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SACP: Solly Mapaila: Address by SACP General Secretary, on the Red Brigades and 2024 Election Campaign Launch Statement, Rustenburg (10/03/2024)


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SACP: Solly Mapaila: Address by SACP General Secretary, on the Red Brigades and 2024 Election Campaign Launch Statement, Rustenburg (10/03/2024)

SACP General Secretary Solly Mapaila
SACP General Secretary Solly Mapaila

11th March 2024


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The 2024 elections are highly contested as part of the fiercely contested direction of our democratic dispensation and its international co-operation and relations policy. There is no problem if the contestation is only among the people of South Africa. However, there is a serious problem with any form of, or invitation to, external interference in our elections and other internal affairs. This is because we are a sovereign democratic republic. 

In contradiction, there is a leaked letter from the DA, undermining our sovereignty, subordinating our national democracy to imperialist interests. Dated 7 March 2024, the leaked letter represents a piece of evidence that the DA stands for neocolonialism of a special type and is at the service of imperialist regimes. 


Whilst its conclusion misleadingly appears to be opposed to external interference, the entire text of the leaked DA letter, if authentic, follows up with the imperialist regime of the United States to adopt additional measures to interfere in our domestic affairs, focusing, at present, on the 2024 national and provincial government elections. If the imperialist regime of the United States cannot strengthen its direct interference in our country’s internal affairs, it must interfere by increasing support and resources for the domestic agents. This is the essence of what the letter seeks.   

The DA promotes the speculation, which is now a political agenda, that a minimum of 50 per cent electoral performance by the ANC is unachievable and will be unacceptable. Of course, 50 per cent or more in the ANC’s performance will be unacceptable to the neo-colonialists of a special type, the DA at the service of imperialist handlers. This is the basis for the request by the beneficiaries of apartheid to the imperialist regime of the United States. The DA is a party of overwhelmingly white leaders in an African country with an overwhelmingly black population. This is part of the persisting wider legacy of apartheid, which was a heightened continuation of colonialism of a special type in our country. 


Under colonialism of a special type, the colonisers, comprising the racist white minority supremacists, lived in the same country as the colonised, comprising the oppressed black majority. There was white privilege in the workplace, the economy at large and in every sphere of societal activity. The racists super-exploited and marginalised the oppressed black majority. They built control of the wealth of our country and its resources in racialised and gendered structures of capitalist ownership and exploitation of workers. 

When we fought against the apartheid regime, the imperialist regime of the United States reacted by listing our liberation organisations and leaders, including President Nelson Mandela, as terrorists. We will never forget this. Neither shall we allow our hard-won national sovereignty to be converted by the DA and its ilk into a subject of imperialist interference and control.

Imperialist regimes are hard at work both directly and indirectly through the NGOs and the political parties sponsored either by their resources or by their bourgeoisie to effect regime change in South Africa. This includes machinations resulting in and propping up popcorn political parties to fragment the historical constituencies of our National Democratic Revolution. 

The imperialist regimes and the foundations controlled by their funds and private corporations as enablers have bought numerous political parties through party-political funding in pursuit of regime change in South Africa. This agenda extends to sections of the media, research organisations, the commentariat and other propaganda machinery. 

Certain sections of capital operating domestically have a vested interest and are involved in the agenda to unseat the ANC and by extension obliterate any prospects for a successful National Democratic Revolution. This is the context in which the owners, CEOs, or executive directors of the private corporations involved have thrown millions of rands behind the right-wing parties and their coalition formation. In this way, they have also converted what should be multi-party democratic elections into money politics, a systematic destruction of real democracy.

Our revolutionary Alliance and formations of the Mass Democratic Movement must rise to the occasion to defend the South African National Democratic Revolution. This includes defending our hard-won sovereignty and other democratic gains, which have been benefiting millions of our people since our April 1994 democratic breakthrough. The immediate task that we face is to spare no capacity and capability to campaign for a decisive electoral victory for the ANC.

