Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump Visits Saudi Arabia While Cholera Epidemic in Yemen Worsens
Pentagon coordinated war leaves multitudes injured, dead and displaced

By AbayomiAzikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Tuesday May 16, 2017

Thousands of people are suffering from cholera in Yemen as the Health Ministry of the National Salvation Government declared a state of emergency.

Sanaa, the capital of the Middle Eastern state, was the scene of a high-level meeting by leading officials seeking to develop a plan to halt and eliminate the epidemic.

The meeting was chaired by the President of the Supreme Political Council Saleh al-Sammad and attended by other ranking figures within the administration.During the meeting there was an assessment of the epidemiological situation prevailing in the capital and other areas of the country.

Statistics released from the Ministry of Health indicated that 8,567 cases of the disease had been documented. A statement also stressed that the present crisis exceeded the capacity of the current government to effectively address.

An appeal for assistance was issued to international organizations. Hospitals in Sanaa were already overcrowded and a further spread of the infectious ailment would be catastrophic.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that there have been 11,000 cases of diarrhea confirmed in Yemen with many of them being related to cholera.  At a press conference in Geneva on May 16, UNICEF's spokesman Christophe Boulierac said that 130 people had died from cholera and that a third of all these cases involved children.

This disease resulting from the contamination of drinking water and lack of sanitary conditions is rapidly spreading in Yemen. With the daily bombing and shelling of civilian populated areas by the Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) forces, the basic infrastructure of the country has been severely damaged.

UN reports reveal that its agencies and their partners are supplying diarrhea disease kits, oral rehydration salts and water treatment tables to residents in the affected areas. Nevertheless, the spread of the disease is proving to be more widespread than the previous epidemic during October 2016.

Approximately 7.6 million people in this most impoverished country in the region are residing in areas designated as high risk for cholera infection. The targeting of civilian areas, electricity sources, healthcare facilities, water supplies and food storage centers indicates that the U.S.-backed military intervention is aimed at forcing the people of Yemen into submission to Riyadh, Washington and London who supply intelligence coordinates, refueling technology and military hardware for the carrying out of the war.

Trump Visit to Reinforce Imperialist Militarism in the Middle East

President Donald Trump in his first trip to the Middle East since coming to office in January is seeking to maintain the firm alliance between Washington and Riyadh. The war against the Yemeni people has escalated since the Republican president came to the White House.

Direct bombings and a deadly commando unit raid on a village in Yemen after only days in office has illustrated the expansionist program of the Trump presidency. U.S. coordination and support for the air strikes and ground assaults against the Ansurallah-led government in Sanaa is designed to wage a proxy war against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Ansurallah movement has denied direct military and economic support from Tehran while the coalition of U.S.-Saudi allied forces continues their relentless attacks on Yemen. Official estimates of deaths since the bombing and ground campaign that began in March 2015 due to the war range from 5,000-12,000 people.

It has been the war that has created the monumental crisis that worsens week by week. The relentless bombing and shelling by the Saudi-GCC Coalition and their allies have destroyed the ports preventing the distribution of medical supplies, food, water, tents and blankets.

An article from the UN News Center said of the situation in Yemen that: “The United Nations refugee agency today confirmed that for only the third time this year, its field teams were able to distribute humanitarian aid in the embattled district of Mokha, in Yemen's Red Sea governorate of Taiz. Hostilities in Taiz escalated in January, with nearly 50,000 people displaced, about 27 per cent of the internally displaced people in Yemen. The governorate also hosts about 304,000 additional displaced people.” (May 16,

This same report goes on to emphasize: “In parallel, north of Taiz, in Al Hudaydah, UNHCR team provided aid for about 17,745 people. Mr. Spindler said that aid workers noted ‘a huge spike’ in needs, with displaced people living on streets, and turning to begging and child labor to survive.More than three million who have been uprooted since the start of the conflict two years ago, and more are expected as hostilities are likely to intensify.”

The visit by the U.S. president is also related to the arming of Saudi Arabia in order that Riyadh can act as a surrogate to imperialist aims in the Middle East. A report on May 16 published by Press TV said the visit was related to a military contract worth over $100 billion. This deal will be discussed between Trump and the Saudi government.

Conditions surrounding the weapons consist of both arms sales and maintenance services. This is only the initial phase of the program which will eventually be valued at $300 billion.

Deadly Strikes against the Yemeni People Intensify

Many people are being killed in daily airstrikes and ground operations in Yemen. In response the forces allied with the Ansurallah (Houthis) and the military units of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh are inflicting casualties on the U.S.-backed units.

On May 17, Saudi fighter jets carried out four bombing raids in the Serwah district of Marib province. Bombs dropped from the aircraft hit Serwah Souk sides and Harib Nehm area.

Armed groups aligned with the Saudi-GCC Coalition launched artillery missiles into numerous neighborhoods of the same district.  Extensive destruction was evident damaging homes and other structures.

Later on the same day, 23 people, including women and children, died as a result of a U.S.-backed Saudi-GCC aerial bombardment against theMawza'a district in Taiz province. Residents said the air strikes hit an automobile in Sha'abu area in Mawza'a district as well, fatally wounding a civilian.  Eyewitnesses said three children and six civilians had not been identified.

Nonetheless, the anti-U.S. forces have continued their attacks on Saudi-GCC allied fighters operating on the ground. Despite the air campaign and ground attacks in various parts of the country by armed forces operating in conjunction with the ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi exiled regime along with commandos from Riyadh, Qatar and other states, the popular forces are quite capable of retaking territory and eliminating threats.

According to Saba News based in Yemen: “The army and popular forces destroyed a military vehicle of the Saudi-paid mercenaries in northern Midi desert, a military office told Saba on Wednesday (May 17). Also, the artillery of the army shelled groups of the mercenaries in the same desert, hitting target directly, the official added.”

In another dispatch from the same above-mentioned press agency reporting on the military operations of the forces seeking to defend the National Salvation Government based in Sanaa: “The missile units of the army and popular forces fired Katyusha rockets on Saudi military sites in Najran province, a military official told Saba on Wednesday (May 17). The missiles hit a Suqam headquarters building. Moreover, the artillery of the national forces shelled gatherings of Saudi soldiers in military sites of Raqabat Al Humer, Al Qatarinhilltop and Raqabat Al Sudis, the official added.” (Saba News)

Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia connotes the continuing war policy towards Yemen, Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Palestine. The objective of the White House and its surrogates is to stifle the alliance of revolutionary anti-imperialist forces throughout the Middle East in favor of the pro-western organizations and states.
Another Deal Announced in Recurrent Ivorian Military Mutiny
Former rebels demand payment of bonuses promised by western-allied regime

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Tuesday May 16, 2017

Yet another agreement has been reached aimed at ending unrest among military forces in the West African state of Ivory Coast.

Over a five day period, soldiers took control of several cities including Bouake, the second largest in the country, after a spokesman for the disgruntled troops claimed that they were dropping demands for full payment of promised funds which totaled $US8,400.

In repudiation of the apparently false statements ending the appeal for the bonuses, Bouake was placed under the control of the soldiers who regulated passage in and out of the city. The rebellion quickly spread to several major urban areas including the commercial capital of Abidjan where the Republican Guards who are loyal to President AlassaneOuattara fired shots above the heads of protesting troops.

Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa. Exports had been impacted due to the mutiny when ports had been closed on May 15.

Some reports which surfaced on May 16 indicated that some of the angry soldiers had already begun to be paid. Banks which had not been operating in Abidjan were reopened as well.

Just one day prior to the announcement of an agreement, cocoa firms, banks, along with government buildings in the western regional center of Daloa were shuttered. Residents reported that gunfire could be heard throughout the day.

A cocoa cooperative manager Aka Marcel told the international press in regard to the tense situation in Daloa that:"All businesses are closed here. The banks are closed and so are the cocoa buying businesses. The soldiers are in the streets on foot and on motorbikes. They're shooting in the air." (Reuters, May 15)

During the course of the unrest several more cities were impacted in addition to both Bouake and Abidjan. The port city of San Pedro near neighboring Burkina Faso saw the blocking of the border by the rebelling soldiers.

