Message at YCLSA 10th Re-establishment Anniversary Rally as delivered by Cde Thulas Nxesi, Deputy National Chairperson
2 February 2014, George Thabe Stadium, Sharpville
YCLSA National Secretary cde Buti Manamela;
The entire national leadership of the YCLSA;
Our 2nd Deputy General Secretary cde Solly Mapaila;
All members of our Central Committee present;
ANC Deputy Secretary General cde Jessie Duarte;
All members of the ANC NEC and PEC Present;
ANCYL, SASCO and COSAS leadership present,
Let me on behalf of our Central Committee congratulate the Young Communist League (YCL) for the work well done since its founding in 1922 and re-establishment in 2003.
The YCL was banned in 1950 as part of the apartheid regime`s banning of the Communist Party. Our decision in 2002, twelve years after unbanning of the Communist Party in 1990, to re-establish the YCL could not have come at the right time. This decision redefined the South African political landscape among young people. First of all the decision opened the stage for the development of a Marxist-Leninist youth organisation with unwavering commitment at serving as a preparatory school of the Communist Party.
Since its re-establishment in 2003, nine years after our democratic breakthrough achieved in 1994 the YCL played a significant role in the Communist Party, in our broader movement and to the youth in general. The YCL carried out its twin tasks of rallying young people behind the policies and programmes of our Party and engaged in the struggle of youth development. Specifically the YCL brought a focused attention on the youth within the Party, becoming actively involved on recruitment and mobilisation for the national democratic revolution and the struggle for socialism.
Today the SACP is far larger than it was in 2002. The Party`s membership is now close to two hundred thousand. Young people make up approximately 31 percent of SACP membership. These young activists largely come from the ranks of the YCL. The growth of the Party is therefore not only the fruit of our programme to build working class hegemony in all key sites of power and struggle, buttressed by an organisational strategy to build the SACP as a larger vanguard Party of the working class.
YCL programmes and campaigns, to name but a few, Political Education and Ideological Training based on Marxist-Leninist principles; the ID Campaign which focuses on ensuring that young people have identity documents and can use these to gain access to social services; the Joe Slovo Right to Learn Campaign which focuses on education and training; the Jobs for Youth Campaign which focuses on addressing unemployment among the youth; Youth Health Campaign which includes the free sanitary towels, circumcision and anti-HIV/AIDS campaigns, are more relevant to the youth. These and other YCL campaigns must be advanced rigorously and deepened to improve the quality of life of young people for the better under the national democratic revolution while mobilising them for socialism in their life time.
It is through revolutionary theoretical development and practical work on the ground that the YCL will itself become more relevant to the youth at all times and more than ever before. This must be based on building a strong and activist organisation in communities, institutions of learning, industrial areas and wherever young people are found and have activity. The SACP is interested in the growth of the YCL both quantitatively and qualitatively because of the critical importance this has in turn in building the Party. The YCL must therefore intensify its Operation Khula to achieve continuous growth in its membership, number of branches and quality of contribution in the national democratic revolution and the struggle for socialism.
In the present period where the trade union movement is experiencing internal challenges the role that the YCL must play among young workers cannot be overemphasised. Within the trade union movement there has emerged elements who are motivated by unbridled personal ambitions, commercial interests coupled with private wealth accumulation and the cult of personality. These elements would stop at nothing to pursue division and disintegration.
This is the context within which in the post-2009 period some started attacking the SACP, using trade unions as a political platform to do so. These attacks were extended to the African National Congress (ANC), later the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), and now our revolutionary alliance as a whole. Calls for workers not to support the ANC and for Cosatu to leave the alliance are part and parcel of this agenda, which is now clear for all to see, i.e. a political deviation to start a new opposition against the ANC and the alliance based on a politics of populist adventurism.
The YCL must be rooted among young workers, play a leading political role among them in their daily struggles against economic exploitation, and simultaneously develop and provide Marxist-Leninist clarity and political guidance. In view of our shared perspectives the YCL must work tirelessly to unite the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) in action among young workers and rally them behind the national democratic revolution and our revolutionary alliance.
