The Guardian February 23, 2000


South Africa:
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.

Back to index page