One spokesman for the soldiers in the most recent dispute, Sergeant SeydouKone, said that "We accept the government's proposal ... We are returning to barracks now.” Kone was speaking from the center of the mutiny in Bouake.

Another spokesperson for the rebel soldiers who wanted to be called simply Sergeant Cisse, said:"We've just handed back control of the entrances to the city (Bouake) to the police and gendarmes this morning, and we're returning to our barracks.There's no one on the streets. It's finished. They are all in the barracks. There hasn't been a single shot fired since 8 a.m.” (Retuers, May 16)

However, during the early morning hours outside of Bouake it was reported that soldiers were blocking the entrance of some 200 commercial trucks. Military forces which remained loyal to the Ouattara regime emphasized that they were working to reestablish control in order to maintain the existing political order.

There are approximately 8,000 troops out of 22,000 in total within the military apparatus involved in the dispute. Nonetheless, on May 13 three people who were said to have been demobilized former soldiers were shot by the mutineers.

Sergeant Kone was quoted as saying the former troops were shot to prevent them from organizing their own separate demonstrations. In other cities such as Korhogo, Daloa and Abidjan, demonstrations against the mutinous soldiers took place.

Altogether there were at least six people reportedly wounded. One person who had suffered gunshot injuries died in Bouake.

Sergeant Kone said during the attempts to suppress the protests that the rebellious troops had no problem with the population. The spokesperson for the mutinous soldiers said their only objective was to get paid.

The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the mutiny demanding that the soldiers return to their barracks immediately. Republic of Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is the current Chair of the Authority of Heads of State for ECOWAS, emphasized that the unrest placed the stability of region in jeopardy.

With the purported resolution of the most recent split within the military, it still does not address the broader questions of economic stability and political accountability.

Background to the Crisis and Its Political Dimensions

These mutineers are the forces that supplemented French paratroopers in the putsch against former President Laurent Gbagbo who was targeted for removal after he defied France and the United States in a dispute over the national elections in 2010.

In April 2011, Gbagbo, his wife Simone and other top officials were arrested by French troops at a makeshift headquarters in a hotel. The president was later deported from his own country to The Netherlands where he is now facing trial by the controversial International Criminal Court (ICC).

Since the ascendancy of the Ouattara regime, the western-based firms have made substantial investments inside the country. Up until recently, the West African state was being hailed as having one of the fastest growing economies in the region.

However, over the last two years there has been a precipitous drop in the prices of cocoa and oil. Petroleum workers engaged in a strike during February 2016 demanding an end to lay-offs which would impact up to 10 percent of the workforce of a leading employer.

Simone Gbagbo, who is a political figure within the Popular Front Party (PFI) that was overthrown in April 2011, was charged and convicted by the Ouattara regime for alleged crimes committed during the struggle against French foreign policy machinations in 2010-2011. She was imprisoned under a 20-year sentence and charged again for alleged crimes against humanity.

In late March a court in Ivory Coast acquitted her on the additional charges of human rights crimes. Nonetheless, she has not been released on the previous convictions which are highly politicized.

Former President Gbagbo is being targeted in the Netherlands by an institution, the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has been criticized within the highest deliberative body of the continental African Union (AU). At the 50th anniversary Jubilee summit in May 2013 commemorating its predecessor the Organization of African Unity (OAU), member-states raised the potential for a massive withdrawal from being signatories of the Rome Statue which laid the framework for the creation of the ICC.

ICC officials have also issued warrants against Mrs. Gbagbo. In this instance the current government of Ouattara has refused to extradite the former first lady to the Netherlands to join her husband in detention in Europe.

Several African states have made the declaration of resignation from being under the jurisdiction of the Netherlands-based institution. These include Burundi, South Africa and Gambia. The U.S. and EU-backed ECOWAS intervention and subsequent coup which removed Gambian President Yahya Jammeh in February replacing him with Adama Barrow, immediately resulted in the western-backed leader reentering the small West African nation back into the ICC.

A High Court in South Africa has attempted to render the African National Congress (ANC) government’s rejection of the ICC null and void ruling that the withdrawal is unconstitutional without parliamentary approval. Such decisions prompted by legal action initiated by the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) illustrates that key rulings handed down by the South African courts are reflective of the ideological struggle emerging within the post-apartheid political construct.

Almost all of the investigations, indictments and trials by the ICC are directed against African heads of state and rebel leaders. In the cases of Libya and Ivory Coast investigations by the ICC were carried out in tandem with military bombings and invasions to topple governments at variance with the administrations in Paris and Washington.

Moreover, the egregious imperialist war crimes and acts of genocide resulting in the deaths, injuries and displacement which factor into the millions against the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola, Somalia, etc., have never been the focus of the ICC and its prosecutors. Consequently, many African states, if not publicly raise concerns privately, in the belief that the ICC is an instrument for the extension of colonial rule.

The ICC is a mechanism designed for the explicit purpose of facilitating the interference in the internal affairs of African states. Although the leading western capitalist governments have refused to adhere to the purported authority of the ICC, the institution is utilized as a foreign policy tool to maintain destabilization campaigns against adversarial forces and those which can be identified as constituting a rationale for U.S., European Union, NATO and their allies to carry out aerial bombardments, the imposition of draconian sanctions and the engineering of military and political coups.

This recent unrest among the defense forces in Ivory Coast follows a similar rebellion in January where promises were also made which have apparently not been met. The government has acknowledged that despite the foreign direct investment model of economic policy, the implementation of such an approach is heavily dependent upon exports of primary products to western markets and the granting of tax havens to the transnational corporations and financial institutions.

Ouattara was a long time functionary of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which as a result of the contemporary world crisisis becoming more involved in loan projects that have historically proven extremely disadvantageous to African states. The neo-colonial systems of relation between the former industrialized countries in regard to their previous colonial and semi-colonial territories have long exhausted economic usefulness. AU and popular forces outside of governments have continued to address the need for deeper integration of African states and the development of regional monetary and industrial zones which place priorities on continental development.

The ongoing detention and prosecution of President Gbagbo does not serve the interests of the Ivorian and African people. Such a scenario only serves as a means to reassert western dominance of the political affairs of the continent.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sat. May 20, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Sat. May 20, 2017 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this program just click on the following URL:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the legacy of Ho Chi Minh on today's Vietnam; the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Committee in Solidarity with the World People has issued a statement on the present world situation; China has objected to the declaration by New Zealand and Japan on economic development in the South Sea; and the Syrian military continues its operations against armed opposition groups financed by the United States.

In the second hour we continue our monthlong focus on the 92nd birthday of Malcolm X (1925-1965) examining the martyr's views on race and international relations.

Finally we present an audio documentary on the 1954 heroic battle of Dien Bien Phu by the Vietnamese people against French imperalism.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sat. May 13, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Sat. May 13, 2017 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this program just click on the website below:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the continuing diplomatic relations between the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Islamic Republic of Iran; South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that he is willing to meet with the widows of the mineworkers killed in Marikana nearly five years ago; President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo has appointed a new 50-member cabinet in this Central African state; and soldiers have mutinied once again in the restive West African state of Ivory Coast.

In the second hour we continue our tribute to Robert Nesta Marley, better known as Bob Marley, surrounding the 36th anniversary of his transition in 1981.

And finally we present another segment honoring the 92nd birthday of African American liberation movement martyr Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz).
Jacob Zuma says the ANC is the only organisation that has a track record in bringing prosperity, especially in black communities.

Ziyanda Ngcobo
Eyewitness News

DURBAN – President Jacob Zuma has told residents living in Nquthu not to be left behind as the country continues to progress and must allow for the African National Congress (ANC) to better their lives.

On Sunday, Zuma addressed the Siyanqoba rally in the area, officially closing off campaigning for the party ahead of next Wednesday’s by-elections.

Nquthu is the only municipality that has failed to elect a mayor and other leadership due to political infighting.

During last year’s municipal elections, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) won 15 seats, the ANC 14, the National Freedom Party two, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and da each got one.

Zuma says the ANC has humbled itself before the people of Nquthu and will fix the mistakes the party has made if elected into office.

He says it is the only organisation that has a track record in bringing prosperity, especially in black communities.

After his address, Zuma visited King Hlatshwayo from Nondweni, who gave the president a cow, two sheep and blankets.

