SACP to strengthen alliance with ANC, COSATU
A press statement released following a recent meeting of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party (SACP) says that during the year 2001 the Party faced many challenges and difficulties, but had steadily consolidated itself. The Party mounted major campaigns, and generally asserted itself as an important actor within the dynamic South African political reality. In December 1999 the fully-paid up SACP membership stood at 16,000. Today it is over 22,000. The Central Committee meeting was preceded by high-level bilateral meetings between the SACP, the ANC and COSATU, SA's trade union Federation. All these organisations make up the Alliance and the SA Government. The SACP CC noted that "a consistent, in fact, insistent theme had come through all the meetings. The shared mass constituency of our three alliance formations is adamant that the unity of our alliance must be safeguarded and cherished". The SACP CC "agrees whole-heartedly with this unambiguous message", said the press statement. "The advance, consolidation and defence of the South African democratic breakthrough, not least in an unstable and unjust world, requires the maximum unity of all progressive forces in our country, built on the bedrock of our Alliance. "This is not to say that there are no problems, differences and challenges within the Alliance. "In the heat of debate it is easy to lose sight of the substantive and wide-ranging agreement that underpins our alliance, from a shared and unifying strategic commitment to a national democratic revolution, to numerous specific policies and common programmes of action. "There are, however, a number of real concerns that need to be discussed, debated and, hopefully, resolved — in particular, differences over our overall economic growth and development strategy, the restructuring of state-owned enterprises, and the management of policy-development", said the Party statement. The CC re-affirmed its commitment to ensure that debates within the Alliance are handled in a comradely, unifying and disciplined way. "Wild statements and allegations are not generally appreciated by our mass base, and they do not contribute to creating an appropriate climate in which to address the challenges within our alliance. "At the end of day, the strength of the Alliance depends upon its strength at the grass-roots level. In its daily activities the SACP commits itself to working to consolidating and uniting the alliance in our practical, mobilisation work", said the Party statement. The SACP supports the principle of working towards basic co-operation between the ANC and other parties in governance in the overall context of a multi-party electoral dispensation and towards the pressing task of winning over the widest section of South Africans to a general nation-building effort. The South African democratic transition is still in its earliest and formative phases, said the Party statement. The CC meeting noted that the impact of HIV/AIDS on the country and the continent is already devastating. "We need to use every tool at our disposal — education, awareness, prevention, treatment, access to services — to respond to, and effectively deal with this national emergency of HIV/AIDS. "The rate of new infections can be drastically reduced through a forward- looking and holistic mass campaign of public education, openness, care and support for people, families and communities living with HIV/AIDS." The CC adopted a Program of Action for 2002 which included: * The transformation and diversification of the financial sector; * Building a strong, democratic and accountable public sector; * Meeting the basic needs of the people through local economic development. These tasks will be carried out under the slogans of "People and Government Together", "Build a People's Economy", and "Build People's Power to Meet Basic Needs". During the year the SACP waged a campaign to make the banks serve the people with people's and workers' assemblies on HIV/AIDS discrimination in the financial sector and co-operative banking. The campaign to meet the basic needs of the people will focus on working with government and the mobilisation of communities and local resources for the realisation of the provision of basic amounts of free water, electricity, sanitation and waste disposal. The CC briefly reviewed developments in the Middle East and in Afghanistan and repeated its condemnation of the violence being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people. "In the coming days a new phase in the Afghanistan tragedy will be opening up. Either the defeat of the reactionary Taliban regime will open the way for a just and UN-supervised democratic transition in that country, or it will be treated as a springboard for renewed US-led military offensives in other parts of the world. "We call on all peace-loving people around the world to ensure that the latter does not happen", said the Party's statement. The SACP CC decided to call the Party's 11th National Congress in July of 2002 in Johannesburg.
* * *The address of the Party's website is: http://www.sacp.org.za