Holiday Inn, Boksburg
Comrade Chairperson of the session,
Leadership of COSATU led by President Sdumo Dlamini,
Leadership from Progressive Affiliates of COSATU,
Leadership of the South African Communist Party led by the 2nd Deputy General Secretary, Cde Solly Mapaila,
Leadership of the African National Congress,
Members of the National Executive Committee of POPCRU,
The Leadership of our Progressive Youth Alliance
Members of the Media,
Most importantly, Comrades delegates to this important gathering.
On behalf of the National Executive Committee and our more than 160 000 members organised under the Traffic, Correctional Services and Police clusters, receive our revolutionary greetings.
We welcome you all to our 3rd National Political School under the theme “Transforming the Criminal Justice Cluster in Defence of the Working Class struggle for the advancement of the National Democratic Revolution.”
The aim of this 3rd National Political School is to empower members with political consciousness and a range of organisational and leadership skills and to equip them with knowledge that assist them in understanding the political environment in which they operate in as unionists and workers. It is designed to equip delegates with both political awareness and intellectual tools to better reposition POPCRU’s role within the political arena and society at large. By that we aim to build a revolutionary working class movement for the attainment of the National Democratic Revolution.
We therefore expect this political school to achieve the following among others;
- Provide a platform for intensive political and ideological engagement.
- Instil responsible political traits with reputable characters among members
- Sharpen political and ideological understanding and encourage ethos of socialism and reinvigorate responsive leadership by continuously playing a progressive role within the alliance.
It is of vital importance for any human being to be well aware of the society wherein they live. They need to have such consciousness because it would be possible for them to understand their role, status, rights and responsibilities. In this way they would be able to play a positive role in the positive development of society. To this extent, organisations for the mobilisation of people’s empowerment need to take up a bigger role, and no one can do so outside our historical alliance. It is only through intense political discussions devoid of squabbles and factionalism that we can inculcate correct values to our youth structures within the PYA, an intervention urgently needed now more than ever as we observe a changed culture that is speedily creeping in on a consistent basis among our youth in general. Socio-political consciousness helps individuals in the society to make maximum use of collective life as it is through social life that human beings have made splendid achievements. The tasks and accomplishments, which are otherwise impossible to be fulfilled, become very usual and are attained without much effort through cooperative activities.
Socio-political consciousness is not one of the qualities that exist within human instincts. It has to be developed within them through proper nourishment and inculcation, and for this purpose, the responsibility lies with the alliance in ensuring political education and ideological training is popularised among the young for the preservation of our movement.
Children who are born in a society do not necessarily become social in the real sense of the word. Especially in today’s society when the people have become very much mechanical and materialistic it is difficult to find youth getting easily associated with the social and political groups. Social isolation is widespread and social interactions are now maintained through technology. In such a scenario it is really important that our youth is socialized appropriately and this has to be inculcated in them that their relation with the society is of great importance and they have a responsibility towards the environment where they live. This is the task that the ANCYL, YCLSA, COSAS, COSATU Youth need to champion. I say to the PYA, the future is yours. Make good use of it!
Cooperativeness among the comrades pursuing the National Democratic Revolution makes us realize how we can create synergies through collective efforts. A Sense of responsibility, task-sharing, trustworthiness and love for our historical alliance can be developed for the purposes of teaching our young to focus on the ultimate, genuine goal. One of the most important steps in this regard is to have the courage to play a role within society in a constructive manner. Solution-oriented attitudes can play a tremendous role in this regard.
Some people try to avoid conflicts and remain limited to their comfort zone, however, such an attitude would never help them be a responsible being. Apart from the resolution of the conflict, an individual must strive not to let the conflict be built and go out of control. In short, he needs to play an active role in the conflict and stop hiding himself behind others in such situation. That can also be said about organisations, more so within the Alliance.