There must be no doubt among young workers that without belonging to the ANC and SACP is to be without political guidance. One cannot serve as a progressive if not revolutionary leader within the working class movement without political guidance. Instead of being misled not to support the ANC which is aimed at leaving the ANC coupled with a campaign directed at Cosatu to leave our alliance the YCL together with other formations of the PYA must toil among young workers about the importance of belonging to the ANC, SACP and Cosatu and therefore the importance of our revolutionary alliance.
It is because of our alliance that we have achieved victory against the forces of apartheid. It is through our alliance that we have made a huge difference for the better and significant progress in the lives of the millions of the workers and poor since ascendency to government by the ANC in 1994.
The SACP calls upon YCL and allies; Cosas, Sasco, ANCYL, and all other progressive youth formations to mobilise the youth to vote for the ANC because of following reasons among others.
In the last 20 years, the ANC-led government has achieved among others the following:
- We have crashed apartheid institutions that were undemocratic, unrepresentative, oppressive, and serving a minority. We laid the foundations for the development of a democratic developmental state based on the principles of a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society in which there is a better life for all.
- We have put in place a set of progressive labour legislation to transform the workplace and the employment and working conditions of the workers for the better.
- We have more than doubled the number of students attending university and graduating in 2012 than in 1994. The number of Africans attending university has increased from 49 percent in 1995 to 66 percent in 2010, coupled with the expansion of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to cover more than 1.4 million students in colleges and universities. We have built over 3.3 million houses, benefiting more than 16 million people.
- We have increased the number of households with access to electricity to 12 million, 7 million more than in 1994. The DA would have left it to the capitalist market "to sort out" the housing crisis, leaving millions of our people in the devastation of homelessness.
- From 1994 until the 2008 global financial crisis, we have achieved the longest period of uninterrupted economic growth in South Africa`s history. Our task is to transform our economic structure and shift towards a new growth path with employment, decent work and the expansion and diversification of economic activity particularly manufacturing at the centre stage.
- Since 1994, 5 million more people are working, with a total employment of 14 million.
- The Public Works and Community Work programmes created 6 million work opportunities for unemployed people, 40% of them young people. This record is unprecedented anywhere in the world.
- 5,000 farms have been transferred to black people, benefiting 200,000 families. Nearly 80,000 land claims have been settled and benefitted 1.8 m people. Our task now is to support those emerging black farmers.
- People receiving social grants increased from 3 million to 16 million since 1994. This is crucial - in a period of large scale structural unemployment - where most countries have cut back on social grants - the ANC has prioritised the plight of the poorest of the poor. I don`t think the DA would have done that. They would have been too busy giving tax cuts to their rich friends.
- 92% have access to potable (drinkable) water, compared to 60% in 1996.
In the last 5 years, the ANC-led government has achieved among others the following:
- We have discarded HIV/AIDS denialism. We rigorously advanced testing, prevention, treatment, and prevention of mother to child transmission, resulting in turning the tide against a falling life expectancy rate. We have increased life expectancy by almost 4 years, to 60-61 years in 2012-13.
- We have regained the 1 million jobs lost as a result of the 2008 global economic crisis.
- R1 trillion has been invested in infrastructure. This is real economic development which is creating expanded economic capacity and jobs.
- The number of adults with banking services grew from 60% in 2009 to 75% in 2013.
- 500 informal settlements were replaced with permanent housing and basic services.
- The matric pass rate increased from 60.6% in 2009 to 78.2% in 2013.
- FET enrolments increased from 345,566 in 2010 to 657,690 in 2012. This is crucial - to make sure that our young people receive training that will allow them to qualify for full-time employment.
- Loans and bursaries to poor students increased from R2.3bn in 2008 to R8bn in 2013. The Minister of Higher Education is pulling out all the stops to increase the funding so that more students from disadvantaged communities can study.
- Over 7million learners are now in no fee schools, up from 5million in 2009.
- New teacher graduates more than doubled - up from 6,000 in 2009 to 13,000 in 2012.
