15 January 2019
“JSRTLC 2019: The Year of the TVET Sector”
National Chairperson, Cde Senzeni Zokwana;
Gauteng Provincial Chairperson, Cde Joe Mpisi;
SACP General Secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande;
National Officials and Central Committee;
COSATU General Secretary, Cde Bheki Ntshalintshali;
ANC NWC Member, Cde Nathi Mthethwa;
YCLSA National Chairperson; Cde Mabuse Mpe;
5th Congress National Committee;
Our fraternal international formations;
All our structures here present;
Receive our most humbled and revolutionary greetings from the 5th Congress National Committee.
This gathering takes place in a very important month in our revolutionary calendar. We converge here to remember and celebrate the life well lived by our leader. Amongst his generation is known as a “patriot, a father, a fighter, a negotiator, an internationalist, a theoretician and an organiser”. It is worth noting that our country’s democratic breakthrough is maturing to 25 years and as communists we have a responsibility to analyse the past 25 years as to whether the working class as the motive force of the revolution benefitted or it has been years of less transformation.
It is indeed an honour for us to be afforded this opportunity to share our views in celebrating and commemorating the life and times of our revered revolutionary stalwart, our former General Secretary, and former National Chairperson and ANC NEC Member, comrade Joe Slovo.Â Cde Joe Slovo is a man who inspired many of his generation and generations after him, he belonged to a generation that defied the brutal system of the Apartheid regime. We remain inspired by his courageous acts and taking into cognizance that he had a choice to settle for the status quo however he remained committed to the liberation struggle. He is one amongst the few who directly confronted racial exploitation.
Today we commemorate an outstanding leader who understood that the future and success of any country lies in its youth. A man who knew that young people are an important pillar of any nation or organisation.Â Youth are in a better position to introduce new dimensions and ideas contributing to the current socio-political and economic dialogue, particularly in the current epoch. Whilst, they remain a strata, youth cannot be wished away in a cause of struggle and advancement of their generational mission.
We commemorate a leader, who eloquently understood a struggle for socialism. He understood that, Socialism is about taking power by the working class in an alliance with other strata of working people, destruction of the old state-machine, the bourgeoisie’s instrument of political domination- and establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, institution of social ownership of the means of production, eradication of all forms of exploitation and oppression and of class antagonisms. Socialism is the first phase of a communist society.
As a theoretician, he taught us that, we should just pose a question by asking only whether our struggle is a national struggle or a class struggle, obviously we will get a wrong answer. The right question is: what is the relationship between these two categories. A failure to understand the class content of the national struggle and the national content of the class struggle in existing conditions can hold back the advance of both the democratic and socialist transformations which we seek. Cde Joe Slovo is one of the finest revolutionary contributed immensely to the struggle during his youthful age through his theoretical writing, which assisted the Party to define phenomena on the national content and the content of the class struggle, in him, we see ourselves.
His ideas still live with us and find relevance to our day-to-day challenges. He had amazing and dexterous way to characterise the rise of youth in sectoral needs in all sites of struggle. He cherished new ideas to blossom and nourish the growth of this revolutionary ideas of Socialist Struggle. He was a man of quality, of personal integrity, personal discipline and open mindedness thus in many instances those reluctant on accepting new ideas will see the youth as ill-discipline, disrespectful and at times counter-revolutionary.
Cde Joe Slovo, we commemorate today, believed in the power of persuasion as a critical weapon that every young person especially as an aspirant communist needs to have in order to be the change, we want to see in the liberation movement and the society at large. Allow me comrade chairperson, to say when we speak about a man who understood working class youth and who cared for the unemployed, school going youth, university students, TVET students, who are faced with a cruelty and brutality of the capitalist system. We mean the sons and daughters of Nurses, Petrol attendants, kitchen girls, garden boys, Educators, Police, Peasants, Street hawkers and disable youth.
Cde Chairperson, as the 5th Congress leadership in his honour and memory we dare not to fail the youth of South Africa and entire membership. Allow us to reiterate that this year, we are not going to disappoint our membership with the mandate given to us.
