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Issue #1556      18 July 2012

SACP congress gets under way

The 13th congress of the South African Communist Party (SACP) opened to singing and dancing by more than 2,000 delegates in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal last week.

The size of the event reflects the growth in SACP membership from 51,000 at its previous congress in 2007 to 161,000 today.

Chairman Gwede Mantashe said the presence of leading communists in the country’s African National Congress (ANC) government and trade union federation COSATU meant they were well placed to identify and help resolve conflicts. But he urged delegates to play an even more active role at all levels of the ANC and COSATU.

“A good communist works hard to strengthen the mass movements, respects the decisions of organisations in which they work and strives for principled unity rather than becoming a source of division,” he said.

He contrasted this approach to those driven by careerism, corruption and self-enrichment, warning that “nobody with their hands in the till can be regarded as a communist.”

In his address, Mr Mantashe also confirmed that he will be standing down as SACP chairman in order to concentrate on his post of ANC secretary-general.

“It is not an ideological decision,” he made clear, “but a practical one of trying to do two vital jobs at the same time.”

Guest speakers will include the country’s President Jacob Zuma, COSATU secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi and representatives from the communist and national liberation movements of 25 countries.

Morning Star  

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