- Due to the increased access to testing and treatment, babies born HIV+ were reduced from 24,000 in 2008 to 8,200 in 2011 - and average life expectancy increased by 4 more years to 60 years in 2012
Defend our achievement and advance in doing more
All of these and other achievements we made through the national democratic revolution must be advanced, deepened and defended. Equally, there is still more work that must be done. This includes rectifying mistakes including reviewing policies that did not help since 1994.
It is therefore crucial for the YCL together with the PYA to go all out to campaign for our alliance as led by the ANC to win the next national and provincial elections with an increased majority. It is only this alliance that is organisationally capable of leading our society towards the successful achievement of the goals of the Freedom Charter. In our view as the SACP, this will lay an indispensable basis for an advance towards socialism.
It is also important for the YCL, the PYA and young people in general to be on the outlook of imperialist projects that seek to destabilise and then hijack our democracy. Imperialism interferes everywhere to this end, including by buying the so-called prominent individuals, fronting and remote controlling them from behind against revolutionary movements in post-colonial societies, and ours is not an exception.
The recently exposed counter-offensive by a USA-based lobby group and transnational pharmaceutical corporations to disrupt and distract South Africa from adopting a new intellectual property rights policy must not be taken lightly. In defence of humanity and human life, all progressive and revolutionary forces must go all out against such agendas. It is important that we press ahead with the review of the prevailing intellectual property rights regime in favour of a new policy that places human life first.
It is equally important for the YCL as with the entire PYA to examine changes in the political landscape among the youth, identify and confront imperialist machinations. It can only be to our peril to assume that such machinations among the youth do not exist. The agenda of imperialism spares no sector in pursuit of exploitation and private capital accumulation.
More still needs to be done: based on a successful track record, the next ANC government is committed to deliver on the following areas.
Economy and jobs:
- Local procurement: the state will get 75% of goods/services from producers in SA, support small enterprises, co-operatives, and broad-based empowerment.
- Massive roll-out infrastructure: Energy, Transport, ICT and Water - will create economic activity and jobs.
- Jobs for youth - on placement and internship schemes, 60% of employment in infrastructure will be for youth, plus youth employment projects, training incentive schemes.
- Consolidate the public works programme, creating six million work opportunities by 2019 - many of which will be of long duration. This is what the DA wants to protest about - yet they have no alternatives.
- Investigate introducing national minimum wage to reduce income inequality.
- Enforce measures to end abusive work practices for part-time and contract workers and those employed by labour brokers. This is long overdue comrades.
Transform our Rural Areas
- Focus meeting basic food needs, land reform and rural enterprise development, supported by local markets, credit facilities and infrastructure - prioritising former homeland communal areas.
- Strengthen agricultural college education through skills development funds.
- Expand the Food for All programme for procuring and distributing affordable essential foodstuffs directly to poor communities.
- Increase the number of youth participants in the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) from the present 14,000 to 50,000 in the next five years.
- Accelerate the settlement of remaining land claims submitted before the cut-off date of 1998, and re-open the period for lodgement of claims for restitution of land for a period of five years, starting in 2014.
Human Settlements and basic services
- Provide one million housing opportunities for qualifying households in urban and rural settlements over the next five years.
- Accelerate provision of basic services, infrastructure in informal settlements.
- Increase the supply of affordable housing through housing allowances for teachers, nurses, police officers, office workers and others who do not qualify for RDP subsidy, but cannot afford housing.
- Work with banks, private sector organisations, co-operatives and social partners to increase the provision of capital for housing - also establish a mortgage insurance scheme.
- Connect an additional 1.6m homes to electricity grid over the next 5yrs
- Continue the work to achieve access for all to running water and decent sanitation
Education and Training
- Make 2 years of pre-school education compulsory. This is a crucial indicator of subsequent success in the schooling system.
- Eradicate adult illiteracy through the Kha Ri Gude literacy programme
- Teacher development:
- Teacher colleges linked to universities re-opened, in-service training
- Bursary programmes to improve teacher development
- Investigate appropriate working conditions for public servants - teachers in particular.
- Further improve the quality of basic education up to the senior grade.
- Open two new universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.
- Build 1000 new schools and provide accommodation for 50 000 students.
