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Communist University - Political School Material

Issue 8, Vol 14: 11 July 2017

In this issue:


Viewpoint by Mluleki DlelangaThe eight of the eight on the eight Motion of No Convidence against President Zuma

By Mluleki Dlelanga

On the 08 of August 2017, a debate on the motion of no confidence on the President of the Republic since the 1994 breakthrough was debated and later a vote took place through a secret ballot. This was the eight vote of no confidence coincidental on the 08 August 2017 and the eight motion of no confidence that was decided through a secret ballot. The secret ballot was a result of the court ultimately the Speaker of the National Assembly who announced her decision that after a careful consideration that this eight motion of no confidence will be decided through a secret ballot. This was a decision that was welcomed by the opposition parties with different semantics.

Let me start by borrowing from the English dictionary not a Marxist-Leninist perspective the meaning of the vote of no confidence. A motion of no confidence alternatively no-confidence motion, is a statement or vote which states that a person(s) in a position of responsibility (government, managerial, etc.) is no longer deemed fit to hold that position: perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel are detrimental. As a parliamentary motion, it demonstrates to the Head of State that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in (one or more members of) the appointed government.

The motion of no confidence is closely tied to the notion of collective cabinet responsibility; government collectively and ministers individually are answerable to Parliament. An attack on one minister on a matter of policy is an attack on the government as a whole. In the British conventions and precedents there is some flexibility over what is regarded as a major test of confidence. The budget vote is the major test of confidence. Where the Government loses a vote of no confidence, the Prime Minister may resign or dissolve Parliament and call an election.

The dissolution of a legislature is not a necessary consequence of a successful motion of no confidence. In a number of constitutions, a motion of no confidence leads only to the creation of a new government which has the confidence of the legislature. In such a case, the legislature serves a fixed term. It may be asked why a government should be able to dissolve a legislature which has lost confidence in it. There appears to be no easy answer. A political mandate theory may prove to be inconclusive. If the government, drawn from the majority party, was elected on the basis of a particular policy, and the majority in the legislature has shifted in policy resulting in the motion of no confidence, then the government may argue that it wants to renew its mandate from the people. The converse is, however, equally feasible. The majority in the legislature has remained true to the original mandate of the people and the government has moved away from that policy. In such a case, there is no argument for the dissolution of the legislature. Furthermore, the mandate theory is not applicable where the motion of no confidence is not based on policy differences but on mismanagement, corruption or abuse of power. The most compelling argument for the dissolution of the legislature is that the legislature itself deadlocks; a new government cannot be formed. In most parliamentary constitutions the legislature has the power to dissolve itself.

A censure motion is different from a no-confidence motion. Depending on the constitution of the body concerned, "No Confidence" may lead to compulsory resignation of the council of ministers or other position-holder(s), whereas "Censure" is meant to show disapproval and does not result in the resignation of ministers. The censure motion can be against an individual minister or a group of ministers, but the no-confidence motion is directed against the entire cabinet. Again, depending on the applicable rules, censure motions may need to state the reasons for the motion while no-confidence motions may not require reasons to be specified


Although the national executive is based on a system of parliamentary government, the Office of the President in South Africa differs slightly from those found in other systems of parliamentary government and especially from the British (Westminster) parliamentary system. In the British parliamentary system a distinction is drawn between the Office of the Head of State and the Office of the Head of Government, and each of these offices is occupied by a different person. The Office of the Head of State is occupied by the Queen, and the Office of the Head of Government is occupied by the Prime Minister. As the Head of State, the Queen plays a largely ceremonial role and does not enjoy substantive political power. As the Head of Government, the Prime Minister is responsible for the day-to-day government of the country and enjoys substantive political power. In other words, the Prime Minister is the real ruler of the United Kingdom.

In South Africa a distinction is also drawn between the Head of State and the Head of Government. Section 83 of the Constitution thus provides that ‘The President 83. The President- (a) is the Head of State and head of the national executive; (b) must uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic; and (c) promotes the unity of the nation and that which will advance the Republic.

Unlike the approach adopted in the United Kingdom, however, in South Africa both of these offices are occupied by the same person, namely, the President. Given that the President is both the Head of State and Head of the National Executive, South Africa is usually said to have an executive President.

Apart from the fact the Office of Head of State and the Office of the Head of the National Executive are occupied by the same person, the Office of the President also differs from the British system in two other respects:

  1. Unlike the British Prime Minister, the South African President is elected by the National Assembly and not appointed by the Head of State (because there is no separate Head of State as per section 86.
  2. Unlike the British Prime Minister, the South African President ceases to be a member of the National Assembly after he or she has been elected as per section 87.

