Government’s decision to take on a dollar-denominated International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan has exposed the economy to further suffocation by imperialist interests.
That’s according to SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande, who delivered a keynote address at the party’s 99th anniversary celebrations held virtually on Sunday.
On 29 July 1921, communist militants announced the formation of the Communist Party at a public meeting in Cape Town.
The founding Congress of the Communist Party officially opened the following day at 20 Plein Street in Cape Town.
Nzimande, also Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister, described the IMF’s R70-billion (US$4.3-billion) loan to South Africa as a grievous mistake.
“In the midst of important discussions within the ANC-led alliance on an economic response to our many challenges, it is hard not to see the behaviour of the National Treasury and the Reserve Bank as an attempt to achieve through IMF conditionalities what they cannot achieve through a democratic discussion here at home.
“In confronting this situation, we need to draw courage and learn lessons from our past determination and resilience in our struggle for liberation and social emancipation. We come a long way,” he said.
Nzimande said SACP members still came under attack for being vocal against corruption.
“The Communist Party continues to be a target of the exploiters and the corrupt. In recent years, decades after the end of white minority rule, there have still been assassinations and attempted hits on SACP activists. Most recently, the SACP lost members who were killed for being vocal against the looters of the VBS Mutual Bank in Limpopo province.”
He said, adding that activisst would not be deterred:Their sin was to be in the forefront of our campaign against those involved in the ‘Great Bank Heist’. The SACP has also lost anti-corruption fighters killed in Mpumalanga, KZN and other provinces.
“The looters of public resources must be rooted out and sent to jail to wear orange overalls,” Nzimande said.
Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) national secretary Tinyiko Ntini echoed Nzimande’s concerns around the IMF.
“We witness the reemergence of the hegemony of the neoliberal agenda within the state – a leadership that seeks to be more powerful in the state and against the culture, policy perspectives and traditions of the movement, wanting to project the state as a mandate-giver to the movement.
“There is a deliberate attempt to relegate the ANC to be a part of the state machinery and cease influence over state decisions. This is done deliberately to enforce the neoliberal agenda sponsored by international monetary institutions such as the IMF,” he said.
ANC national executive committee member Zweli Mkhize said the SACP had been a trusted ally of the ANC and an equal partner in the tripartite alliance.
Mkhize, who is also minister of health, spoke on behalf of the ANC.
“The Communist Party has always been an integral part of the conceptualisation and prosecution of major campaigns that has shaped our liberation struggle in response to the onslaught by the apartheid regime in an effort to annihilate our forces and frustrate our people’s aspirations for democracy and freedom,” he said.
“In short, because of the uniqueness of this alliance, the Communist Party has been part of all the victories of the ANC and its alliance partners; celebrating the joys of our victories and sharing the feelings of sadness and the pain where the ANC suffered setbacks.”