At the same time, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi and EFF leader Julius Malema also addressed a rally in the area.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says when he met with the rating agency, they told him the signs in the ANC point to a possible split.

Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

RUSTENBURG - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says ratings agency Moody’s is concerned that the African National Congress (ANC) will split, saying he has told the agency that will never happen.

Ramaphosa addressed ANC and SACP supporters at the Moses Kotane Memorial Lecture in Rustenburg in the North West earlier on Sunday.

Ramaphosa says when he met with rating agency Moody's on Friday, the agency told him the signs in the ANC point to a possible split.

“And they were saying the ANC shows fractionalised… our own assessment, from a ratings agency side is that we see that this movement is going to split.”

He says he told them that will not happen.

“It will not split because the ANC has a responsibility to unite the people of South Africa. And the ANC itself has its own responsibility of remaining united.”

The deputy president also told supporters the ANC has an opportunity to unite and rebrand itself at its elective conference later this year.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)
The SACC said last week that the country is just a few inches away from becoming a mafia state, from which there will be no return.

Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is saddened by state capture allegations contained in a report by the South African Council of Churches (SACC).

He’s urged the ANC to act swiftly to ensure the country doesn’t become a mafia state.

Ramaphosa addressed African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) supporters at the Moses Kotane memorial lecture in Rustenburg in the North West on Sunday.

Last Thursday, the SACC released a report containing allegations from current and former government employees on how certain individuals close to the president have gained control of some state-owned entities.

The SACC said last week that the country is just a few inches away from becoming a mafia state, from which there will be no return.

Ramaphosa says this is worrying.

“It is absolutely imperative that we act with urgency and purpose and make sure that we never become a mafia state because once you become a mafia state, all the wheels have come off.”

That report has led the deputy president to repeat his call for a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

“We need to go the bottom of it through an independent judicial commission that must be established so that we go to the bottom of this.”

He says the inquiry needs to be soon so that allegations of state capture are left behind when the party campaigns for elections in 2019.


Ramaphosa said the ANC must act with urgency.

“Yes they’ve released that report. They’ve raised their concerns and if we as the ANC are to counter this grave threat… if the ANC is to recover its leadership role in society then it’s absolutely imperative that we act with urgency and purpose and make sure that we never become a mafia state.

“Because once we become a mafia state all the wheels have come off,” said Ramaphosa, whose delivery was at times passionate, a marked contrast to his normally reserved manner.

The SACP setting was a pointed one, as the party is a key political ally of the ANC and has called for Zuma to resign.

Relations between Zuma and Ramaphosa, 64, a former trade union organiser who led negotiations to end white rule in 1994, have become increasingly strained, according to local media reports.

Zuma has consistently denied allegations of corruption levelled against him, his government and some associates, and branded protesters calling for his resignation “racist”.

Ramaphosa also said that he had met with ratings agency Moody’s on Friday and their view was that the ANC was on the verge of a split. He said he assured them that would not happen.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)
Red Alert--Chris Malikane and the Gupterisation of Marxism
By Jeremy Cronin, Alex Mashilo and Malesela Maleka
South African Communist Party Umsebenzi Online, Volume 16, No. 9,  May 11, 2017

Chris Malikane`s now famous mini-manifesto, titled "Concerning the Current Situation", was published days after he was appointed as political adviser to the new minister of finance, Malusi Gigaba. It was intended to serve, presumably, as a strategic perspective for the new minister in a critical portfolio. The mini-manifesto purports to be a radical Marxist analysis of the present dynamic reality in South Africa. It provoked a storm of outrage in some quarters, and gullible support in others.

It is the contention of this intervention that, whether wittingly or unwittingly, Malikane`s mini-manifesto amounts to a radical-sounding, "Marxist" cover-up for Gupta-style, parasitic state capture.

In advancing this argument, this intervention will seek to take Malikane`s mini-manifesto seriously on its own terms, and not rely on rumours, for instance, that Malikane has visited the Guptas` compound ( - "What was Gigaba`s adviser doing in Saxonwold in 2016?"). Equally, this intervention will not rely on the, nonetheless troubling, admission by Malikane that he is prepared to be ideologically opportunist (see "Finance minister`s adviser Malikane plays an academic Jeckyll and Hyde game". When confronted with a recent academic publication that completely contradicts the views expressed in his mini-manifesto, Malikane responds: "Don`t confuse my academic writing and what I believe to be true…we sometimes write in order to simply play in the publishing game.")

But let`s get back to the mini-manifesto itself. What are its core proposals?

Malikane argues that "the first phase" of the national democratic revolution (NDR) is "fast approaching its end". It is a phase, he says, in which "white monopoly capital" enjoyed "unfettered dominance" "over all levers of power".

What signals this imminent end? It is the firing of the former minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan, and the appointment of Malusi Gigaba, who just happens to have appointed Malikane as his principal political adviser. "For the first time," Malikane writes, "the removal of the Finance Minister without the approval of white monopoly capital has signalled the end of the phase of unfettered white monopoly capitalist domination, at least within the state and the ruling party".

What has driven this change? It is "that section of the black capitalist class that is currently at war with white monopoly capital" .

What are the tasks of the left in this supposed context? The tasks are to build a united front against "white monopoly capital" to support the "black capitalist class" that is "at war" with
"white monopoly capital", because, on its own, this "black capitalist class" is both unreliable and incapable of taking forward the NDR.

Sadly, this perspective is delusional in almost every respect. The firing of Gordhan (and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas) was precipitated not because they supported so-called "white monopoly capital", but because they fought desperately to expose and prevent corporate looting of public resources, whether in regard to a nuclear procurement deal; or in SAA, Eskom, Transnet, Denel, SARS, the Lesotho Highlands phase two project, the SASSA/Cash Paymaster Services extortion of pensioners, and much more besides. In short, they were fired for opposing Gupterisation.

However, no sooner was the ink dry on Malikane`s mini-manifesto than reality itself stepped in. Within 24-hours of his appointment, the new Minister of Finance was announcing "no change in macro-economic policy"; and within 10 days of his appointment, Malikane was saying that his bold manifesto proclaiming the dawn of a radical new phase of the NDR was just "a suggestion" and that his role in Treasury was purely "technical".

In short, just as Jimmy Manyi`s "Decolonisation Foundation", and Andile Mngxitama`s "Black First Land First" (BFLF), Gupta-funded and Bell-Pottinger conceptualised pop-up lobby groups have endeavoured to provide parasitic looting with a radical "Africanist" cover, so Malikane`s mini-manifesto (wittingly or otherwise) provides the same parasitic agenda with a radical sounding "Marxist" veneer. It is no accident that Malikane has quickly found the BFLF scoundrels and the most decadent elements within the ANC Youth league to be his most fervent supporters.

At the heart of Malikane`s analysis, and the perspective that links him with the Gupta izimbongi (or praise singers), is his argument that the current reality in South Africa is characterised by a particular alignment of forces. On the one side is "white monopoly capital" and "credit-based black capitalists", the latter having accumulated wealth on the basis of black economic empowerment (BEE) deals in collusion with monopoly capital. Opposing them, according to Malikane, are "black capitalists" who have taken advantage of state tenders. "In so far as the tender-based capitalist-class has begun its war against the dominant white monopoly capitalist class [and its black allies], it has to be encouraged."  In short, Malikane takes sides with "black, tender-based capitalists". (They are not, by the way, "a class" as such, but rather a fraction within the capitalist class - but more on Malikane`s curious, non-Marxist use of the concept "class" later.)

Malikane`s stance might bear a fleeting resemblance to a Leninist position - make use of the intra-imperialist First World War (1914-1918) to advance a different radical agenda. But Lenin NEVER sought to "encourage" German imperialism in its war (it was a real war) with Russian imperialism. It is the all-round crisis of neo-liberalism (social, economic, political, and ideological) that creates the space (and necessity) for advancing a popular and working class-based radical perspective. It is not "tender-based" capitalists (a morbid symptom of the capitalist crisis) who create the opening for such an advance.

But how did Malikane arrive at this dangerously mistaken strategic and tactical reading of our present reality?

Let`s begin at the beginning. Malikane frames his argument with an opening sentence: "The first phase of the democratic revolution in South Africa, what we called the ‘post-1994 breakthrough`, is fast approaching its end."  (Presumably, Malikane means the 1994 breakthrough?)