Given these differences, South Africa is said to have an ‘extra-parliamentary president'. The purpose of this system is to promote the separation of powers and to free the President from the demands of participating in the activities of the National Assembly.

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa on chapter 5 speaks of the President and National Executive. For the sake of not explaining the obvious let me explain the obvious that assist or explain the topic in hand for obvious reasons.

  • Removal of President 89. (1) The National Assembly, by a resolution adopted with a supporting vote of at least two thirds of its members, may remove the President from office only on the grounds of- (a) a serious violation of the Constitution or the law; (b) serious misconduct; or (c) inability to perform the functions of office. (2) Anyone who has been removed from the office of President in terms of subsection (1) (a) or (b) may not receive any benefits of that office, and may not serve in any public office.
  • Motions of no confidence 102. (1) If the National Assembly, by a vote supported by a majority of its members, passes a motion of no confidence in the Cabinet excluding the President, the President must reconstitute the Cabinet. (2) If the National Assembly, by a vote supported by a majority of its members, passes a motion of no confidence in the President, the President and the other members of the Cabinet and any Deputy Ministers must resign.


History shows that in some countries Prime Ministers and President were successfully removed on their positions through a motion of no confidence. These countries include the likes of Austria, Bulgaria , Canada, Croatia , Nepal , Netherlands , New Zealand, Niger , Norway, Poland, Portugal , Romania, Slovakia, Somalia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France , Germany , Greece, Haiti , Hungary, India , Ireland , Israel , Italy , Japan, Kosovo, Libya, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia , Sweden , Turkey , Ukraine , United Kingdom and Yugoslavia.

Let me briefly take a Prime Minister and the President of the countries that were remove through motion of confidence and explain the reasons or circumstances that led to their removal:

  • Prime Minister Jacques-Eduard Alexis (born 21 September 1947) is a Haitian politician. He served as the Prime Minister of Haiti Prime Minister of Haiti from 1999 to 2001 and was Prime Minister for a second term from 2006 to 2008 when he was dismissed due to political fallout from food riots. Criticism of Alexis's economic policies led to a no-confidence vote in February 2008, which Alexis survived. Riots broke out in early April 2008 regarding high food prices, and Alexis announced an investment program designed to lower the cost of living. On April 10, it was announced that 16 Senators (a majority, as there are 30 seats in Haiti's Senate) had signed a letter advising Alexis to resign within two days. The letter described Alexis's proposals to resolve the economic crisis as "too little, too late" and said that "it is obvious that the majority of the people don't believe any more in the capacity of your government to take courageous measures to ease the misery that the population is facing daily. The Senate then voted unanimously to dismiss Alexis on April 12, with all of the 16 Senators present in favor. Préval said that he would consult with Parliament to choose a new Prime Minister, but he also said that Alexis had done his best and should not receive all the blame for the situation.

Presidency of the Marshall Islands

Following the parliamentary election, he was a candidate in the January 2008 Presidential election for the UPP/AKA coalition. He was elected President on 7 January 2008 by the Nitijela, receiving 18 votes over 15 for incumbent Kessai Note was sworn in, along with a cabinet composed of ten ministers, on 14 January by Carl Ingram, the Chief Justice of the High Court

His election was believed to herald a shift from the pro-Taiwan policy of Marshall Islands, possibly marking an end to Marshall Islands–Taiwan diplomatic relations. However, in office Tomeing expressed continued support for ties with Taiwan and met with the Vice-President of Taiwan, Annette Lu, when she visited the Marshall Islands on 29 January 2008. President Tomeing inaugurated a consulate in Springdale, Arkansas, on September 28, 2009. The Marshall Islands currently has embassies in Washington D.C. and New York City. However, its opening marked the first consulate in the continental United States. The Marshallese community living in the Springdale area, who originally came to work for food-processing plants in the 1970s, is the largest population outside of the Marshall Islands. Tomeing's own grandson graduated from Springdale High School in 2008.

Tomeing was removed from office by the Marshall Islands' first successful vote of no confidence on 21 October 2009. Tomeing had survived two previous votes of no confidence. The legislature, which voted 17–15 in favour of the motion, elected a new President on 23 October, Jurelang Zedkaia. The speaker, Jurelang Zedkaia, named Ruben Zackhras as the acting president in the meantime. Zackhras previously served as Tomeing's Minister in Assistance.