For being socially aware it is necessary that an individual should enhance his sensitivity towards the social justice and harmony. They should have the capacity to judge others and their actions as per the demands of justice not as per their social status, appearance or wealth. They need to understand what the basic rights of the human beings are and must strive to take care of them. Moreover, they must analyse the social and political decisions in the society on the basis of justice, not on the basis of ethno-centric biases.
Today, in our society there are evils like poverty, racism, discrimination, sexism and some others; they all play their different roles in making human societies suffer. It is important for an individual to know them, accept them as issues and strive to oppose them in certain ways. It is definitely easier to live a lonely life and always be confined to one’s comfort zone. However, it is really important for socio-politically conscious individuals to come out of their comfort zone and be counted within the social life. It is also important that an individual should be the part of diversity, and must strive to intermingle with others so as to learn from them. It will also develop a sense of tolerance for others and supports in maintaining harmony.
It is habitual among Marxists to make a distinction between consciousness which reflects or corresponds to reality and one which does not, termed an ideology, seen therefore as a false consciousness. In other words, it is argued that humankind hides reality from itself. However, it takes a class form, in that the dominant ideology is that of the ruling class, which does not want to understand the real relationships in society, as opposed to manipulating them in its own interest. Class consciousness for the working class is therefore the real understanding of its position as the class which supplies the necessary and surplus labour in the society. It therefore leads to its comprehension of its position as the universal class that is in capitalism but not of capitalism and so the emancipator of all society.
Ours is a revolutionary Alliance which is a biological expression of the interconnection between national liberation and class struggle in South Africa. It is not a loose coalition of political formations which could freely and easily walk away from each other on the basis of disagreements or pressures, both internally or externally. The formations share a history and tradition of militant struggles, membership and profound strategic perspectives about the National Democratic Revolution.
Those who have been at the forefront of the failed agenda to divide COSATU were and are still working with external forces and internal sympathisers, with the full understanding that a weakened COSATU translates to a weakened SACP and ANC, and therefore a weakened Alliance, therefore resulting in the discontinuation of the NDR. Our Alliance remains the only vehicle capable of bringing about essential transformation in South Africa.
Thirty-one (31) years ago ANC President Oliver Tambo had this to say during the occasion to mark the SACP’s 60th Anniversary:
“The relationship between the ANC and the SACP is not an accident of history, nor is it a natural and inevitable development. For, as we can see, similar relationships have not emerged in the course of liberation struggles in other parts of Africa… Ours is not merely a paper Alliance, created at conference tables and formalised through the signing of documents and representing only an agreement of leaders. Our Alliance is a living organism that has grown out of struggle. We have built it out of our separate and common experiences“.
It is very important to remember that being part of the Alliance, it is our responsibility to protect, defend and deepen the unity of this Alliance as working class formations. The greater portion of this responsibility and our revolutionary obligation is that we must never opt to step aside and behave as if we are outside our Alliance and the revolution, and have the luxury to lament or criticise as outsiders. To pick to act as if we are outside the Alliance when things get tough, and to seek to prioritise media recognition is nothing but rank shadiness. Such kind of behaviour does not belong to the ranks of the working class. All progressive formations should do everything in their capacity to foster unity within the Alliance. We must all be committed to the struggle for working class unity which must encompass respect for a diversity of opinions amongst the organised working class and the popular masses. Yet, where there are wrongs done, they should equally be confronted; otherwise our unity will automatically dismantle itself.
Recent racist rows validating themselves on social media platforms, and most recently, in a more physical nature as has been demonstrated by some unjust attacks, the fights observed in certain institutions of higher learning are all remnants of a much avoided challenge of the socio-economic conditions faced by a majority of black South Africans, expressing itself in a manner that is vulnerable to manipulation by some anarchists within organs such as the EFF, and devoid of any progressive solutions. Among these challenges faced by youth are genuine issues, and a platform must always be available to remedy these, but the anarchist tendencies that have evolved from these cannot be tolerated.
We equally need to dispel the myth that the DA is an organization aimed at serving the interests of all South Africans, regardless of colour.