The SACP has consistently analysed the post 1994 South African reality differently. It is not a question of trying to "end" the first phase - but of advancing, deepening and defending the 1994-1996 democratic breakthrough, by way of a second radical advance of the NDR. The first phase abolished the institutions of white minority rule; introduced one-person one-vote representative democracy; and a progressive constitution drawn up by a democratically elected constituent assembly. It created a bridge-head from which to make further radical advances, but these advances and even the durability of the democratic breakthrough itself were (and are) not guaranteed.

In the SACP`s perspective the advance, deepening and defence of the first phase required (and requires more desperately than ever) a radical second phase of the NDR. In principle, this second phase should have commenced immediately in the mid-1990s, on the basis of the democratic breakthrough. This was a time when South African monopoly capital was more off-balance domestically; when the ANC had an electoral majority that most progressive formations (including in Latin America) can only dream of; and working class organisation and the popular movement had not yet lost much of their mobilised militancy.

By opening up his argument in a different way, Malikane is thinking of mechanically separated stages, one of which has to "end", for the next to start, rather than inter-penetrating phases both of which will be riddled with class conflict. In heralding an "end" of the first "phase", Malikane is opening the way for Gupta-style, parasitic-patronage networks to ride rough-shod over the 1996 constitution and the essentially progressive democratic rule of law it established, while opportunistically presenting this as "radical economic transformation".

The problems inherent in Malikane`s first sentence are entrenched in his second framing sentence: "This phase [the first phase] has been characterised by unfettered dominance of white monopoly capital over all levers of power in all spheres of society."  It is as if there have been NO class struggles, NO national-democratic popular struggles since 1994 - whether at the point of production, or in communities, or within the state.

There is a half-truth in this, of course. As the SACP has been in the lead in asserting: monopoly capital (for a variety of reasons) succeeded in exerting a (nonetheless CONTESTED and UNSTABLE) hegemony over post-1994 South Africa. But this considerable dominance has not been "unfettered".

Malikane`s claim of absolute dominance by "white" monopoly capital is underpinned by further conceptual confusions. There are two basic flaws, both of which are fundamentally non-Marxist:

A curious, essentially capitalist understanding of the creation of value - little different, in practice, from the DA argument that South Africa is kept afloat by the tiny minority of (read, largely white) income tax-payers; and An equally curious sociological understanding of "class".
Let`s briefly look at each in turn.

Where does value come from?

Malikane`s belief that in the "first phase" "white monopoly capital" has enjoyed absolute dominance ("unfettered dominance") is because, according to him, the state/public sector is only kept afloat ultimately by taxes derived from "white monopoly capital". This is how he argues the point:

"The dominance of white monopoly capital in the economy determines the nature of the state and the society as a whole, since the existence of the state itself is supported by the resources that have been monopolised by white capital. All the classes that pay taxes are, to a very large extent, dependent on the resources under the control of white monopoly capital. Even the ability of workers to pay taxes, depends on the employment they get largely from white monopoly capital. Employees of the state derive their salaries from state taxes and state borrowing, which ultimately spring from the resources under white monopoly. Therefore, not only is the state objectively owned and controlled by white monopoly capital, in fact largely the whole of society is under white monopoly capitalist control."

Implicit in this argument is the thoroughly capitalist notion that it is only the private sector that creates value. From a crude capitalist accounting approach, work in the public sector essentially belongs in the "consumption" column. Hence the typical mainstream media view that public sector teachers, health-care workers, or municipal workers, for instance, are simply a burden (at best, perhaps, a necessary one) on the tax-payer. Activities that don`t produce private profits for capitalists are not considered as contributing to economic growth, but are rather a deduction from it. From this standpoint the only economic role of the state is redistributive - it has no productive role.

This, at least, is implicit in Malikane`s argument. What is more explicit is the bizarre view that monopoly capital basically owns and controls all of our society`s resources. He assumes that the state and broad public sector neither own, nor control significant assets. But this simply isn`t true. In fact, all of South Africa`s ports and the great majority of our rail system are owned and controlled by Transnet and its subsidiaries; the majority of electricity in South Africa is generated and all of it is transmitted by Eskom; our major airports are owned and controlled by ACSA (now once more 100 percent publicly owned); the majority of our air-fleet is owned and operated by public entities - most notably SAA; with the passing of the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Development Act, all mineral resources were placed under public ownership with trusteeship vested in the state; the broadcast spectrum is controlled and regulated by the state; the Department of Public Works` Property Management Trading Entity has a property portfolio some seven times larger than the next largest property portfolio (that belonging to the JSE-listed Growthpoint); the largest investment fund in South Africa is the publicly controlled Public Investment Corporation with over R1,857 trillion assets under management; etc. etc.

Whether the post-1994 democratic state has used its ownership and control over this vast asset base to effectively leverage and drive radical transformation is another matter. In fact, the failure to do so lies at the heart of the failure thus far to drive an effective second radical phase of the NDR.

But notice the potential implication of falsely declaring, as Malikane does, that the public sector doesn`t own anything. If the "state [is] objectively owned and controlled by white monopoly capital" then you can present the looting of public resources as a blow against "white monopoly capital"!

Capital, capitalism, capitalists, class and race

Malikane`s mini-manifesto is replete with confusions when it comes to the core concepts of Marxism - capital, capitalism, capitalists and class. In fact, his use of these terms is what Lenin once impolitely described as "vulgar empiricism". Of course, Marxist scriptural orthodoxy for its own sake is not the point here. The point is that Malikane`s muddled use of these concepts opens the way to his strategic and tactical confusion.

Without going into too much theoretical detail here, some very basic and elementary Marxist points.

"Capital", the subject matter of Marx`s famous study, knows neither colour, creed nor sexual orientation. From a Marxist perspective it doesn`t make sense to speak of "white" (or any other colour-coded) capital, just as it doesn`t make sense to speak of "female capital", or "Hindu capital".

"Capitalism", however, is a more concrete concept, referring to social systems embedded in concrete historical situations. While racial or patriarchal oppression are extraneous to the laws of capital in general (and are found in non-capitalist societies as well), actual capitalist societies have always integrated racial and patriarchal forms of oppression into their systems of production and reproduction. This is certainly the case with South African capitalism where racial (national/colonial) and patriarchal (especially by way of indirect "traditional" rule in the labour reserves) have played an exceptionally prominent role that has left a terrible and continuing racialised, gendered and spatial legacy in our society.

"Classes" are determined by their position in the relations of production. In a capitalist system there are two major classes - the capitalists (the bourgeoisie) and the working class (the proletariat). In Malikane`s mini-manifesto there is, however, a veritable proliferation of classes.

There is a "white capitalist class", a "black capitalist class", but then, confusingly, two "black capitalist classes" - a "credit-based black capitalist class", and a "tender-based black capitalist class". On the other side there is a "black working class", but confusingly also an "African working class", along with a "white working class".

There are not three or more separate capitalist classes within the South African capitalist system, nor are there several working classes. But there are certainly multiple strata and fractions within these two major contemporary classes, and there are multiple contradictions, most of them fundamentally non-antagonistic, between different strata and fractions within each class. There is friction, for instance, between South African monopoly capitalists and foreign monopoly capitalists. There are contradictions between South African monopoly capitalists in the manufacturing sector and those in the largely export-oriented mining sector. There are stratification and potential contradictions amongst black workers in the mining sector, for instance, between largely migrant rock-drill operators and other categories of more locally-employed African mineworkers. Given the history of South African capitalist development under the aegis of British colonialism and subsequent white minority regimes, at both a subjective and objective level, racial identity plays a major role in the stratification and fractionalising of both the capitalist and working class.

Unquestionably, overwhelmingly the majority of capitalists in South Africa are white and male. But that does not automatically make black capitalists, whether "credit-based" or "tender-based" a progressive force. Malikane`s rigid distinction between a "credit-based" black capitalist "class" and a "tender-based" black capitalist "class", gestures in the general direction of a real phenomenon - but in imprecise and confusing ways which underpin his overall strategic and tactical positioning.

