Misses the point

CityPress - - Voices - Mh­langa Tom Braam­fontein, Gaut­eng

One-time Cab­i­net min­is­ter Trevor Manuel has joined the de­bate on the rel­e­vance of the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) in the cur­rent junc­ture. In his opin­ion piece, “Blur­ring of the blur” (City Press, July 12 2015), Manuel ar­gues that the SACP is no longer rel­e­vant and ques­tions the party’s le­git­i­macy.

There are very im­por­tant points to con­sider to un­der­stand the ori­gins of Manuel’s views.

Firstly, Manuel was fi­nance min­is­ter when the SACP – un­der the lead­er­ship of Blade Nz­i­mande – and labour fed­er­a­tion Cosatu waged a bit­ter fight against what was un­der­stood as the 1996 class pro­ject.

Was Manuel one of the driv­ers of this pro­ject?

Se­condly, while he was min­is­ter in the pres­i­dency, Manuel was at the fore­front of the com­mis­sion on the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan (NDP), which some view as a ne­olib­eral pol­icy.

The con­clu­sion is that Manuel is a lib­eral. There is noth­ing wrong with that. There­fore, it is not sur­pris­ing that he crit­i­cises the party.

We live in a plu­ral so­ci­ety and Manuel’s views are pro­tected by our demo­cratic Con­sti­tu­tion.

But he must be re­minded that the SACP is the most sta­ble and ide­o­log­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion of all po­lit­i­cal par­ties in South Africa.

The growth of the party is a clear in­di­ca­tion that peo­ple take the SACP se­ri­ously – and are will­ing to ac­cept that cap­i­tal­ism has failed the poor of this coun­try. The ar­gu­ment that the SACP, as a vanguard of the work­ing class and the poor, is small and should there­fore con­test the elec­tion on its own is nei­ther here nor there. How can one ar­gue that a small party should wish to con­test elec­tions? This is in­tel­lec­tual lazi­ness.

If Manuel is ob­sessed with the SACP, he must start by un­der­stand­ing it – and not make ac­cu­sa­tions and air ill-in­formed views. The SACP has, over the past years, grown big­ger and

stronger.

Trevor Manuel

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