Africa-Press – South-Africa. Johannesburg – The general secretary of the SACP, Blade Nzimande, has warned that the reliance on gross domestic product (GDP) growth as a measure of South Africa’s economic progress and recovery is perpetuating the country’s socio-economic problems.
On Wednesday the party commemorated the 26th anniversary of the death of Joe Slovo, a former general secretary of the party, chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and one of the leading theorists within the liberation movement in the fight against apartheid.
Slovo, whose commemoration was held at his grave site at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto before the Covid-19 pandemic, was one the first two joint commanders of MK when it was established by the ANC and the SACP as a joint military wing – alongside Nelson Mandela.
In a wide-ranging virtual address, Nzimande called for the reduction of poverty, inequality and unemployment to form part of central measures to ensure that exclusion was not perpetuated.
“GDP may grow, and it has happened in the past, yet at the same time poverty, inequality and unemployment is worsening. GDP growth is not a reliable measure of how our economy is performing in relation to the overwhelming majority of our people,” Nzimande said.
This comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration is embarking on an ambitious economic recovery plan to help reverse further damage caused by Covid-19 on the country’s ailing economy.
Nzimande added that while the SACP was opposed to “state capture and parasitic networks”, it was also opposed to the government’s “neo-liberal austerity agenda”, where the budget for social services was being cut, adding that none of them would take the country forward.
Nzimande then fired a salvo against the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) and the MK Council over divisiveness and factionalism.
“Don’t take kindly to the name of MK being used for factionalist behaviour in the movement. That is why we call upon the MKMVA together with the MK Council to merge and form one organisation, as has been decided by the ANC and supported by us to preserve the legacy of MK. If the MK was factionalist, we would not be where we are today,” Nzimande said.
The two groupings of former combatants have been at loggerheads for years, with the MKMVA representing the faction sympathetic to former president Jacob Zuma and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, while the MK Council represents those sympathetic to Ramaphosa.
The party has previously received criticism from the MKMVA, as the association accused the party of trying to meddle in its affairs.
Nzimande, however, insisted that the party would continue to speak up on the conduct of the association.
“Those who say who are we as the SACP to make statements, we must and will say so because we are the co-founders of MK, so it is very important that we do not forget that MK was never factionalist and therefore the MKMVA cannot act in a manner that divides the organisation,” Nzimande said.
With wide-scale looting of relief funds through Covid-19 tender corruption last year, Nzimande warned against corruption in the procurement and distribution of vaccines.
Magashule hailed Slovo’s contribution to the Struggle, but called for a review of the progress made to transform South Africa economically, including reviewing the “sunset clause”, which was a package of compromises made by the liberation movement during pre-1994 negotiations and which was penned by Slovo, including on property rights.
“Comrade Slovo’s theoretical formulation of the sunset clause was not cast in stone,” he said.
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali described Slovo as a thoughtful, fearless, disciplined and ethical leader whose qualities were needed as the country was undergoing a socio-economic crisis.