It is true that from the mid-1990s there was an implicit elite-pact between established monopoly capital in South Africa and elements of the new ANC political elite. This pact was codified, amongst other things, in the 1996 GEAR policy package. In essence, the trade-off was to pursue neo-liberal macro- and micro-economic policies, in particular allowing South African monopoly capital the freedom to globalise by way of massive disinvestment, capital flight, and dual listings while ensuring through BEE policies based on highly-leveraged share-holdings (debt financed) that an emergent stratum of politically connected blacks would be able to sup at the board-room table. The BEE policies were not unilaterally engineered by "white monopoly capital". They were leveraged by the new ANC political elite, and more or less reluctantly conceded by monopoly capitalist interests as preferable to real transformation, and a means of buying influence.

By the late 1990s, with scope for ever expanding BEE share-deals running out, the Mbeki administration aggressively pushed for privatisation of SOEs as a further means of primitive accumulation for an emerging BEE capitalist stratum. However, the global economic downturn beginning in 2007, meant that the dividend flow that was meant to repay the debt owing on credit-based BEE shares, particularly in the hard-hit mining sector, was no longer forthcoming. A significant number of BEE mining shares were now under water. This was the context in which the likes of Tokyo Sexwale and Julius Malema joined forces and began pushing for the "nationalisation of the mines" (i.e. bailing out BEE interests at public expense). There was now a powerful lobby within the ANC and government that was no longer pushing for further privatisation, but rather concealing their own factional class interests behind apparently radical sounding calls for nationalisation.

Not enough emphasis has been placed on the coincidence of the global economic crisis starting in 2007/8, the collapse of commodity prices, the political events at Polokwane, and the emergence of this new faction of BEE, or at least a new tune emerging from BEE interests.

Malikane`s mini-manifesto hints at all of this, but fails to really adequately analyse it. He conveniently obscures the difference between legitimate, productive capitalists who rely partly (or entirely) on state tenders, and those unproductive parasites who are simply milking public resources. The faction that Malikane describes as a "tender-based" black capitalist "class"/stratum, is better described as a "parasitic" bourgeoisie. While his "credit-based black capitalists" are better described as a faction of the capitalist class with strong compradorist features. Above all the line between these different black factions is fluid.

Malikane`s idea that we can ride into a radical economic future on the back of the "tender-based capitalists" in their "war against dominant white monopoly capitalists" ignores many fundamental issues. The most critical of all is that the very basis for the existence of these "tender-based capitalists" is their massive attack upon and consequent erosion of the two key potential working class and popular struggle weapons (the post-1994 democratic state and particularly its key state-owned enterprises, and the ANC national liberation movement).

Of course the SACP does and should support using state procurement and targeted TRANSPARENT tendering to ensure re-industrialisation through localisation, beneficiation, de-concentration, and the promotion of PRODUCTIVE black (and other) industrialists, etc. These are important pillars of any second radical phase. But the current Gupta-type dominant fractions of "tender-based capitalists" are NOT productive industrialists, they are a parasitic-patronage network supported from the highest echelons of the state and ANC. Key levers of radical transformation - Eskom, Transnet, Prasa, SAA, SASSA and even critical ideological/cultural institutions (the SABC) - have been massively weakened through parasitic robbery. And the post-Polokwane entry-point into these critical strategic sites of power has been through control over the ANC by way of whole-sale patronage networks that buy membership and rig internal ANC elections, which is actively leading to the demise of the ANC`s popular support.

For the SACP it is not a question of supporting white (or any other colour) monopoly capitalists and credit-based BEE capitalists against the parasitic-patronage faction of capitalists, or vice versa. Malikane is right that a form of corporate capture of the post-apartheid state occurred before the advent of the Guptas. It was what the SACP labelled "the 1996 class project". And Malikane is right that this project was essentially constituted by established South African (i.e. overwhelmingly "white", but also globalised) monopoly capitalists and an emerging BEE stratum with connections to the new state. He is right that, within the state, Treasury became the core centre through which this project was advanced.

But he is not right to make too sharp a distinction between a first-generation "finance-based" BEE stratum on the one hand, and a "tender-based" black capitalist stratum on the other. There was a significant level of parasitic plundering of public resources in the Mbeki era (the arms deal being the most obvious). Where Malikane is completely wrong is his elevation of "tender-based" capitalists as a vanguard force or, at the very least, a useful spear-head, in a patriotic "war" against "white" monopoly capital in the name of radical economic transformation.

While there are always tensions between different capitalist factions and strata, they all ultimately stand and fall by the laws of capital accumulation. And, in our contemporary era, as the Indian communist and leading academic economist Prabhat Patnaik notes, these laws are neo-liberal. Neo-liberalism is not an ideological choice within contemporary globalised and financialised capitalism it is fundamental to its existence. As long as you try to progress along the trajectory of capitalism with whatever other agenda (centre-right, centre-left with a smattering of Keynesianism, narrow nationalism), you are bound to kneel before the canons of neo-liberalism - which is why, barely 24-hours after being in office, Gigaba announced that there would be "no change in Treasury policy".

Moreover there are multiple interconnections between established (largely white) monopoly capitalists and Malikane`s tender-based" black capitalist stratum. Fronting, of course, has been a major means for established monopoly capitalists to win state tenders. In most of the major scandals of our times you will find both established white capitalists and tender-based black parasites networked into a common profit-making feeding frenzy - whether it is the looting of the SABC by the combined efforts of Naspers-owned Media 24 and the Gupta-owned ANN7; or the pillaging of the social grant system by ANC-linked parasites working with a Nasdaq-listed monopoly capitalist entity Net1, aided and abetted by local (largely white-controlled) private corporate interests like Grindrod Bank with its major share-holder just happening to be the Rupert family`s Remgro!

Malikane mistakes the squabbling among these different capitalist groupings as a "war", but the real war is one waged by all of them against social grant beneficiaries, against workers and the poor, against the broad public in general. No doubt white capitalists, Glencore`s Ivan Glasenberg in particular, were not happy with the way in which former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and the current Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane strong-armed Glencore`s Optimum Coal Mine into bankruptcy in order to gift it to the Gupta`s Tegeta company and then reward the latter with massive coal-supply deals to Eskom. If you believe that a "black", "tender-based" bourgeoisie is the cutting edge of radical economic transformation against "white monopoly capital" then you might admire this handiwork. But it has all come at a price for the majority of South Africans in terms of electricity prices and the credit-rating of Eskom.

The SACP`s robust criticism of the axing of cdes Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas from the executive is not based on support for neo-liberalism, or any particular affection for Treasury, but on the obvious fact that Gordhan and Jonas were removed because they fought against corruption and parasitic plundering. They opposed the corrupt gifting of social grants payments to Net1-CPS. They sought to hold the line against the plundering of Eskom, Denel, SAA, Transnet, and Prasa. They were clearly doing their best to block the unneeded and unnecessary, multi-multi-billion rand nuclear deal. They were driving the progressive amendments to the Financial Intelligence Centre amendment bill which seeks to tighten up on money laundering and capital flight.

One of the gravest blows against our emerging democracy by established monopoly capital has been the massive expatriation of capital legally and illegally. Historically, Treasury failed to deal decisively with this draining of critical resources out of our country, although in the recent few years there has been a stiffening of resistance. Nonetheless, illegal capital flight out of South Africa is estimated by the Financial Intelligence Centre to be around a whopping R60-billion a year. One result of the global financial crisis that began in 2007/8 is that even the major capitalist countries are now seeking to tighten up on money-laundering, tax havens, transfer pricing arrangements that deprive domestic economies of tax revenues, and the like. The closing of Gupta banking accounts, not just by the major South African banks, but also by the Central Bank of China, is one of the better known local examples of this tightening up. And Pravin Gordhan`s refusal to intervene on behalf of the Guptas was certainly one of the main triggers for his axing.

But make no mistake, it is not just the Guptas who have been sneaking billions of rands out of South Africa. Let`s not forget the case of South Africa`s richest man, Christo Wiese, being caught at London City Airport in 2009 with £674 520 in used bank notes in his luggage on the way to the tax haven of Luxemburg. Let`s also appreciate the fact that our own Constitutional Court appears to be less class-captured than UK Justice Underhill, who found Wiese not guilty on the grounds that "It is unlikely that a businessman of previous good character, already enormously rich from legitimate business, would become involved in money laundering." Really?