Let me start by what all revolutionaries will do, an analysis of the balance of force in line both before and after the voting. Let me try to make some analysis by doing calculations that Members of parliament in total are 400. The ANC has a total of 249 and the oppositions has a total of 151 , then difference is 98 meaning ANC MP's. During the vote of motion, 384 MP's voted. It means 16 MP's were not present due to various reasons which might be ii-health or overseas trip etc.

Of the 384 present MP's, the ANC had 236 of 249 present and the oppositions combined had 148 present with 3 absent. Of the present MP's during voting, the difference between the ANC (236) and the oppositions (148) was 88 MP's. The result of the secret ballot is as follows: For the motion received 177 votes and against the motion received 198 votes as well as abstentions of 09 votes which total to 384 votes. Definitely 01 abstention goes to PAC will public announced its stance and am not sure about 06 NFP MP's whether they voted or not as they seemed not certain.

This analysis take me to the following questions

  • Why is the difference in the outcomes of the vote is 21 MP's i.e. 177 for and 198 against the motion?
  • Despite the ANC having 236 MP's present, why did it only received 198 votes? Does this means ANC members did not vote along the part line?
  • If we subtract 8 abstentions excluding 01 of the PAC MP, does it means 30 ANC MP's voted for the motion?
  • If one assume that 06 NFP members voted against the motion, does it mean 36 ANC MP's voted for the motion against the President?

Whether one like it or not a clear message has been sent through a secret ballot that there are ANC MP's that are not happy about the behaviour and the conduct of the ANC President. Furthermore, the results interpretation, analysis takes us to a blame game that unfortunately it will be difficult to prove or will be viewed by some as a factional approach as the voting was through a secret ballot. This further leads to theory of speculation, as a Marxist-Leninist I had to visit Marx or Lenin on the theory of speculation and I found it interesting how Lenin eloquently characterize it as a naïve belief.

Lenin characterizes "naive belief" as "the instinctive, unconscious materialist standpoint adopted• by humanity, which regards the external world as existing independently of our minds." How shall we open a way to grasp what Lenin is designating here?

Immediately there is a difficulty: if the belief is "instinctive" and "unconscious," how can we experience it "consciously" as such? Yet this would seem what we have to do in considering it philosophically. The difficulty suggests an important distinction: in exhibiting "naive belief," we can talk as naive believers, or about them. The difference is epistemologically crucial. The sentence, "I see a table there," when, spoken from standpoint, implies "A table is there;" and that makes it pointless to ask whether a table is there. On the other hand, the sentence "I see a table there," when examined from standpoint, can be questioned in many ways, including the questioning of the implication that the table exists. Thus from standpoint , we would say that in speaking this sentence we are asserting, not questioning the existence of a table; that our experience is not of an "experience," but is rather a revelation of something there; that we are not sensing an "image" or a "sensation," but a table, etc. When assuming standpoint, we cannot take these protests' made from standpoint seriously if we are to pursue (the questions that give standpoint its significance. The tendency of these two standpoints to vitiate each other's questions and claims might be characterized in Marxist-Hegelian terms as a basic "contradiction" in the cognitive process.

Having done the interpretation and analysis of the results the results. The truth is some MP's voted against the President whether one like it or not. Even internal or structural a motion of no confident to the President was raised and discussed in the NEC meeting of the ANC. The results shows indeed that there is dissatisfaction as there is no conscious member of the ANC who can vote against the ANC President without the reasons.

The following are the scenarios possible that those comrades who are dissatisfied can explore:

  • Continue structural calling for the President to resign or to be recalled.
  • Tilt the balance of forces on their favour to win the congress in December and later recall the President.
  • Just reign as Members of Parliament as guided by their consciousness.

The above listed scenarios can be added or expanded depending on the current situation and the planning process that comrades might purse through applying their strategy and tactics.

I know for sure fake lists and speculations are making rounds but indeed it will be difficult to identify and prove but since the ANC declared 2017 as a year of O.R Tambo the wise words of O.R.Tambo are very important to be applied as part of doing self-introspection and unifying the movement. O.R. Tambo warns us that "Wage a relentless war against disputers and defend the ANC against provocateurs and enemy agents. Defend the revolution against enemy propaganda, whatever form it takes. Be vigilant comrades. The enemy is vigilant. Beware of the wedge-driver , the man who creeps from ear to ear , carrying a bag full of wedges, driving them in between you and the next man, between a group and another a man who goes round creating splits and divisions. Beware of the wedge-driver, comrades. Watch his poisonous tongue"

Cde Mluleki Dlelanga is the National Secretary of YCLSA


Viewpoint by OJ FourieThe Greatest Leader - OR Tambo

The mentioning of the name OR Tambo immediately invokes admiration, respect and love by any supporter of freedom and human rights worldwide.