We congratulate the class off 2018 for their sterling work. We will ensure that our Joe Slovo Right to learn Campaign gives attention to our congress theme and resolutions. As part of deepening youth mobilisation and building capacity for people’s power, we will focus on youth manifesto which speaks of various fronts that we need to be engaged on. Our Congress has mandated us that the Education remain a site of struggle and the system must be radically transformed. We have vowed to advance the struggle for attaining free and compulsory quality education for the poor. This should be broadened beyond breaking financial barriers but transforming the neo-liberal curriculum content of our education system. Our content of learning and teaching must be bias to the working class and the poor as the motive force of the revolution, further challenge the dominance of neo-liberal curriculum content in our institutions which affects even the social being of our students and confronting the two elephants of institutional autonomy and academic freedom by institutions especially the historically privileged ones.
The YCLSA has a responsibility of defining and characterising education outside the confines of it being means to an end exclusively for labour, as Engels alluded at the burial of Marx that ”Mankind must first eat, drink, have shelter and clothing before it pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc” in the contemporary context we are still subjected to learning and ultimately having sources of education from all areas of our lives as we continue to learn fromÂ our communities, older generations, and from one another (emphasis on one another).
We declared 2019 as the year for the TVET Sector. You would remember that this is not a new campaign must more emphasis on addressing the challenges faced by students in the TVET Sector. The TVET sector is faced with challenges of poor infrastructure, the curriculum content that actually makes this sector more of any extended grade 12, especially the NCV curriculum. Students for years have not seen this as an institution of first choice and through the 2019 Joe Slovo Roght to Learn Campaign, we have a responsibility to change such. In 2011, the Department of Higher Education and Training declared ‘A decade of an Artisan’ and little has been done in achieving that goal. It is incumbent on us, to make this sector a first choice in order to achieve that set goal.
Comrade Chairperson, it will be difficult to achieve all these issues without a strong and vibrant Progressive Youth alliance that has for years been weakened. We have since failed to be the voice of reason and a beacon of hope to the destitute masses of our people in particular the youth. We commit that in honour of comrade Slovo, we will work hard to unite and re-energise the progressive youth movement in the country.
Since the movement resolved on the radical phase of transition, nothing much has happen in realistic approach however we believe that the second more radical phase must mean radical implementation of the freedom charter in advancing the struggle for economic freedom and it must deal with the question of property relations and the ownership of the means of production must be speedily transferred to the majority of our people. We also believe that the biggest stumbling block to the above is the capitalist character of monopoly capital which is inherently corrupt and it delays any radical socio-economic transformation instead it will continuously push for cosmetic transformation that shall seek to co-opt few elites.
The working class is on the receiving end of the challenges facing our country. We must all agree that chief amongst this, it is because for the past decade, the country has been on auto-pilot and instead we have seen a zeal for conspicuous consumption by those close and captured by the Gupta Parasitic Network. We must strengthen our fight against corruption as part of fixing the country. Whilst we fight against this, we must not close eyes while there are attempts to privatize most of our state-owned enterprises. The Party as a vanguard, has more responsibility to unite the working class through popular fronts that will confront some of these tendencies emerging. As part of consolidating the unity of the working class in defense of the National Democratic Revolution, the Party has a responsibility to build an independent profile in the quest for a socialist South Africa. The YCLSA will work with progressive civil societies, NGOs and youth formations to fight against the offensive facing the working class.
In honour of comrade Joe Slovo, the internationalist. We recommit ourselves to practical support to all oppressed peoples of the world as we believe that International solidarity is not an act of charity: it is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objectives.
As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, we commit ourselves to work with international allies to intensify the struggle to defeat imperialism and disregard of international law especially by the masters of imperialism, U.S as led by Trump.
Our commitment to the Swazi struggle will never be deterred. The royal family continue to entrench a deep culture of cancerous corruption and greed. Recently, during the annual summer political school of the Communist Party of Swaziland, we committed to strengthen our relations with the progressive youth formations in Swaziland in order to advance the struggle for the obliteration of the Tinkundla regime and realisation of a democratic Swaziland. It was so disgusting for our own deployees in government would naturalise the Gupta family who had nothing to do with our liberation struggle yet deny the Swazi comradesÂ permanent asylum status. It is against this background, we reiterate our call for the unconditional release of comrade Amos Mbendzi and all other political prisoners, unbanning of political parties and isolation of the Swaziland in all global forums.
As the year begins, we wish our Party well in deepening, defending and advancing the National Democratic Revolution. We remain the only hope for the working class and let us not disappoint them. Let us go out there and do it for Joe Slovo.
Amandla!!! Socialism in our lifetime!!!