Monopoly capitalists, credit-based capitalists, tender-based capitalists - white, black and brown - it`s the whole bunch of them that we need to deal with. But, in the immediate present, the most problematic danger to any progressive advance comes precisely from the reckless parasitic, Gupta and Gupta-like behaviour of Malikane`s "tender-based" bourgeoisie and its political accomplices. The working class has a critical role to play in fighting both monopoly capital and Gupterisation. We cannot do the former without dealing with the latter. Radical economic transformation is simply impossible with a corporately captured state and an ANC-led movement factionalised by moneyed, patronage networks.

Cronin is SACP First Deputy General Secretary, Mashilo SACP Spokesperson and Maleka SACP Head of Policy - See more at:
Is This the End of the Road for Cyril Ramaphosa?
Dineo Bendile
Mail & Guardian, South Africa
13 Apr 2017 00:00

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s silence after his defiant stance against President Jacob Zuma’s midnight Cabinet reshuffle might mean he has dug his own political grave.

The reshuffle saw the removal of finance minister Pravin Gordhan and several other ministers and deputy ministers. Many political observers believed Ramaphosa’s rare display of defiance would mark the beginning of his ascent to the ANC’s top seat in December and the country in 2019.

Now some in the tripartite alliance between the ANC, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and union federation Cosatu say Ramaphosa may have missed a golden opportunity to distinguish himself as an alternative leader, capable of taking the ANC out of the mess it finds itself in.

His position would have been strengthened if other defiant leaders inside the ANC had not bowed to calls for unity.

It’s known that the unionist-turned-businessman does not have a strong constituency in the ANC. But the increasing number of ANC members who are gatvol with Zuma’s antics could work to his advantage. Some members would be happy to support a leader who is prepared to return the party to its founding principles and values as espoused by Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, among others.

Ramaphosa was certainly on the right track to do so when he told everyone who cared to listen that he did not agree with Zuma’s decision to remove Gordhan. Unless he breaks his silence it is hard to see how Ramaphosa can portray himself as an alternative leader.

Two weeks ago, while addressing journalists during the launch of new strategic plan on HIV and TB in Bloemfontein, Ramaphosa said: “I told the president that I would not agree with him on his reasoning to remove the minister of finance. And I told him that this I would articulate publicly. I’ve made my views known and there are quite a number of other colleagues and comrades who are unhappy about this situation.”

His unhappiness was echoed by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, who lamented Zuma’s lack of consultation before the reshuffle. Cosatu and the SACP also expressed unhappiness with Zuma and publicly called for him to step down.

The unprecedented revolt by Ramaphosa, Mantashe and Mkhize was supported by other senior ANC leaders, including its chief whip Jackson Mthembu.

Some in the ANC believe that if Ramaphosa stood firm on the principled stance he took against Zuma, this could influence the outcome of the upcoming motion of no confidence in Parliament, because many ANC MPs were prepared to follow in Ramaphosa’s footsteps and act in the interests of South Africans, instead of the party.

Even to some of his supporters, Ramaphosa’s latest silence now seems to indicate he does not to have the same influence that Zuma has. If Ramaphosa is unable to lead an internal revolt against the president, it will probably cast a shadow of doubt on his suitability as a presidential candidate.

Zuma has made it clear that he did not want Ramaphosa to be his successor.

The issue of succession was never going to be easy for Ramaphosa. His hiatus from the party’s leadership since 1997 turned him into an outsider, leaving him with a limited foundation in the organisation. After Ramaphosa resigned as ANC secretary general to focus on his business endeavours, his private sector gains masked the wounds of being overlooked as Mandela’s preferred candidate for deputy president; Thabo Mbeki was selected instead.

Deciding to give leadership another try in 2012, he was catapulted to power in Mangaung after Kgalema Motlanthe, then deputy president, contested against Zuma for the presidential position and lost.

Five years after this unexpected rise, Ramaphosa has not built a solid constituency of his own. Those who have considered supporting him have lamented his silence on pertinent issues and questioned his strength against the “premier league” faction, which possesses pulling power in the branches and is lobbying for Zuma’s former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as its presidential candidate.

Ramaphosa needs the support of leaders such as Mantashe and Mkhize as insiders who could push his messages against Zuma out to the branches. But these leaders have now been cowed, accepting calls for unity by the ANC’s national working committee, and the deputy president has been left stranded.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga believes even those with the capacity to propel Ramaphosa upward would now be cautious as they question his strength to lead a movement against Zuma.

“Anyone who can bring together branches within the ANC, those other insiders, they have their own objectives. I don’t think they will give their support to a man who looks like he has a very weak campaign,” Mathekga said.
The People First, Back to Social Movement Mobilization and Mass Activism
SACP General Secretary Cde Blade Nzimande Speaker’s opening notes

National Imbizo, 19 May 2017

[Acknowledgement of organisations present]

Let me firstly indicate that this is not an SACP gathering. It is an SACP-convened National Imbizo for all of us gathered here today and others who will join this process as it develops.

Let me also express concern about what appears to be an emerging endemic of gender-based violence that seems to be on the rise. This is part of the violence and crimes affecting women, children and men. Its perpetrators are mainly men, as partly indicated by the fact that the majority of inmates in our prisons are men. I want to express our message of sincere solidarity with the victims of the scourge. We need to reflect on this problem as society and loot at the ways by which we can bring it to an end.    

I.  We have made massive social progress, but insufficient or no structural economic transformation compromises broader social transformation

It is important for us to acknowledge the massive social progress we have achieved since our historic April 1994 democratic breakthrough. Millions of our people have gained access to human rights, workers rights, political rights and socio-economic rights as enshrined in our post-1994 constitution. Linked with this, millions of our people have gained access housing, provided for free, electricity, sanitation including clean drinking water, social grants and indigent programmes, as well as education at all levels, among others. Nevertheless there is still a lot of work that be done both in these and other areas of social transformation.

The main challenge that has become a major constraint is that there was insufficient or no structural economic transformation to support our social redistribution programmes on a sustainable basis. It is because of this, in addition to the persisting legacy of colonial oppression, including apartheid, and, fundamentally the system and multiple crises of capitalism, that high levels of racialised and gendered class inequalities, unemployment and poverty persist in our country.

This is one of the reasons why, as the SACP, we were among the first to call for what is now our alliance’s shared perspective, the necessity to deepen the radical content of our national democratic revolution. It is exactly to this end that we support the consensus to move our democratic transition on to a second, more radical phase. We have made available our documents discussing what we believe should constitute the content and strategic tasks of this phase of our revolution.

The organisational challenge we are now facing as a movement is that we are not going to succeed without embarking on a relentless struggle against our internal weaknesses.

II.  Where else did things start going wrong?

The ongoing struggle to advance, deepen and defend our national democratic transformation has reached one of its more difficult and vulnerable moments. This, certainly, is the message conveyed by the broad membership of our Party, informed by their own experiences and analyses. A similar concern has also arisen outside of our Party from the study of the perspectives of, or interactions with communities and various role players who are concerned about what is happening to our movement and the revolution. Whilst the sites of the challenges we face are both inside and outside government, the weakest link has increasingly become concentrated within our own ANC-headed Alliance (with the ANC as the epicentre) at both national and sub-national levels and both inside and outside government.

We are saying what all this from a point of view of the principle of constructive self-criticism aimed at producing decisive self-correction by our movement as a whole. We therefore by no means suggest that the problems we are facing do not exist in provincial and local government areas where our movement as headed by the ANC is not in government. On the contrary, there is clear evidence, including court judgements; that the problems varyingly do exist in those areas as well. In any case the ideology of private interests is the organising principle in many on those areas. This was never part of our organising principle as a revolutionary democratic movement.

The nub of the matter is that alien substance has now found its way in the ranks of our movement and government and is contaminating the DNA of our revolutionary politics. This includes the rise of private, including personal and profit interests that seek to displace the interests of the people as whole and take control of our basic wealth and public resources. Linked with the problem, both organisationally and in government, is the corrupting and factionalising influence of private corporations. This includes corporate capture on sections of leadership, public representatives and the bureaucracy at all levels. What we are faced with has therefore become a structural challenge compromising the strategic capacity and discipline needed at all levels in general and at the centre in particular to overcome the problem.