After securing the victory, we must return to reposition the National Democratic Revolution. This must involve re-asserting national-revolutionary transformation and development policy measures, as opposed to the neoliberal policy measures promoted by imperialist forces, institutions, their domestic agents and followers. It is essential for us to build on the progress we have made since our hard-won April 1994 democratic breakthrough to dismantle the legacy of colonialism. 

It does not take rocket science to see that South Africa is a better country to live in following our April 1994 democratic breakthrough, compared to the colonial era, including apartheid. The human rights enshrined in our constitution and the associated massive social advances in education, employment equity, healthcare, social infrastructure, tarred roads, household electrification and expansion of access to water, among others, cannot be reduced to the “nothing” that opposition parties, including apartheid beneficiaries, claim has happened since 1994. We need to build on these achievements to make more progress towards the South Africa envisioned in the Freedom Charter. We still face a massive transformation and development work to do despite the commendable advances we have implemented since 1994.

The May 2024 election manifesto, unveiled by the ANC last month, opens opportunities for us to reposition our National Democratic Revolution. The SACP, along with other Alliance components, took part in the manifesto consultative process. This was in line with the principle of consensus-seeking Alliance consultation. It is one of our principles to reconfigure the Alliance to move with the times, enhance unity of revolutionary purpose, and optimise the positive impact of the Alliance and its leadership to serve the people well. However, we still need to advance the struggle to achieve comprehensive Alliance reconfiguration. We will evaluate progress at our Sixteenth National Congress and make new considerations if necessary.

While continuing with the struggle to reconfigure the Alliance we must, and as part of the process, push for the full implementation of the entire progressive thrust of the manifesto. This will benefit millions of our people. To summarise some important tenets: 

1)        The manifesto attaches great importance to industrialisation, a source of large-scale employment creation. To this, the manifesto calls for a developmental macroeconomic framework. This means industrialisation and large-scale employment must rank high as macroeconomic policy goals. Therefore, both monetary and fiscal policies, inclusive of interest and exchange rates policies, tax framework and other revenue generation policies, and, equally important, budget allocations, must all support industrialisation and maximum sustainable employment.

2)        Likewise, international trade policy, government procurement and other policies must make manufacturing localisation a top priority and thus contribute to industrialisation and domestic employment creation.

3)        By manufacturing localisation, the manifesto embraces beneficiation, processing of minerals and primary agricultural and forestry products, as well as marine and other natural resources, into finished products. Building, expanding and diversifying domestic beneficiation value chains is crucial for employment creation to tackle unemployment, especially through decent work. This is also crucial to confront poverty.

4)        Industrialisation and employment creation commitments in the manifesto include the imperative to rebuild and expand domestic oil refinery capacity to produce oil byproducts like petrol and diesel locally.

5)        Towards industrialisation, the manifesto calls for a comprehensive industrial policy. As part of this, the manifesto calls for the consolidation and enhancement of the industrialisation and employment creation impact of sectoral masterplans.

6)        Transformation of the financial sector is a priority in the manifesto. Included in this is a commitment that will take us closer to the goals of the Freedom Charter in terms of ownership in the banking sector. This is the commitment to go beyond a concern with establishing a lone state bank, to build a state banking sector, including sector specific development banks (guided by industrial policy) and a public retail banking system. A transformed financial sector will include a thriving co-operatives banking sector, independent of commercial banks.

7)        The manifesto includes a commitment to eliminate barriers that affect co-operatives from rising and thriving. As part of a developmental macroeconomic framework, the manifesto calls for adequate support for co-operatives and small, medium and micro enterprises to flourish. This is crucial for employment creation. In particular, adequate support for co-operatives to prosper will emancipate work from the exploitative job relation for the beneficiaries. 

 8)        It is important to emphasise the manifesto commitment to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, which is a global capitalist system reality. 


