Cape Town 101102.Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande at a media briefing held at Parliament. PHOTO SAM CLARk, CA, Ilse Fredricks

Johannesburg - SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande has suggested the government build low-cost housing near expensive houses in suburbs to encourage social cohesion.

He said the government should stop the apartheid human settlement by building RDP houses far away from workplaces.

“In the suburbs we must have expensive houses and low-income houses,” said Nzimande.

“In many parts of the world, that’s what is happening. Those who are rich and are afraid of the poor and the low-cost housing, let them just try it. They will realise that they are much safer when they are among the poor than when they are isolated on their own,” said Nzimande.

He delivered a keynote address at the SACP’s 93rd anniversary in Polokwane on Sunday.

Nzimande praised the ANC-led government, saying it had built millions of houses in two decades.

“The Cubans are saying to us ‘tell us one country in the world that has built 3 million houses in 20 years’, there is none, only us,” said Nzimande.

He also rebuffed calls to privatise state-owned power utility Eskom.

“We said the 1996 class project wanted to privatise all state-owned enterprises. So Eskom was never recapitalised. As a result, Eskom has been going down.”

He accused DA MPs calling for the privatisation of Eskom of repositioning themselves to do private business with the power utility.

“We must not allow those vultures to (destroy) Eskom.”

Nzimande added that President Jacob Zuma’s administration had surpassed all previous administrations in infrastructure investment.

“Between 2009 and 2014, this government has invested R1 trillion in infrastructure,” said Nzimande, who is minister of higher education.

He said the SACP was a growing party. “With over 191 000 members, we are larger than ever before.

“We are more influential than in any other time in our history. We remain united, a disciplined and principled vanguard party, a consistent and reliable ally of our strategic partners.”

In what could be construed as a jibe against EFF leader Julius Malema, who bestowed upon himself the title commander-in-chief, Nzimande said a similar title was given to Nelson Mandela.

“When we say Nelson Mandela was the first commander-in-chief of MK (Umkhonto weSizwe)… (the title) was not awarded to him like a tender,” said Nzimande.

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