At the heart of the situation, domestically, is a stratum of the bourgeoisie which the SACP has characterised as the parasitic bourgeoisie – or in short the parasites. Externally, monopoly capital, which has its own domestic manifestation dating back to the imposition and development of colonial-apartheid domination, remains the most formidable force that stood in opposition to our struggle for liberation, social and economic emancipation.

It is inconceivable that we will succeed to safeguard our democratic national sovereignty, overcome the stranglehold of monopoly capital, both its foreign and domestic colonial-apartheid-era strata, and drive our historical struggle to achieve freedom, without dislodging the parasites that are weakening our strategic capacity and discipline. This is our view has become an immediate task we all need to unite behind!

It is important that we state the following point. In looking at the challenges confronting the ANC and the ANC-led government we are not, as the SACP, doing so simply as neutral, external observers and for at least two major reasons:

Thousands of SACP members play an active role within the ANC (not to mention the historic role and legacy of the Party in building the ANC). The internationally unique reality and potential asset of joint membership means that we have both opportunities and responsibilities in regard to the ANC. We have, as we said on record, to take collective responsibility for our revolution.
Related to this is the fact that our consistent strategic policy, reaffirmed unanimously at all of our previous congresses over several decades, is to advance, deepen and defend our country’s national democratic revolution. Our support, as the SACP, for a national democratic revolution is both because of its inherent value and, as we believe, its contribution to the path towards a socialist transition in which the exploitation of one person by another will systematically be ended. We are correctly not positing that the ANC, organisationally the current face of our alliance’s common electoral platform, is synonymous with the national democratic revolution.
However, in our national reality in its historical context, if the ANC did not exist it would have been necessary still to build a mass-based national democratic formation. If the ANC declines gravely in the short, medium- or even long-term, it will still be imperative to build a broad, national democratic, multi-class formation or front. This has its expression in our very commitment to see to it that the ANC overcomes the challenges it is faced with, as our first choice, and coupled with it to broaden engagements as wide as possible with other progressive social formations committed to deepening and defending our democratic transition. This National Imbizo is a notable step in that direction – principled unity based on a common, albeit minimum, programme.

III.   Back to basics, rebuild and intensify social movement mobilisation to make the state serve the people

It is crucial to continuing and deepening our contribution towards rectifying the organisational style of work that, post-1994, shifted contact with the masses from social movement mobilisation, to mainly mobilisation for, and mostly during, elections. This includes internal, that is organisational elections. During these elections periods, the mostly inactive and even non-existing structures are either revived or created in pursuit of internal competition for positions. Linked with this are deployments or appointments during government elections, in the public service, in public projects, or tenders on the part of the elite or their aspirant sections.

The shift reformed the character of sections of leaders and members. Incumbency in deployments and appointments, coupled with consequent social distance, deepened the reform and produced cadreship transformation in the ranks of those sections. Instead of campaigners to solve the problems facing our people, a cadre of lobbyists or congresspreneurs emerged. The consequences of the shift were transmitted to many of the new recruits who joined the ranks of our movement after 1994.

Persisting high levels of structural inequality, unemployment and poverty compounded the consequences of the shift, through among others engendering survivalist and increasingly self-centred politics linked with the rise of slates, patronage networks and corruption. The virtual abandonment of the theoretical struggle by our main mass formation in the forefront of the national democratic revolution made matters worse. This is indicated by the dearth of systemic, structured cadreship development, capacity building and political education in the frontline. Linked with this is the absence of a journal or publications to develop theory or facilitate intellectual development in relation to the challenges, including the constraints of power, facing the national democratic revolution in government.

The shift from social movement mobilisation to mere electoral campaigning impacted negatively on the relationship between our movement and the wide array of social formations that played an active role in the struggle against apartheid. There was, also, a demobilising effect. For instance those sections of the church that played an active role in the struggle against oppression were now told to abstain from politics and focus exclusively on praying. In contradiction, they had to accept to be open for use by politicians as a site of campaigning during both organisational and government elections.

The shift from social movement mobilisation to a style of leadership based on contact with the masses mainly for election purposes is highly problematic to say the least.

Nevertheless as the SACP we tried our best to keep the fire of social movement mobilisation burning post-1994 at least through our campaigns. This includes campaigns for housing; financial sector transformation; safe, reliable, affordable and integrated public transport system; accessible and quality healthcare including the National Health Insurance; and sustainable livelihoods to roll back hunger. We campaigned, together with COSATU, against the post-1996 shift to a privatisation agenda and liberalisation or deregulation shock therapy that almost completely destroyed the worst affected sectors and displaced many workers from employment.

In all of these and other areas there were relative successes. But there were setbacks as well. In general, there is still spacious room for improvement. Working together we can revitalise social movement activism recognising that it is people who make history rather than conceived merely as passive recipients of a top-down wheelbarrow delivery state. The organisation of the state, including the production and delivery of public goods and services, must in our view as the SACP reflect and be buttressed by the activism of our people, of whom the majority is the workers and poor. This, that is the building of such a capable democratic developmental state with strategic discipline to deliver on its mandate, is in line with the clarion call of the Freedom Charter that ‘The people shall govern’.

In all this, at least for us as the SACP, it is absolutely imperative that the interests of the majority of our people, the working class and its broader impoverished social strata, become a strategic priority and hegemonic in all centres of public power, including state owned enterprises. We believe that without notable progress on this front and ultimately a success, the decline of support for our current ANC-headed alliance electoral platform and associated with it the stagnation of the national democratic revolution will continue. This will result in terminal consequences not only for the ANC.

IV. Beware the shift of power to untransformed forces of racist privilege

A shift of power in South Africa to any political formation comprising of untransformed fellows who supported national oppression and enjoyed its privileges as its core constituency will have negative consequences not only for the ANC. It will have negative consequences also for our alliance, for the historically oppressed and all those who stood to be oppressed if we did not end apartheid, for our continent and the international struggle against imperialism.

V. Principled unity and common programme

We must not compromise the activism of any of our social formations. We need that independence at its best as a contribution towards coming together and combining our respective strengths to drive a common, at least minimum, programme.  

It is important to build and deepen social movement mobilisation and mass activism. State institutions, including parliament, the executive and the courts are all important. But none of them is a substitute for active mass mobilisation. It is people who make history. It is people who must make state institutions, each according to its mandate, serve collective societal needs rather than private personal or profit interests. For example the courts adjudicate disputes, but on their own they do not alter the fundamental balance of forces that must be tilted in favour of consistently driving broader social transformation.

A minimum programme that we need and its immediate tasks must be driven through social mobilisation and mass activism.

Our top priorities should include deepening our efforts to confront the structural problems of persistently high levels of racialised and gendered class inequity, unemployment and poverty.

This requires genuine radical economic transformation.

Linked with the two programmatic points is the imperative to improve the quality and efficiency of public services and delivery. Again, the people must be actively involved in the production and delivery of public goods and services. There is no reason why everything (and at the end of the day the role of the state) must be given to tenders, which by the way are controlled by the motive of private interests rather than public good.  

Last but not least we must escalate active mobilisation to fight corruption, corporate capture, misgovernance and maladministration. For example decisions such as the irregular re-appointment of the former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe back to that position must not be allowed to prevail.  
Will Radical Economic Transformation Abort or Succeeds in South Africa
By Cde Mluleki Dlelanga is the YCLSA National Secretary
Reprinted from Bottom Line, Voice of the Young Communist League of South Africa

Exactitude of thought is necessary everywhere, and in questions of revolutionary strategy more than anywhere else. But as revolutions do not occur so very often, revolutionary conceptions and thought processes become slip-shod, their outlines become vague, the questions are raised and solved somehow. As a Marxist-Leninist scholar, amongst the classes one attended, I was thought as a young revolutionary to always consider time, space and condition. As a young revolutionary I asked myself two critical questions, first, will the radical economic transformation abort or succeeds? Second, is it possible to fix a date for a counter-revolution or revolution? My immediate response without a deeper reflection and analysis is that the success or failure of the radical economic transformation rest upon the congress movement family i.e. it depend on what we do , whether we allow it to be hijacked or we fight for its objective implementation. My response on the second question, I responded from the Marxist-Leninist perspective on the timetable for the revolution .A quick response from the Marxist-Leninist perspective is that of course it is not possible. It's only trains which start at certain times, and even the trains they don't always.

