consciousness that we have been cautioned against in the Morogoro Strategy and Tactics as well as in The Wretched of the earth, do not find any profound expression and manifestation in our movement going forward . We hope, and this hope is not an article of faith but a product of the work we are doing in our own right as ANC members, that Mangaung will deal decisively with the unwanted phenomena that poses a threat to our movement and the national democratic revolution.

We believe as the product of our work that Mangaung will reaffirm the progressive policies that emerged in Polokwane and the recent ANC National Policy Conference, as well as the progressive leadership that was elected in Polokwane as led by President Jacob Zuma. Part and parcel of our objectives in Mangaung must be to reaffirm the strategic importance of the alliance as led by the ANC. We say this worried that in Gauteng there are many things that leave much to be desired about the state of the alliance at all levels.

The national leadership of the ANC under President Jacob Zuma and Gwede Mantashe as Secretary-General has showed both willingness and demonstrated capacity to unite, involve and lead the alliance in taking forward the national democratic revolution including through the application of state power. We must learn from this and strengthen the alliance in Gauteng, rather than fall deception to the so-called lack of leadership which is nothing but a figment of factional imagination on the part of some of its advocates.

As the YCLSA we would like to make use of this opportunity to condemn corruption, abuse of power and authority in our province at all levels to the contempt it deserves. We call on government to publicly release the reports of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) into governance in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and the provincial Department of Health. Particularly action must to be taken without fear of favour against any wrongdoing that has been found.

We would also like to take this opportunity to reaffirm that indeed the ANC is not just a leader of its members only, by the way which include us as the Communists in our own right. It is only a matter of time that those who thought otherwise, both within and outside the ANC, come in contact with hard facts. Comrades, as you know, facts are stubborn. The ANC is a leading formation of our national liberation movement and the alliance, in which it is a partner with the Congress of the South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the SACP. From its founding and development the ANC has won for itself, of course not without our contribution as the Communists, a position of the leader of our society and government.

Long live the ANC long live!

Maatla!

Forward with the struggle for socialism forward!

Thank you very much!