Picture: @SACP1921

Johannesburg - SA Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande on Tuesday, lambasted the monopolisation of certain sectors of the economy, especially the financial sector and the media, saying that his party may be forced to call on the country's competition authorities to investigate the dominance of some companies.

Nzimande said this was a call which had been made by the SACP, even back in 2012, in a bid to transform the economy.

"While we now have a much more activist Competition Commission, the challenge of de-monopolisation still looms large," Nzimande said. 

"For instance whilst our financial sector campaign had notched some important victories over the last decade or so, these were largely consumer type victories (for example, the Mzansi account, regulation of the credit bureaus, etc) and did not in any significant way touch the core systemic structures of the banking and the financial architecture in our country."

Nzimande was delivering the SACP political report at the party's 14th congress in Ekurhuleni. He also took aim at the media, citing the country's only pay TV company.

"Over the last five years the SACP also launched a campaign to focus on the de-monopolisation of the media space, especially the over-arching dominance of Naspers. This campaign has not yielded the results we need as yet, though it has helped to identify and mobilise potential allies in this regard," Nzimande said. 

"It is for instance unacceptable that pay TV in our country is dominated by one single monopoly, MultiChoice. It is going to be important that we call on the Competition Commission to investigate monopoly in the pay TV industry, as part of taking our campaign to higher levels."

Nzimande also took aim at other sectors in the economy, such as the commercial sector, saying that they were facing a huge job loss bloodbath impacted by the increase in online shopping that was further replacing demands for local goods. 

"Cosatu affiliate, SACCAWU [South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union], has for instance informed the SACP that about 90 percent of furniture sold in South Africa is now sourced from outside the country," Nzimande said.

"The big warehouses that are mushrooming in our major cities are a reflection of the fact that the world is fast becoming one global shopping centre."

Though he applauded investment into economic and social infrastructure by government and how that had boosted real GDP by 2.2 percent by 2016, Nzimande said the party needed to be a critical part of its understanding of why State Capture was so perilous in reversing these gains, especially in State-owned enterprises (SOEs).

"There are already many clear and deeply concerning indications of the impact of parasitic corporate capture of key SOEs. 

"These are SOEs that have been central to driving our major public-sector led infrastructure build programme. There are now signs that the infrastructure build pipe-line in energy, transport, and water is slowing down as a result of parasitic plundering."

The SACP congress will be addressed by the deputy president of the African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa, on Wednesday.