SACP must brush up on its relevance
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By Yonela Mlambo
For an organisation to reach a centenary is a great milestone, especially for a political party.
This is because in a political party there is a contestation of power that has the potential to destabilise the party. Nonetheless, for a political party to reach a centenary is a huge celebration as that symbolises that it was able to entrench intra-party democratic principles, maintain unity, and be able and efficient to manage factions.
This year the SACP will be celebrating its centenary.
Nonetheless, it is important to appraise the SACP’s influence and relevance in South African politics post-apartheid.
Post-apartheid, the SACP remained less significant and irrelevant in South African politics and remained under the ANC shadow with no influence in South African politics.There are no Joe Slovos who can produce a National Democratic Revolution or Sunset Clause, nor Chris Hanis in the SACP that could influence the policy direction that the South African government should take in comprehending South African history.However, there are power-mongers who have consolidated their factions and have no intellectual contribution to the public discourse.
For instance, SACP secretary general and Minister of Higher Education and Science Blade Nzimande’s public articulations last year about certain disciples in lieu of prioritising poor students’ welfare.
It is important to highlight that poor students in South Africa are predominantly black.
One would have expected that the SACP secretary general would be cognisant of the fact that the phenomenon of homes is not the same for all students in South Africa, especially for black African students, and that South African social engineering has not significantly changed post-apartheid, and therefore would have not made such public articulations.
This is the very same minister who in 2015 publicly denounced poor students’ clarion call for free, decolonised education.
Post-apartheid, the SACP did not have sound intellectual contributions to South African public discourse and policy direction.
It has made too much factional noise and populist noise with its tripartite partner, Cosatu, rejecting the Growth, Employment and Redistribution Programme, yet bringing nothing to the fore.
To expect the SACP to be relevant and significant in South African politics is an implausible expectation given that its ideological outlook is aloof to South African society.
In whose memory – whose history? The illusion of liberal and radical historical debates – Bernard Mkhosezwe Magubane alluded to neo-Marxist limitations in comprehending South African history.
The neo-Marxist, Magubane argued, foreclosed race and racism in their study of South African history.
It is imperative to highlight that Neo-Marxist ideological adherence is the broader Marxist theory of which is the SACP ideology.
Therefore, for a political party with the ideology that is aloof to South African society, it would be impossible for it to be relevant and significant to the country’s politics – and that is manifested by the SACP Colonialism of Special Type notion, thus its secretary general continues to make articulations that contradict South African reality.
One would have expected the SACP to offer ideological clarification on the notion of white monopoly capital, but it was found wanting and at pains to secure itself a functional space within the governing party.
The SACP will remain irrelevant and insignificant in South African politics for its second centenary if it still exists, and the SACP is cognisant of its irrelevance and insignificance in South African politics; thus it is not embracing the idea of contesting elections without the tripartite alliance.
* Mlambo is a Bachelor of Social Science Honours degree candidate at UCT.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.