It has been exposed in broad daylight as an organ adapting to the changed political climate, therefore manipulating the black vote while hell-bent on defending white privilege which continues to perpetrate racism and economic inequalities. The cooption of a black section into this organ does not in any way shift its economic outlook for society.
Most revealing to this reality is that the realization of possibly preserving these privileges had to come with compromises which, among others, the organization, while entrenched in defending these privileges, had to front with sections of the black middle class who identify with their policies for the purpose of luring a black vote.
The reality is that the DA will permanently remain incapable of representing or advancing the interests and aspirations of black people if it does not delink itself from its historical mission, and that cannot only be done through name changes, but only through changing their liberal policies towards attaining realistic objectives that are aimed at nation-building.
In dealing with these seldom hidden, seldom open racist connotations which advance white supremacy and the economic subjugation of blacks, the simple approach Mr. Maimane takes, that of dismissing racism as though it is a separate entity from the integral course of the DA, would not yield any positive results in the long term. It is then clear that he equally appreciates the extent and impact to which coming all out against this ill will do in the midst of him trying to nurse the interests of those who subscribe to racism as a tool for black subjugation and economic marginalization.
We want to make a humble plea to all revolutionaries within the Alliance and our progressive youth structures;we have no opposition but ourselves. The only opposition that exists is within ourselves as we have been preoccupied by infightings, factionalism, regionalism and tribalism. We need to frankly address and deal with this challenge speedily. Our internal infightings have divided communities and turned comrades against each other at the benefit of organizations that would not otherwise have been in existence. Out unity is of paramount importance in reclaiming our communities and providing leadership. Let us all go out in our numbers and share with our people the many positive changes the ANC-led government has brought about, and assure them that even though there are outstanding challenges, working together will do us all a greater good.
For the past weeks, institutions of higher learning , which are mainly previously white institutions have been experiencing racial tensions among students. Students who are mainly black protested against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of learning and teaching in their Universities. Their argument is that Afrikaans in Universities is used as a tool to maintain white privilege, and institutionalized racism in the process of learning and teaching. Afrikaans is used as a tool of oppression, exclusion and preserve of the subjugation of the majority in institutions of higher learning. Students further called for the development of indigenous languages as languages that can be used for teaching and learning.
The call by students is very fundamental because it opens the debate on the language policies of institutions of higher learning that have been avoided for quite some time. It further reminds us of how institutions have been undemocratic and hiding under the cover of institutional autonomy. The movement must take this opportunity to make drastic changes in the interest of our people and in advancement of the NDR. We would like to also take this opportunity to condemn students in all possible terms for destroying property of Universities when they protest. This lumpen behavior should be dismissed at all cost. The destruction of property and fighting is counterproductive and counter revolutionary and must be stopped and called to order. You can rest assured that even Police are fully behind genuine student issues, but destruction of the very same institutions we need to transform is in fact taking our struggle for access to these opportunities aback. The PYA must provide leadership to this effect.
As we approach the local government elections, we call on all our members and their families and communities to register to vote the ANC. We must make everyone to understand that it is through voting that we are going to defend our hard earned freedoms. We are very much concerned with the plight of the many farm workers, most of whom are unorganised, who are refused to be released by their employers for registering and voting processes. We call upon the relevant union, FAWU and our federation COSATU to address their plight so that they enjoy their rights equally.
As a union, we have taken stock of changing times and observed how technology is used as a module of communication and mobilisation. More and more young people socialise through social media and develop opinions on almost everything on social networks. As progressive organisations, we need to adapt and reach out to this constituency. We must rise to the occasion and communicate our resolutions and campaigns on social media so that we are able to reach more young people and make them develop interest in the movement. However, we must warn against the use of social network to attack each other as comrades. We must further caution that while we call for the use of social network correctly so, this must not replace other modes of mobilisation that have existed over time but must instead reinforce them and ensure the movement is able to recruit young people who are becoming less political and less conscious.
Comrades, you are welcome to the 3rd POPCRU National Political School.