The struggle against state capture is far from over, SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande reminded delegates to the 16th national congress of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) yesterday.
In his keynote address to the two-day gathering at Birchwood Hotel in Ekurhuleni, which ends today, Nzimande said the organised working class had “a critical role to play” in a drive to fight corruption, saying: “Those who stole must go to jail.”
He said: “We must remain vigilant against botched prosecutions of those involved. The manner in which certain investigative and prosecutorial aspects were and appear to be still handled in relation to some state capture cases leaves much to be desired.”
Nzimande said communists welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of a high-level panel to conduct a review of intelligence services.
“It is important to unearth and deal decisively with all rogue operations and abuses of our national security organs, and to ensure that none of the abuses is repeated.”
He urged Ramaphosa to launch a similar review “of the police as a whole, including the police crime intelligence and the Hawks”, adding, “The question of why state capture took place as if there were no law-enforcement agencies in our country must be answered.”
Nzimande, who is also minister of transport, said the president’s crusade against state capture was “still being hamstrung by factions within the ANC – the organisation that he [Ramaphosa] leads.”
He warned: “There are clear indications of an attempt at a fightback. KwaZulu-Natal has become a hotbed of this attempted fightback, which is being orchestrated to expand to other provinces.”
The struggle against state capture, he said, “was not just a general moral struggle against crime and corruption, it is directly a working-class struggle because state capture is the theft of hard-won democratic public power”.
“It is state capture that has drained our budgetary resources and pushed our country to the brink of a financial crisis.”
The SA Communist Party leader said he also welcomed the investigation into the SA Revenue Service, adding that “we further welcome the investigation into the VBS Mutual Bank. We agree with Cosatu that VAT [value-added tax] increases are a blow against the workers and poor.
“The SACP calls for a wealth tax on the super-rich, and for a land tax on unoccupied land that is not being productively used, and on property speculators.”