Misses the point
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