051 06/01/2012Colorful granny wearing Madiba dress as SACP Commemorates the life and times of Cde Joe Slovo who held several leadership positions in the SACP, ANC and uMkhonto we Sizwe. The celebration was held at Heroes Acre, Avalon Cemetery, Soweto. Were the keynote speaker was first Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Cronin.Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Johannesburg - The lessons Joe Slovo taught two decades ago are still relevant, says Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Vavi was speaking at the 18th anniversary of SACP leader Slovo’s death. Vavi called Slovo a “towering intellectual and an outstanding communist”.

“Joe Slovo’s life also taught our generation the real meaning of the main principle of our movement, which is selflessness,” said Vavi.

Slovo was the first housing minister after the 1994 general election.

Vavi said Slovo’s pamphlet “Has socialism failed?” had become a source of intellectual reflection for communists around the world and was still relevant today.

“In our view, the SACP, together with the rest of the democratic movement, must run political schools on the ‘Has socialism failed?’ pamphlet. We believe many challenges and weaknesses he pointed out remain relevant, not only, as we have said, to the distortions of socialism, but also in the distortion of the national democratic revolution itself,” said Vavi.

He said Slovo had defended socialism by arguing that the ideology should not be disowned because of mistakes by the leadership.

Vavi called for a workers’ charter to deal with workers’ interests.

“We must build thousands more Slovos who will not just mouth the principle of selflessness but will practise it daily in their political work.”

The Star