Let me briefly outline the evolution of discussions and debates on radical economic transformation. In the discussions and debates leading towards the national policy conference and the 53rd national conference of the ANC in Mangaung, a discussion started in the ANC-led Tripartite Alliance and the broader Mass Democratic Movement about how to characterize the next phase of our revolution. The robust debates centered on what should be the main character and content of our next phase of National Democratic Revolution. In the debates, there was a collective appreciation that our society continues to be characterized by three dominant contradictions of race, class and gender.

The entire national liberation movement felt a sense of growing restlessness and impatience amongst the masses of our people who after two decades of democracy and freedom, are still ravaged by poverty, inequality and unemployment. A consensus emerged in the debates that something urgent and radical had to be done to deepen and consolidate the thorough-going national democratic revolution. All components of the Alliance, independently and collectively, agreed that our revolution is entering a second phase of radical socio-economic transformation.

The ANC 53rd National Conference, specifically the Organizational Renewal Commission, thus resolved that, "…the second phase in our transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society will be characterized by more radical policies and decisive action to effect thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation."

How does the ANC define Radical Economic Transformation?

The ANC NEC Meeting and NEC Lekgotla held from the 25th to the 27th January 2017 identified the following key priorities of the ANC for the year 2017: Economic growth, accelerated radical socio-economic transformation, Land reform and redistribution, the funding of higher education, fighting crime and corruption as well as building the capacity of the state.

The NEC went further to outline what constitutes radical socio-economic transformation, which it said, "refers to a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female. Our main objective remains the liberation of Blacks in general and Africans in particular. Its components include the creation of jobs, accelerating shared and inclusive growth, transforming the structure of production and ownership of means of production and enabling the talents and productive potential of our people to flourish. At the heart of radical socio-economic transformation is an effective state that is decisive in its pursuit of structural change."

What constitutes "thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation"?

The 53rd National Conference resolutions and resolutions of the 2017 ANC NEC meeting and the Lekgotla are very instructive in what constitutes radical economic transformation. The 53rd National Conference resolution defines it more expansively as "thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation".

The key elements of this programme as outlined above from the ANC NEC statement can be enlisted as follows for elucidation:

Fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female;
Creation of jobs,
Accelerating shared and inclusive growth,
Transforming the structure of production and ownership of means of production,
Enabling the talents and productive potential of our people to flourish,
An effective state that is decisive in its pursuit of structural change.
These six elements are noble objectives of radical economic transformation. They represent in effect, the historic mission of the struggle for freedom and liberation in South Africa. They are also in broad alignment with the socialist programme that the SACP has put forward to deepen the NDR as a direct route to Socialism, as well as COSATU programme. There can therefore be no dispute that these six elements are an imperative for the second phase of NDR.

How then should we characterize and articulate radical economic transformation?

The brief historical exposition above clearly show that the coining of radical economic transformation does not happen in ideological and historical vacuum. It is not new in its intents, but is an expression of the urgency of the tasks of national struggle in current phase of NDR. The strategic objective of that struggle remains the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. Also, the main motive forces of this struggle continue to be Blacks in general and Africans in particular.

When understood, and articulated from this historic perspective, the agenda of radical economic transformation therefore is a practical articulation of the current phase of our thorough-going National Democratic Revolution. That NDR has historically been articulated by the national liberation movement as comprising of the following three major components:

N = National
Our struggle for liberation and emancipation is national in character. It seeks to mobilize a broad range of progressive forces behind the banner of the ANC-led national liberation movement. It is non-racial and non-sexist in outlook, with the main motive forces being the blacks in general and Africans in particular,

D = Democratic
Our struggle seeks a replacement and transformation of repressive institutions and laws of apartheid colonialism with institutions and laws that espouse and promote democratic values and the respect of human rights. Our struggle seeks to give effect to the Freedom Charter maxim, "The people shall govern!"

R = Revolution
Ours is a struggle for radical and fundamental social change. It is not a reformist agenda, nor it is a social democratic programme that seeks to tinker with the margins but retain the fundamental structure of social relations. It is rather a complete rupture of the old, replacing it with new egalitarian social relations.

Karl Marx (1852) once said, "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."

The timing for radical economic transformation is not questionable if one understand the conditions facing the workers and the poor in our country, hence there was discussion which was triggered by a concrete analysis of concrete conditions that the entire national liberation movement felt a sense of growing restlessness and impatience amongst the masses of our people who after two decades of democracy and freedom, are still ravaged by poverty, inequality and unemployment.

But also as we know that nothing is automatic in a revolution, we fully aware that it depends on the forces at play whether revolution get aborted or succeeds. Therefore, we must never by any illusion think that the radical economic transformation is immune not to abort or succeed. If the radical economic transformation is just a mere slogan for coming conferences or a lobby tool chances for it to abort are huge but if there is shared perspective, understanding and approach by progressive forces in our country chances for it to succeed are also huge. For radical economic transformation to succeeds it need a strong and united COSATU, a strong and united SANCO, a strong and united SACP, a strong and united PYA, a strong a united ANC and a strong and united majority of the people of our country.

Truth need to be told , with the current fluidity of the political situation in our country where ANC is not united , COSATU not at their strong point, with SANCO also not at their strong state , with visibly tensions in the Alliance , with the factionalisation of the debate in particular where patronage politics supersede our consciousness and disunity of the majority of the people in our country chances are huge that the radical economic transformation which is used as the current yard stick that measure how revolutionary a revolutionary is likely to be hijacked and ultimately abort.

As we know that there is nothing automatic in the revolution, progressive forces should rise up in defense of radical economic transformation to bring fundamental change to the majority of the people. This historical materialist conception of the notion of radical economic transformation gives it proper context and meaning. There is an urgent need to ensure that the concept is rescued from potential misappropriation by reactionary parasitic elements. These reactionary elements seek to use the noble objective of radical economic transformation to justify a continuation of looting of state resources and patronage that has beset the national liberation movement.

The ideology of a revolutionary organization is an asset of the revolution. If it can be corrupted, the whole revolution will be corrupted and finally aborted; history is replete with such failed revolutions. We must therefore act decisively in the defense of our historic values, our political ideology and the programme for "thorough-going socio-economic and continued democratic transformation". We dare not fail!

Yes to radical economic transformation and no to radical looting, that's the bottom line coz YCLSA says so!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

SADTU Condemns the Abuse and Brutality Against Women - Calls for Decisive Societal Action
18 May 2017

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) notes with great shock, an escalation in acts of abuse of women with specific reference to the latest reported incidents where young women were murdered and one gang raped in the Johannesburg Central Business District.

SADTU wishes to express its deepest condolences to the families of the young women and girls across the country who continues to suffer the indignity of abuse and death at the hands of bigots who have no respect for human dignity and life. SADTU further extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of Mandla Hlatswayo and his friend Chomchom who died at the hands of merciless criminals as they tried to exercise their civic responsibility to protect the young women who were being robbed.

These incidents are a constant reminder of the need for society to intensify the struggle for the total emancipation of women, the respect for human rights and our responsibility to ensure the attainment of a non-sexist society.

Whilst SADTU recognises the reality of the impact of psycho-socio factors such as unemployment, drug and substance abuse which contribute to the nature of the violent society we are, we rejects these as an excuse by any means for the brutality meted out to women and girls generally.

SADTU rejects any suggestion that women and girls must live in constraint and have their rights to freedom of movement limited because of the fear of abuse at the hands of males. SADTU further rejects the patriarchal approach which sees women and girls as inferior and objects of abuse by men regardless of the material conditions under which this abuse occurs.

SADTU calls upon society and men in particular to stand up, reject this backward tendency, take steps to fight this scourge and assert the human rights of women.

SADTU calls upon its members to continue efforts particularly in schools and the communities in which our members work to provide support and education particularly to young men and boys on the need to respect the human rights of women and girls. We also urge our members to provide assistance to law enforcement agencies and provide and/or facilitate the provision of any information which can help in apprehending these heartless criminals.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat


General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke: 082 783 29 68
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi: 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi: 082 719 5157