1 August 2021
SACP General Secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande ;and the members of the Central Committee;
The Chairperson of the ANC, Cde Gwede Mantashe and the members of the NEC of the ANC;
The 1st Deputy President of COSATU, Cde Mike Shingange and Central Executive Committee members of COSATU.
The National Chairperson of YCLSA Cde Mabuse Mpe and the National Committee of YCLSA
Assistant Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Cde Li Mingxiang;
Cde Ambassodor H.E. Rudolfo Benitez Verson representing Communist Party Of Cuba
Distinguished guests; here in KZN we are honored with the presence of representatives from FEDUSA, NACTU and SAFTU.
Fellow South Africans
People of the World joining us through social media platforms
As the province of Moses Mabhida in Kwazulu Natal, We feel really honoured to have been chosen to host this historic 100th anniversary of the founding of the South African Communist Party (SACP).
I bring you revolutionary greetings and welcome from the entire SACP provincial leadership and membership of our organisation in KwaZulu-Natal.
Today’s celebration is indeed a superior occasion in the South African political landscape and certainly to all the progressive forces because of the critical role that the Party has played in our country’s history and continues to play in lives of our people in South Africa. Holding the centenary celebration in this province and at the venue named after our stalwart Moses Mabhida, is a fitting honour and recognition of the role and contribution played by SACP leaders who hailed from this Province in building the South African Communist Party which is today 100 years old.
Our departed stalwarts of the struggle for our liberation and the working class which brought about democracy in our country are surely priding themselves in their graves on this day and occasion;
I am talking about liberation stalwarts who contributed immensely in building the SACP such as Cde Johannes Nkosi, Cde Harry Gwala, Cde Moses Mabhida, Cde Stalin Mtshali, Cde Mzala Nxumalo, Cde Billy Nair, Cde Steven Dlamini, Cde Kay MoOnsamy, Cde Dorothy Nyembe, Cde Gesh Ndlovu, Cde Cunnick Ndlovu, Cde Linnos Dlamini, Cde Riot Mkhwanazi,Cde Mam Mboxela; Cde Simiso Nkwanyana and many more who hailed from this province.
The decision to hold the anniversary in KwaZulu-Natal is also seen as an honour of the working class struggles of historic magnitude like the 1973 Durban Strikes, the inaugural launch of the biggest trade union federation in South Africa COSATU and many other heroic struggles.
It is also with mixed feelings in that this celebration is taking place emerging from a dark cloud and turbulent period of violent unrest in our province and Gauteng in what is seen as ‘targeted agitation’ which exposed the sheer economic desperation of our people and our vulnerability of our state security in its ability to protect our democracy and our lives. While we thank the subsequent interventions that have since been made in the past few days, but the conditions on the ground which provided fertile ground for unrest stays intact, in fact they have worsened with the loss of life, the loss of jobs, disruptions in food value chains, the loss of local supermarkets, higher transport costs incurred when sourcing food, longer queues to get into supermarkets which curtail the ability of people to seek cheapest prices, and hike in food prices.
This unrest scrapped to the surface the unresolved national question of class, racism, inequality, gender, ethnicity and its related chauvinism of all kinds. The communist party was the first organisation to call for non- racial, non- sexist society including black majority rule in South Africa. This is a challenge that still remains with us, more than 27 years into our democracy and 100 years since our formation.
The recent looting of shops and the burning of private and public infrastructure allegedly sparked following former President Jacob Zuma’s incarceration, has had adverse impact on many families and the working class.
Government reports indicate that up to 40 000 businesses were impacted during the widespread violence which has cost the KZN economy R20 billion. A further 150 000 jobs are at risk.
As an organisation that puts the interests of the poor, the working class and the voiceless at the top of its agenda, the recent unrest cannot be condoned by anyone with progressive and revolutionary morality, since it carries features of counter- revolution.
The extent of violence we saw being beamed live on our national media platforms traumatise the nation and shook some of us to the core. This was not only because of its magnitude but because members of the Party have in the past been involved in raising its concerns through defiance.
As you will recall, the Communist Party was the first to feel the repressive wrath of the apartheid state leading to its banning in 1953, therefore it is not surprising to see its members being in the forefront and prominent among the first men and women to take up arms to defend our people when the people’s liberation army Umkhonto Wesizwe was formed.
When our members were not happy with the tyrannical policies of the apartheid regime, they took up arms and fought against it. It must be highlighted that ours was a disciplined armed struggle that avoided civilians targets, therefore could not burn down source of food for the poor, destroy health facilities in rural areas like Nongoma and Ingwavuma, destroy most means of the poor to take care of their daily lives. What we witness defined itself outside the legacy, traditions and character of our liberation struggle and fight for justice.
When the SACP was formed in 1921, the world was emerging from devastating WWI and influenza pandemic which costed humanity millions of lives. It is unfortunate that, hundred years later we find humanity deep in another pandemic, the Covid-19 which also has already taken more than 4 million lives throughout the world and above 60000 lives lost here in South Africa.
In conclusion, I would like to share with you what we are doing as the SACP in KwaZulu-Natal to celebrate our centenary.
Our centenary programme launched last month includes among other things the following activities:
- Deepening the battle of ideas about the role of the party and socialism as the future through lectures and debates;
- Anchoring our celebration of the centenary in party activism and the working- class struggle, dealing with social ills and fighting against corruption;
- Identifying and honouring our party stalwarts who started the SACP;
- Identifying the SACP heritage sites;
- Holding seminars that will focus on a wide range of issues such women and children abuse, education and minority groups;
- Arranging wreath laying ceremonies for SACP martyrs.
- Deepening research and debate on party history;
- Ensuring that the SACP records and documents are collected, securely and accessibly stored;
Comrades, ladies and gentlemen,
My task was not to give a speech but to welcome you to our beautiful province and to appreciate the SACP’s decision to hold the centenary celebration in KwaZulu-Natal.
As we celebrate 100 years of our existence and moving on into the next 100 years, we want to commit ourselves to the founding document of the communist, THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO that we will continue being entrenched in the struggles of communities and in the mobilisation of workers.
Long live the SACP! And therefore repeat the call,
“LET THE RULING CLASSESS TREMBLE AT A COMMUNIST REVOLUTION. THE PROLETARIANS HAS NOTHING TO LOOSE. THEY HAVE THE WORLD TO WIN.
WORKMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES UNITE.