‘Don’t be populist, opportunistic or factional’: Blade Nzimande’s warning

SA Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande issued a stern warning to delegates at the close of the party’s national congress — don’t be populist, opportunistic or factional.

Blade Nzimande. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

Nzimande was addressing a crowd of party delegates on Thursday after a three-day-long meeting to discuss the way forward on policy issues.

“If the Communist Party is to play its vanguard role we also have to confront and defeat any regressive tendencies that do not belong to any communist party. We must fight against all forms of populism,” he said.

“We also must defeat a cousin tendency which is opportunism … We must also fight against factionalism everywhere we are, including in our own ranks. That’s very important.

“From within the ranks of our own movement there are those that are going into Sasco, Cosas and Sanco to go and support certain factions … we must expose those who are seeing a platform to push their own narrow agendas in the entire mass democratic movement.”

Speaking on the outcomes of the policy discussions, party spokesperson Alex Mashilo outlined measures the SACP believes will help turn around the economy.

Quoting from the congress declaration, Mashilo said the state has been “tenderised” and institutions, including parliament, failed to play an oversight role.

“The state was tenderised, in other words divided into tenders awarded to the highest bidders or whoever is politically connected, and within this context public resources were looted more so under state capture,” he said.

“The widespread corruption was accompanied by government mismanagement. State institutions including parliament … failed to play their role. They were weakened and others were co-opted to either turn a blind eye to the rot or assist it.”

Mashilo said the party had met during a “deep crisis” in the economy.

“The congress is held in the background of a deep crisis, particularly affecting the working class and the poor of our country,” he said.

“This crisis is typified by a stagnant economy that is continuing to shed jobs in the context of a high unemployment rate, entrenched poverty and widening inequality.

“The solution to economic and social reproduction crisis lies in the pursuit of developmental democratic path and state.”

The declaration calls for the following:

• The building of a “publicly-controlled developmental banking and financial sector”.

• Prescribed assets.

• A sovereign wealth fund.

• The expansion of the mandate of the SA Reserve Bank

• Acceleration of land redistribution.

• The introduction of a wealth tax; and

• The establishment of a state-owned pharmaceutical company.

Source: TMG Digital

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