/ 10 December 2010

Vavi: SACP criticism ‘informed by love’

Vavi: Sacp Criticism 'informed By Love'

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi apologised to the Young Communist League for tensions caused by the labour federation’s call for the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) chief Blade Nzimande to resign from government.

However the outspoken leader refused to apologise for making the call.

In his address to the YCL’s 3rd national congress in Mafikeng, Vavi said Cosatu stood by its call for Nzimande’s return to his full-time communist party position.

Nzimande serves as the Minister of Higher Education and Training in President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet, a position that critics say conflict with his role in the ruling alliance as General Secretary of the SACP.

“Yes Cosatu has made a number of statements that I know did not sit comfortably with many in the SACP, and I want to apologise for that in advance,” said Vavi.

Vanguard of the workers
But he added that Cosatu would continue to raise the matter because the labour federation was worried that if the vanguard of the workers — the SACP — was weakened, the workers would also be weakened. “For that part we will not apologise to anyone”.

Calling the SACP “our buddy” and “our political insurance” Vavi laid out the disadvantages of having full-time communist party leaders concentrating on government work and abandoning party duties.

“The absence of full-time officials, in particular at national and provincial levels in the SACP, will hamper the left’s ability to carry through its programme of radical transformation of our society and for socialism. This is an honest view, dear comrades, informed by our love of the SACP not by any newly found hatred or disdain of the SACP”.

Cosatu, and recently some of its affiliates, called for Nzimande to resign from his Cabinet position, saying the SACP needed a full-time leader based at its Braamfontein head office to continue building the party.

The YCL will elect new leaders at the December 10 – 12 conference, with the position of a national secretary heavily contested between current secretary Buti Manamela and his deputy Khaye Nkwanyane.

Organisational tension
Lobbying for the two hopefuls has created tension within the communist party youth, and delegates at the congress made their choices known through songs.

Vavi cautioned the YCL against divisions that could harm the organisation.

“There can be no celebrations of your weaknesses today, instead we mourn. A strong vanguard is a must-have if we are to increase the tempo of class struggle and build the momentum for socialism”.

Vavi said despite some differences of opinion, Cosatu more than any other time needed the communist party. Cosatu knew that it would be weakened if it allowed differences between itself and its allies to grow, he said.

“A strong SACP and YCL are pillars upon which the progressive trade union movement rests. There is an umbilical cord running through the history of progressive and class conscious unionism in this country and the efforts and labour of the Communist Party”.

Marxist-Leninist analysis
Vavi also praised the YCL for being “a breath of fresh air” since its re-establishment seven years ago.

“From the day you were re-launched, you have lived up to the challenge to bring in a breath of fresh air and a refreshing Marxist-Leninist analysis. You have radically transformed the landscape of youth politics,” Vavi said.

Vavi said the YCL’s current challenge is to reflect the youth’s impatience with capitalism and all forms of oppression, which the Cosatu chief said is ten times what it was in 2003 when the YCL was re-launched. “We say this because young people continue to be at the receiving end of the persistence of the apartheid fault-lines and capitalist exploitation”.