COSATU salutes the SACP on its momentous Centenary Celebrations – The moment of reflection towards the next Centenary

The history of the South African working class is not complete without the historic role of the vanguard in building working class power

SACP Virtual Centenary Celebrations Launch, 4 July 2021

National Chairperson of the SACP, Cde Senzeni Zokwana
General Secretary, Cde Dr Blade Nzimande
Members of the Politburo
Alliance Leaders Present here today
International and domestic guests
Fraternal and working class parties represented here today

Dear Comrades,

Exactly 100 years ago, in this month of July, the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) was formed, which later turned to be the South African Communist Party (SACP) as we know it today. It was in 1921, immediately after the 1st World War that almost around the same time, several known Communist Parties were formed, with such historic significance to the class struggle. They include the Communist Party of China.

The profound words of Karl Marx and Frederich Engels, expressed the most fundamental essence of the class struggle when in the Communist Manifesto, they said, “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master‡ and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes”.

Following the devastations of the world economy by the inter- and intra-imperialist rivalries, that resulted in the first World War, in actual fact, a war between and amongst imperialist powers, for the balkanisation of Africa and other parts of the developing world, territorial conquests and colonies in order to the partition the world into monopoly spheres of each imperialist power, the working classes of the world arose to the reality of capitalist greed and destructiveness that led the whole world into common ruin. This led to the birth of several key Communist Parties that changed the course of human history forever.

This underlines the fact illustrated herein above about the history of all hitherto existing society as the history of class struggles. History has proven that no class wage a struggle on behalf of another, hence the indispensability of class consciousness and class analysis in all our struggles. Without class consciousness, workers and other social forces are unable to unpack and expose the class contradictions and the class interests behind every decision, move and policy. Towards that end, it’s the cardinal pillar of any revolutionary and working class organisation to remain guided, at all times, by class consciousness.

In the history of the South African revolution, we owe a special tribute to the role of the SACP in the ideological, organisational and political sphere for offering its most sharpest analysis, insights and advanced ideas during the most difficult period of the underground and exile. We did not doubt that, for every difficult question facing the revolution; from narrow national chauvinism and tribalism, to sexism and patriarchy, to colonialism of a special type and racial capitalism, to superstitions, myths and stereotypes and all sorts of backward ideas, the SACP was at the forefront clarifying the foundation of our class analysis and the advanced theory of the class. We have benefitted from the historic works of Moses Kotane, JB Marks, Ray Alexander, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Brian Bunting, Dan Tloome, Michael Harmel, Ruth First, Chris Hani, Jack Simons, Dora Tamana amongst others.

The significance and strategic role of the Alliance in leading the NDR

The significance and role of the tripartite alliance and its components must be understood in the above context. It is the revolution that defined what alliances and class forces define the essence of the NDR and how do they relate to each other and the revolution in general, during the different phases of our struggle. The alliance must be understood in its totality and as a convergence of different components representing particular constituencies and forces that share a common perspective called the NDR, but with separate social constituencies.

Towards this end, the alliance must and should always clarify the overall thrust of the NDR in each phase, but remain alive to the fact of each constituency’s immediate and pressing issues, which if ignored, could lead to a strategic detour or even an outright rupture. This clarity and understanding of the forces constituting the alliance and the MDM in its general sense is very important, otherwise we either conflate, confuse or downplay the essence of each component and its unique role and contribution to the alliance and the NDR in general.

This is where the nuances, postures and overtures become more pronounced on either strategic or practical and tactical matters. This is very important for our shared understanding of the NDR in motion and how it shall be continuously evolving and throwing new and unprecedent challenges.

We have been engaged in matters critical to workers and the working class in general, as the alliance and components, in the recent past, as has been the case throughout the history of our revolution. We have experienced the difficulty of clarifying what the NDR mean for workers losing jobs, to workers losing CCMA protection and the general disruption of the whole bargaining system as a result of the neo-liberal restructuring of capital. We have sometimes felt each other to be on one or the other extreme. This is the challenge of the conjuncture and the necessity to clarify the actual stage of our revolution and its practical meaning for us as revolutionaries and leaders of the NDR.

COSATU pays special tribute to the role and contribution of communists in building COSATU and working class power in general, wit the result that, we know too well that, our revolutionary character as a trade union basing itself on the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism is to a very huge extent, the influence and contribution of the SACP. In the same way, that the ANC can be regarded as being a force of the left and, using revolutionary tools throughout its history of struggle against apartheid, as a tribute to that role we are speaking about.

COSATU and the SACP are the key axis of the left in the alliance and critical forces of the NDR in driving a revolutionary and progressive content of the whole struggle. The dismantling of apartheid is not complete, neither is the transformation of society. We are still in a stubborn transition from a racist, capitalist society to a democratic and developmental society. This is the imperative and understanding we must always never take for granted.

The journey the SACP has undertaken towards this centenary is a very arduous and difficult one, but filled with rich lessons and experiences that make us a lot richer, more wiser and more sharpened. In that way, we all share in these evolutionary and revolutionary gains and insights of that journey.

Towards that end, COSATU would want to use the Centenary celebrations moment to call for a broad strategic focus on the following pointers;


  • Deliberate focus on heightening ideological development, to intensify the building of working class consciousness and advancing unity of workers against neo-liberalism and imperialism, particularly in this difficult period of outright capitalist barbarism, extreme exploitation and poverty
  • Building a Popular front for social and economic justice, bringing together community and social justice movements, coordinated by both the SACP and COSATU in actual struggles against the ravaging crises in communities and job losses
  • Dedicated focus on Organisational Development and building peoples organs to strengthen our organisations, build organs of peoples power and reclaim the mass movement for revolutionary transformation, including fighting Corruption, as well abuse of public resources and parasitism
  • Being more decisive in fighting against Gender Based Violence, women and children abuse, crime, as well as for environmental justice to save the planet and the future of humanity from the path of capitalist greed
  • Building more joint Technical Oversight capacity to advance and monitor policy development, implementation and evaluation in the state
  • Advancing a more robust internationalism and solidarity movement, with special focus on Africa, Cuba, Palestine and Venezuela and the whole Latin America and the Caribbean