- Expand the FET college sector 12 new campuses in 2014 - more support and funding for students.
- Introduce compulsory community service for all graduates.
Health care for all
- Implement the next phase of the National Health Insurance (NHI) through a publicly funded and administered NHI Fund.
- 213 new clinics and community health centres and 43 hospitals will be constructed. Over 870 health facilities in all.
- 11 NHI pilot districts will undergo major and minor refurbishments.
- Strengthen and expand the free primary health care programme.
- Train average of 2000 new doctors per year.
- Improve management of public hospitals, reduce costs private health care.
- Intensify the campaign against HIV and AIDS, ensure 4.6 million receive anti-retrovirals, expand male circumcision and HIV-counselling and testing.
- Ensure chronic medication is available and delivered closer to where patients live - first 500,000 patients to start benefiting in 2014.
Expand Comprehensive Social Security
- Increase the supply of social service professionals - e.g. social workers.
- Introduce mandatory cover for retirement, disability and survivor benefits.
- Continue to roll out existing social grants to those who qualify.
- Urgently finalise policy discussions on a comprehensive social protection policy that ensures no needy South African falls through the social security net.
Fight Corruption and Crime
- Intensify the fight against corruption both in government and private sector.
- Stop public servants from doing business and holding public officials individually liable for losses arising from corrupt actions.
- Pursue action against companies involved in bid rigging, price fixing and corruption in past and current infrastructure build programmes.
- Any ANC member or public representative found guilty in a court of law to step down from any leadership positions in the ANC, government and society.
- Partnerships with street committees and community safety forums.
- Strengthen Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Units as a priority to deal with domestic violence and violence against women and children.
Build Social Cohesion and a United Nation
- Strengthen participatory democracy in workplaces, schools, hospitals and clinics, and in our communities.
- Promote a culture of dialogue, accords and commitments across society as part of our national effort to build a social compact for growth and development.
- Ensure public representatives are constantly in touch with the people and listen to people`s concerns and needs
The ANC has a vision and programme for fighting poverty and equality
- Long term we need to build an economy that provides decent jobs for all.
- Skills development and better education key to economic development and jobs.
- In the short term we have to make sure that poor households get support and services that deliver a better life for the poor now.
- Since 1994, on every single working day, the ANC government has delivered: 600 new houses, water to 1 300 new households, 1 300 houses connected to electricity, 2 600 new social grant beneficiaries, 7m school meals - all these target poor households. Also free education and healthcare for the poor.
- The total cost of all free services is more than R3000 per month per poor household.
The DA-Agang has nothing to offer except gimmicks
- The proposed march to Luthuli House to protest against the ANC - which led the Alliance that liberated this country is part of the useless gimmicks that characterise the DA-Agang.
- Even the Business Day admits that they have no idea what DA economic policy stands for.
- Swallowing up Agang for the sole purpose of finding a "credible black leader" who is available to the highest bidder should not stop us from examining the credibility of this leader. We will be forced to point out some truths about Dr Mampele:
- Whatever her role was in the black consciousness movement, she betrayed those principles the moment she agreed to become a black token figurehead in a party dominated by white capitalist interests. Steve Biko must be turning in his grave.
- We hear that she was a Director at the World Bank - a body infamous for its structural adjustment programmes - causing massive unemployment in developing countries. We heard nothing about any challenge to these policies from Mampele. More betrayal!
- Recently she announced her personal fortune of R55 million - which she seemed to think was small change. This indicates the circles she is moving in. In fact some of the journalists estimate the fortune to be much bigger. And where does this money come from? From mining shares acquired for free - and at the expense of the struggling miners. More betrayal!
- And now she has shown us that she cannot even organize a political party - in conditions of freedom and with the support of business interests. So what does she do: she takes Zille`s offer - abandoning ship, abandoning those who had been misled into supporting Agang. Yet more betrayal!
Let us expose political charlatans for who they are!
Let us consolidate and advance the revolution!
Let us vote for the ANC!
Let us march to the realisation of the goals of the Freedom Charter and Socialism!
Let us build the YCL to become bigger, stronger and mightier!
Long live YCL, long live!