SACP’s MONEY LAID BARE

CityPress - - Front Page - PO­LIT­I­CAL RE­PORTERS politics@city­press.co.za

The SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) has, over the past five years, spent seven times more on se­cu­rity for its lead­ers across the coun­try. The party’s fi­nan­cial re­port, which City Press has seen, shows that just less than R2 mil­lion was spent on pro­tect­ing the party’s top brass in the year that ended in De­cem­ber. This com­pared with its last elec­tive con­fer­ence in 2012, when the party spent only R270 000 pro­tect­ing its lead­ers.

The fig­ure is as­tound­ing, given that the SACP has, over the course of time, found it­self in fi­nan­cial dis­tress and liv­ing off do­na­tions from sym­pa­thetic af­fil­i­ates of labour fed­er­a­tion Cosatu. While its mem­ber­ship has grown over the past five years, the re­port shows that it is still fail­ing to at­tract pro­fes­sion­als to its ranks and that cur­rent mem­bers are not con­tribut­ing to the party’s cof­fers.

In the re­cent past, the party’s bosses have come un­der fire, with some hav­ing even re­ceived death threats, as part of ex­ist­ing ten­sions with its al­liance part­ners, the ANC and Cosatu.

This has forced the SACP to re­peat­edly beef up se­cu­rity for its se­nior lead­ers, in­clud­ing its vo­cal first deputy gen­eral secretary Solly Ma­paila, who has sur­vived hi­jack­ings and be­ing shot at.

Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters leader Julius Malema also re­cently warned Ma­paila to watch his back as a re­sult of his con­stant crit­i­cism of Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and his links with the Gupta fam­ily.

At the com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony of slain SACP leader Chris Hani in April, Zuma de­liv­ered a speech and left. As Ma­paila was tak­ing to the stage, an as­sailant was seen on video footage pulling out a gun, and then putting it back in his jacket.

SACP trea­surer Joyce Moloi-Moropa re­ceived death threats from un­known peo­ple while she chaired the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on communications in Par­lia­ment in 2015. These al­legedly in­cluded at­tempts to force her off the road.

Moloi-Moropa, to­gether with SACP boss Blade Nz­i­mande, claimed in 2015 that they were “in dan­ger for crit­i­cis­ing the deal be­tween the SABC and Mul­tiChoice”.

Moloi-Moropa quit her job in Par­lia­ment last year and re­turned to the SACP’s head­quar­ters.

In 2015, City Press ob­tained a let­ter of res­ig­na­tion she had writ­ten to ANC secretary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe, re­quest­ing to be re­lieved of her du­ties and cit­ing her frus­tra­tion at be­ing forced to take po­si­tions and pur­sue poli­cies that were dif­fer­ent from those of the gov­ern­ing party.

The SACP made it known last year that it was un­der siege, claim­ing its lead­ers were be­ing fol­lowed and their phones bugged by peo­ple who Nz­i­mande re­ferred to as “par­a­sites” try­ing to paral­yse the ANC and its al­liance part­ners.

In a re­cent in­ter­view with City Press, Nz­i­mande said there was “no doubt that the se­cu­rity of the party lead­er­ship as a whole is un­der threat”.

How­ever, he said death threats against any of them would not de­ter them from fight­ing against monopoly cap­i­tal and “el­e­ments that are loot­ing the state and weak­en­ing our ca­pac­ity to deal with monopoly cap­i­tal”.

So wor­ried is the SACP that it even pro­vides pro­tec­tion for Young Com­mu­nist League na­tional secretary Mluleki Dle­langa and some pro­vin­cial lead­ers.

With mount­ing strain on its fi­nances, the SACP says it plans to in­crease its cash re­serves by es­tab­lish­ing an en­dow­ment fund into which mem­bers, al­liance part­ners and other in­ter­ested donors can make char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions.

The party’s Cen­tral Com­mit­tee mem­bers will be forced to con­trib­ute an amount of R100 monthly to­wards the fund.

“A clear cam­paign has to be run for the en­dow­ment fund whereby all mem­bers make an an­nual once-off con­tri­bu­tion and in­vite unions and al­liance part­ners to con­trib­ute at least R100 000,” reads the re­port.

“The fund will be­come a per­ma­nent en­dow­ment of fi­nan­cial sup­port and a liv­ing memo­rial.”

The fund will not be touched un­til it hits the R100 mil­lion mark.

The party also wants to part­ner with in­ter­ested or­gan­i­sa­tions – in­clud­ing civil so­ci­ety, think-tanks and co­op­er­a­tives – to in­crease fund­ing con­tri­bu­tions.

The party’s mem­ber­ship fig­ures show that it in­creased its sup­port from 154 000 in 2012 to

284 554 at its congress last week. While this growth is good for the party, which has strong links to the working class, the re­port shows that its pro­fes­sional mem­ber­ship cur­rently stands at just 30 758 – of which only 2 383 mem­bers con­trib­ute more than R100 monthly to the party’s cof­fers.

In its 2012 fi­nan­cials, the SACP in­di­cated that it only re­ceived R24 000 in mem­ber­ship fees. No fig­ure is given for the amount that mem­bers con­trib­uted to the party in 2016, but the com­mu­nists gen­er­ated rev­enue of R36.5 mil­lion.

Of the money raised, R35 mil­lion was spent on var­i­ous pro­grammes for the year, in­clud­ing salar­ies (R18.8 mil­lion), travel and ac­com­mo­da­tion (R3.7 mil­lion), se­cu­rity (R1.98 mil­lion), stipends (R1.7 mil­lion); leas­ing and hir­ing (R1.2 mil­lion); cam­paign­ing (R758 000); and bad debt writ­ten off (R774 000).

The salary bill cov­ers staff at head of­fice. Prov­inces re­flect a R10 mil­lion in­crease from the R8 mil­lion in salar­ies the SACP paid to staff in 2011. Un­der the item of ad­min­is­tra­tion, the re­port notes that the “re­mu­ner­a­tion struc­ture of the SACP has been fi­nalised and re­mu­ner­a­tion classes and levies con­cluded”.

“Man­agers have been em­ployed and placed and are cur­rently busy fi­nal­is­ing the process in their var­i­ous units/de­part­ments. The wage bill is sta­bil­is­ing and any ex­pen­di­ture around it can be ac­counted for to the last cent.”

PHOTO: TEBOGO LETSIE

UN­DER THREAT First gen­eral secretary Solly Ma­paila ad­dresses the SACP at last week’s 14th Na­tional Congress. The six-day con­fer­ence took place at the Birch­wood Ho­tel in Johannesburg

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