As a country, we have made a lot of progress since 1994, all because of the ANC-led government. None of the opposition parties would have delivered the progress.
Let me just make one example. A child from the working class or poor family gets a child support grant from birth until 18 years. That child gets free health care until the age of five and is likely to go to a no fee school. On finishing school, that child will get an NSFAS bursary to study at a university or college. On graduation, that child would likely be the first ever university or college graduate in the history of their family.
In addition, there has been a massive rollout of electricity and water, benefitting many of our working-class and poor communities. These achievements are no mean feat and cannot be taken away. It is at least for the massive progress that millions of our people realised since our hard-won democratic breakthrough in 1994 that the SACP calls for the workers and poor of our country to vote for the ANC on 1 November 2021.
This year the SACP is celebrating 100 years of its founding. There can be no better centenary present than a decisive local government electoral victory by an ANC committed to clean governance and improved quality and delivery of services to our people. Ours is 100-years of a principled struggle by the SACP for national liberation, women’s emancipation, and socialism—the struggle that has contributed immensely to the advances made by the ANC-led government.
However, a lot more still needs to be done. As the SACP, we are aware that the ANC was the first to concede (besides the bigger picture of structural and systemic economic constraints and limitations imposed by the legacy of past imbalances) that in some instances its internal weaknesses partly contributed negatively to the provision of government services. But we are pleased that the ANC is committing itself to deal with these weaknesses and challenges. The SACP calls for a vote for the ANC precisely because the ANC is admitting to its own mistakes and internal weaknesses and wants to address them. These include the problems of factionalism, corrupting of the ANC candidate selection processes and gatekeeping, including the marginalisation of the Alliance. Working together with the workers and poor of our country, we firmly believe that these weaknesses can be corrected.
Why do we say we believe the ANC can correct its mistakes? The ANC is the only political party contesting these local government elections that has subjected their nominated candidates to endorsement or rejection by communities in community meetings, for instance. None of the opposition parties have had the courage to do so. Instead, they are putting forward candidates without community involvement. It was the SACP that had been in the forefront calling for the nomination of councillor candidates within the movement to be extended, to go beyond the internal structures of the ANC, to encompass meaningful involvement and consultation with Alliance formations, and above all, to give communities a say. We welcome the positive response showed by the ANC in the process it followed this year to select councillor candidates. This is a promising indicator of organisational renewal.
On behalf of the SACP, I want to reiterate here today that we are strongly opposed to the manipulation of electoral lists. We wholeheartedly support the decision, taken by the ANC, to investigate the allegations that instances where such manipulation could have taken place will be investigated and dealt with. As the SACP, we will also not tolerate corrupt practices and councillors who do not hold regular meetings with their communities.
We support the ANC, and the following are some priorities we would like to see implemented:
1. A rapid expansion of public employment programmes, rolled out by local government working in collaboration with other levels of government. There are many South Africans who wish to work and there are many things that need to be done in our communities—cleaning our townships and villages; early childhood facilities; expanded public works programmes; digital infrastructure for connectivity, etc. These can also go a long way in tackling the high levels of youth unemployment.
2. We want to see work and projects being set aside for co-operatives and small enterprises. Municipalities have an important role towards the set-a-asides we have long committed ourselves to.
3. We welcome the ANC’s commitment to scale up investment into infrastructure, focusing particularly on township and village infrastructure to ensure the provision of reliable water, electricity supply and other services that our people need. Many of our communities are indeed still in need of bulk infrastructure, such as renewable and cleaner energy, with a well-governed Eskom playing a leading role.
4. We would like to see the continued strengthening of the district development model to drive transformation and local economic development
5. We would like to see the role of women and incorporation of gender equality into the developmental programmes at local government level, beyond just women quotas, to advance towards a completely non-sexist society.
6. Racial and class inequality persists in South Africa. This is reflected in income and wealth inequality, in the legacy and geography of uneven development, and in unequal access to opportunities and resources. We want to see greater progress towards eliminating the persisting legacy of past racial imbalances and advancing towards a completely non-racial and just society, in class terms.
7. Improve working together of a reconfigured Alliance, especially at branch and district levels, in order to unite our forces to drive the national democratic revolution in the locality.
For us as the SACP, the forthcoming local government elections require a powerful push to Put People Before Profit—which is our centenary theme.
Let us go all out to build a better life for all.
Let us vote for the ANC on 1 November 2021.
Our Red Brigades are already on the ground campaigning for an ANC electoral victory!