9)        The manifesto commitment to extend and improve the Social Relief of Distress Grant and transform it into a foundation for a basic income guarantee for the unemployed is a potential step towards the universal basic income grant we have been calling for. This is important as part of the wider effort to move towards a comprehensive social security system.  

10)    The manifesto elevates the imperatives to advance a skills revolution and continue expanding access to education at all levels from the foundation phase up to college and university qualifications.


11)    Implementation of the National Health Insurance towards quality healthcare for all is crucial among the manifesto commitments: we are looking forward to President Cyril Ramaphosa signing the NHI Bill into law. 

12)    The manifesto attaches great importance to building safer communities by strengthening the fight against crime, including drug dealing, violence and gender-based violence, theft and other forms of crime.

13)    The manifesto streamlines women and youth empowerment in its priorities and equally important pays attention to the material needs of people above the age of 35, including in employment and broader economic and social transformation and development.

14)    The manifesto reaffirms the importance of the steps that South Africa had to take, especially the decision to refer the apartheid Israeli settler state genocide on the Palestinians to the International Court of Justice. This is among the reasons the imperialist regimes that support the genocidal Israeli military campaign against the Palestinian people want a regime change in South Africa. We condemn this agenda in the strongest terms possible and we must do our best to make it fail.

15)    The manifesto reaffirms our long-standing commitment to defend our democracy. As part of this commitment, and this is our view as the SACP, we need to push legislation to combat all forms of neocolonial and imperialist interference and machination in our country on all fronts, including in elections.  

16)    We must clamp down on corruption through societal mobilisation in addition to legislative means, economic and social transformation and development, and anti-corruption efforts by law enforcement authorities. Strengthening capacity to fight corruption is among the key commitments in the manifesto.     

To implement these and other commitments that make up the progressive thrust of the manifesto through the government, starting with translating the text of the manifesto into the next Medium-Term Strategic Framework, we must achieve decisive victory in the 29 May 2024 elections.

In addition, we must not retreat after voting. While elections are important in the battle for democracy, they are not an end in themselves. They are a means to an end. Therefore, we need to continue building working-class and popular power and exercising it to achieve all the goals of the Freedom Charter. 

The working class, with the SACP playing its part, developing its vanguard capacity, must strengthen its organisational and political capacity to build leadership in holding the government accountable and defending, advancing and deepening the National Democratic Revolution towards socialism. We must go deeper with its strategic task of Party Building and mass mobilisation to enforce implementation of the manifesto and guard against revisionism after the elections. 

We want to take this opportunity to issue a stern warning against unscrupulous elements in the Independent Electoral Commission. 

In particular, we condemn in the strongest terms possible the unfair conduct involving the leaking of the ANC candidate list.

The leaking of the ANC candidates list, which affects Alliance partners, appears to be part of the wider reactionary agenda to dislodge the ANC. It also seems to have been synchronised with supportive media reportage and constitutes a violation of both our electoral and protection of personal information laws. The leaked list includes ID numbers of every person on it. We can have this or that issue with the list, but we will never condone or accept its leaking. 

We need decisive action by the IEC and law enforcement authorities against those who leaked the list. In so far as it is concerned, the leak renders list management at the IEC in our election process unfair. It is tantamount to an act of treason and must be punished, in terms of the law.

We need effective remedial action to address the damaging effect of the leak on our elections and every person on the list.

Moreover, the IEC must strengthen cyber security. In defence of our democracy, the IEC must not use any technology, hardware and software, developed by the apartheid Israeli settler state. It is important to safeguard our democracy, including on the technological and cyber security fronts.  

Let us go all out to secure decisive electoral victory for the ANC within the framework of our ANC-led Alliance’s shared electoral platform. Our Red Brigades must intensify the Know and Act in Your Neighbourhood Campaign, Door-to-Door and industrial area campaigning. To sum it up, the Red Brigades must intensify campaigning everywhere there are voters.


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