State of nation address by President Mbeki
The South African Communist Party (SACP) issued the following statement on the speech delivered by President Mbeki at the recent opening of parliament: SACP welcomes the speech of President Mbeki delivered at the opening of parliament today. The President emphasised the need to continue with the building of a united nation on the basis of non-racism, non-sexism and the eradication of poverty. The SACP particularly welcomes the President's emphasis on programmes to speed up the eradication of poverty, the implementation of a social security system and government investment for infra-structural development. Accelerated rural transformation The SACP supports the promotion of integrated rural development. Accelerated rural transformation must ensure job creation, infra-structural development, access to services and skills development for millions of our people living in rural areas. In this regard, the SACP pledges to mobilise its members and our people around accelerated rural transformation focusing on the building of co- operatives, rights of farm workers and accelerated land reform. Black economic empowerment The SACP links poverty eradication to black economic empowerment and job creation. The benefits of black economic empowerment must reach beyond a few black capitalists. Black economic empowerment must mean something significant and tangible for the poor and working people. The unashamed stance by some aspirant black capitalists that they are entitled to be filthy rich millionaires, emphasises the need to prioritise the eradication of poverty over self-enrichment. In this regard, the SACP argues for the promotion of co-operatives and collective ventures. Labour law review and job creation As the SACP we support the President's concern on removing obstacles to job retention and job creation through review of labour and other legislation. The labour law review process announced by the President must ensure the following:- * It must be compulsory for employers to negotiate retrenchments and explore other options with workers in full. The SACP says that employers should not be able to retrench workers easily. * When companies are liquidated, workers should have a greater say and higher monetary claims than presently. Currently, many companies have liquidated voluntarily because their profits are not high enough and without consultation of workers. We note the optimistic predictions for economic growth for 2000. However, we emphasise that economic growth is linked to job creation and the eradication of poverty. Steps must be taken to stem the current job loss bloodbath and develop a job-creating rather than a job shedding economy. HIV/AIDS The SACP welcomes the President's remarks on HIV/AIDS as an important step forward in the development of an holistic approach to HIV/AIDS. The SACP links HIV/AIDS awareness to the ending of discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and access to affordable treatment.