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SACP Press Statement, 1 June 2008


SACP Central Committee, 30-31 May 2008


The Central Committee of the SACP met in Johannesburg on the 30th and 31st May. A key focus of the meeting was the wave of criminal violence and looting in parts of our country, much of it directed against foreign nationals. The CC received detailed reports on how SACP national, provincial and local structures in the affected areas responded immediately to the crisis and, together with alliance partners and many other structures, provided leadership and assistance.

The SACP agrees with the analysis that there are multiple causes underlying this wave of violence and criminality that has seen the poor pitted against the poor in communities locked into grinding poverty. South Africa is not alone in confronting the challenges of mass immigration. However, the relative wealth in pockets of our country in the midst of a deepening crisis in our own rural areas, and in a wider sub-Saharan region devastated by two decades of neo-liberal globalization, has meant that we have had one of the highest absolute and relative levels in the world of internal and cross-border migration into inner city slums and peri-urban informal settlements.

The crisis of the past two weeks has highlighted all the weaknesses in regional, economic, urban settlement and migration policies that the SACP has been raising for over a decade. The solution is not to build a fortress South Africa, as is implied by some right-wing suburban xenophobes in the DA and elsewhere. It is a solution that is neither humanly nor humanely possible. We must engage with our own rural areas and with the countries of origin with comprehensive and integrated development strategies – at the heart of which must be the question of food security and food sovereignty for our country, region and continent.

We must greatly improve the capacity and willingness of Home Affairs to effectively document immigrants, hundreds of thousands of whom are left in a limbo of non-legality, making them vulnerable to the predatory behaviour of corrupt officials and super-exploiting employers particularly in the security, retail and farming sectors. Working together with government we must expose employers who pay wages under the legal minimum. These super-exploiters are the real criminals, not the economic refugees. The SACP, COSATU and other progressive formations need to intensify our efforts to organize all workers in the informal sector, and our public development finance institutions need to be much more active in support of self-employed workers and coops.

As an immediate challenge, the welfare and safety of refugees in places of shelter must be addressed. But foreign nationals must be integrated as soon as possible back into communities and these communities must themselves be assisted and resourced to make this possible. The CC of the SACP has resolved to focus on building street and village committees, together with our allies and civic organizations, to empower communities to restore dignity and security to their lives.

The past weeks have seen many ugly acts for which, as South Africans, we should feel ashamed. But we have also witnessed very many acts of human solidarity, compassion and selfless bravery. Workers in the public sector and emergency services, including the police, Alliance branch members, faith-based organizations, NGOs, social movements and others have all worked to marginalize criminals and restore peace to their communities. The role of numbers of journalists, often relatively junior journalists, not least from the SABC, should also be commended. Some went into dangerous situations in order to tell the story of what was happening and, in the case of some reporting, the story of solidarity and of selfless work was also told. This has been in stark contrast to some of the media that have used the crisis simply to wallow in negative finger-pointing – "Mob Nation" was the banner headline of one newspaper.

The events of the past weeks have also exposed the dangers of a leadership vacuum in our country. While there is not yet support from our allies in this regard, the SACP continues to believe that the President of the country should be recalled. Quite how this should be done without creating more instability is a matter to be considered soberly – perhaps the calling of an early election could be considered. We emphasise that the SACP (together with a growing body of South African opinion) is making this call not in some grand-standing or factionalist spirit. On the contrary, our country and our region cannot afford to persist with the current blend of directionless absenteeism, and meddling factionalism and general irresoluteness. All of this has poisoned the security and intelligence forces of our country, the functioning of our public broadcaster, and much more.

The CC reiterates the SACP's call for the SABC Board to resign. We also reiterate our call for action to be taken against those operatives who were implicated in the Special Browse Mole episode.

The Reserve Bank governor's threat last week to raise interest rates a further 2 percentage points betrays a policy mandate that is increasingly hysterical and increasingly irrelevant, if not plain dangerous, to the well-being of our country. The appropriateness of inflation targeting and the present target band need to be revisited. We agree that inflation affects the poor the worst, but an effective response to externally driven inflation shocks cannot be through macro management alone, and especially macro management that undermines micro-economic responses by way of building food and energy security at home.

The CC also discussed a raft of bills before Parliament that are extremely problematic and should not be hurried through at the last moment. In particular, the CC singled out the Traditional Courts Bills which, if implemented, would entrench apartheid spatial divisions and carry us back into a feudal dispensation that has very little to do with the authentic and progressive cultural values of our people.

The CC also noted with approval important progress made last month in the Tripartite Summit and various SACP programmes and policy development initiatives are underway to engage actively with our alliance partners.

Issued by the SACP
For information Contact Malesela Maleka, SACP Spokesperson, 082 226 1802

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