The South African Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) as principal Allies in the South African struggle under the umbrella of the Revolutionary Alliance convened first bilateral engagements post their respective congresses. The meeting held on 21 June 2022 in Community House, Salt River, was attended by 15 members from each component to have a broad strategic reflection on the prevailing challenges confronting the working class in the Western Cape and to forge a common platform of struggle against the extant of the onslaught.
Forward to a united and robust SACP and COSATU National Congresses
We noted the successful Congresses of both formations during the first quarter of 2022 that emerged with militant leadership to carry the hopes and aspirations of the working class. In this vein, the meeting noted that both formations will convene their respective National Congresses later this year and therefore the leadership collective to emerge must be militant to give impetus to united strength and fighting capacity of the downtrodden masses of this country. The workers and the poor are suffering under the weight and stranglehold of neoliberal capitalism. The two congresses have the responsibility to bring about radical change as a matter of urgency in the interest of the working class.
The daily suffering of the Working Class in the Western Cape
Our meeting took place under challenging conditions in the Western Cape where, tragically, 35 farm-workers in Klapmuts were severely injured when their un-roadworthy truck overturned on 20 June 2022. Sadly, this is the second accident in less than two years. In 04 January 2021 another accident claimed 3 lives of farmworkers. These accidents are a direct result of negligence of farm bosses which is their typical behaviour of subjecting workers to inhumane conditions including illegal evictions and modern day forced removals which is inimical to the prescripts of the Constitution. This conduct is not isolated to the farming sector but is prevalent in other sectors as well including the construction sectors in particular.
Against this background, the SACP and COSATU will embark on a programme to highlight the prevalence of use of un-roadworthy trucks for farm and construction workers uses. Employers in this province must provide workers with safe transport to and from work.
Provide land and houses to mitigate floods
The lived experience of the working class under the racist government of the Western Cape whose policies are devoid of transformative content. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic scores of land hungry people occupied vacant land some of which is waterlogged and therefore prone to floods. The recent cold front resulted in massive floods which displaced hundreds of households and this reality will continue for the foreseeable future because the DA government has no solutions to the existing crisis.
The meeting decried the internecine crime besetting working class communities in particular gang-related killings in Hanover Park and extortionist related mass killings in Khayelitsha, Delft and Mfuleni amongst others. The rates of deaths due to these killings are comparable to countries that are engulfed by wars. In a normal situation the state apparatus would have long used its might to uproot this criminality. The long-suffering people of the Western Cape deserve better.
Therefore, the SACP and COSATU whilst appreciate the visibility of the Police authorities in Khayelitsha, in particular, which ultimately culminated to the handover of about twelve new police vans to Khayelitsha. However, we call for the deployment of intelligence driven and oriented crime prevention and investigation as one solution to track down the criminal network whose tentacles is traceable to some amongst community leaders and police officers.
Ideological Fault-lines and damage of neoliberalism
The Alliance is confronting deep rooted fault-lines ideologically, socially and economically which is punishing the working class, the consequence of which is disillusionment, apathy and cynicism towards the liberation movement. The neoliberal capitalist project is emboldened daily and its prescriptions have further sunk the working class into a persistent crisis. Presently the levels of unemployment have reached crisis proportions; the rate of people living below the break-line is escalating; inequality is deepening; and insecurity is worsening. All these factors constitute the damaging effect of neoliberalism which undermines the advance of the National Democratic Revolution.
The meeting reflected frankly on these objective and subjective realities and asserted that the antidote to the neoliberal offensive is rebuilding organising and campaigns as a common political platform for fundamental change. This struggle must be anchored on the agitation of the Popular Left Front composed on different progressive social forces.
State of the ANC in the Western Cape
The two formations remain concerned about the state of the ANC in the province and its capacity to convene successful regional and provincial conferences. The posture and behaviour of factions have the potential to retard any possible prospects of renewal in the province. Further, the ANC in its current form has no capacity to play an oversight role in government and municipalities where we are in coalition arrangements.
In addition, the meeting was concerned that in some parts of the province, if there is no oversight, the ANC will be displaced in the upcoming elections.
Major campaign to ground the Left Axis
The meeting identified key campaigns that constitute the fundamental mobilizational programme which must dialectically link the shopfloor and the community. These campaigns are outlined as follows:
· Mass Action against the fuel price increase and proposal to cut fuel levy.
· Opposition to water tariff increase and noting the DA government hypocrisy in protesting fuel prices yet continue to impose unwarranted exorbitant tariffs.
· Opposition to rising Electricity increases.
· Campaign against rampant crime in our communities through a section 77 around the question of crime in the province.
· Campaign for Safety of farm-workers and anti-eviction campaign
· Mass action against Gender based violence and femicide
· Embark on Solidarity campaigns as an expression of our internationalism.
· Building of residential Locals.
· Recruitment of farmworkers to join Cosatu Unions.
Issued by: SACP/COSATU Western Cape Secretariate
Benson Ngqentsu-SACP WC Provincial Secretary @ 0827966400
Malvern De Bruyn – Cosatu WC Provincial Secretary @060 977 9027