OR would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year if he was still with us.

OR died in 1993 and therefore unfortunately, he did not live to cast his vote for a free and democratic South Africa for which he fought so hard and sacrificed his life for.

Presidential Years

OR served as President of the ANC from 1967 to 1991, serving for 24 years, making him the longest serving President.

Of the 12 Presidents that the ANC had including the current President - 10 served for a period of 10 years or less. Only 2 Presidents served for a period longer than 10 years. The President that served for the 2nd longest period was Chief Albert Luthuli who served for 15 years as President until his death in 1967 when OR Tambo took over from him as President.

Another important aspect of the 24 presidential years of OR Tambo is that 23 of them were during the 30 years (1960 - 1990) that the ANC was banned by the apartheid government.  

In the context of 105 years of the existence of the ANC, one can reasonably say that the 30 years of being banned was the most difficult time in the history of the ANC. Most leaders were operating underground in SA and others went into exile to different countries. This obviously made it very difficult to run an organisation. Yes surely the ANC had challenges pre-1960 and post-1990. But I believe that OR Tambo was the ANC President during its most difficult period.

What is noteworthy of OR Tambo's leadership is that the ANC survived those difficult times and not just survived - the ANC achieved its objective to ensure that South Africa belongs to us all, irrespective of your race, culture or language. And OR Tambo also handed over a strong ANC to Nelson Mandela when he stepped down as President.

The values of OR Tambo that made him one of the best leaders the country ever had were: unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work, promoting internal debates, giving constructive criticism and accepting self-criticism, leading by example and earning respect. These values encapsulated who OR Tambo was and what he stood for.

There are valuable lessons that we can learn from the values of OR Tambo that made him such a great leader. Especially lessons that today's leaders can learn.

Firstly: A leader must lead its members by example.

OR Tambo himself personified what the ANC stood for and what the ANC intended to achieve. He also sacrificed his own luxuries to leave his home, family and career when he went to live in exile. OR Tambo put the interests of the organisation first, before personal interests and he did so by leading by example.

In 1967, after the death of the then ANC President, Chief Albert Luthuli, OR Tambo became Acting President. It is interesting to note that during the Morogoro Conference (1969) OR Tambo actually stepped down as Acting President when he submitted his resignation. But he was elected as President and he remained President for another 22 years. This is testimony of the good leader that OR Tambo was. The people noted that he was the right man to lead them through that difficult period in history.

The main aspect to note then is that, for OR Tambo, it was not about him in the context of the individual or the leader, it was about the organisation and the people. And this is an example for us to follow because he practiced selflessness, by actively serving not his own interests but serving the interests of the organisation and the people.

We must ask ourselves the following: If all current members of the ANC act in the same manner as today's leadership collective (therefore if we follow their example) - what type of ANC will we have? 

Today's leaders must live their lives and conduct themselves in such a way that members can indeed emulate them. And in doing so it will lead to a stronger ANC.

Secondly: A leader must ensure the unity of the organisation which you are leading.

OR Tambo set a perfect example to the leadership of today of the important role that leaders must play in building the unity of the ANC, the Alliance and within the country.

OR Tambo said in 1991 in Durban: "I have devotedly watched over the organisation all these years. I now hand it back to you, bigger, stronger, in tact. Guard our precious Movement."

That is the enormous task that leaders are given by OR Tambo. "GUARD OUR PRECIOUS MOVEMENT!" This one sentence of OR Tambo carries a lot of weight and a lot of responsibility.

It is first and foremost the responsibility of a leader to ensure that you unite the people whom you are leading. And in doing so you are uniting and strengthening the organisation that you are leading.

Therefore in order to guard the organisation you must build unity within the organisation.

OR Tambo developed a culture of consensus in taking decisions - which was essential in protecting the unity within the ANC.

Today it seems that decisions are made on the basis of which faction it will benefit (will it benefit my faction?); and not taking decisions on the basis that it will benefit the ANC and thereby enhancing unity.

It is just as important to enhance the unity within the Alliance. The ANC is the leader of the Alliance and therefore the ANC has the responsibility to unite the Alliance. OR Tambo was completely aware of this responsibility when he was the President of the ANC.
OR defined the Alliance as follows:

"Ours is not a paper alliance, created at conference tables and formalised through the signing of documents and representing only an agreement of leaders. Our alliance is a living organism that has grown out of the struggle. We have built it out of our separate and common has been fertilised by the blood of countless heroes; many of them unnamed and unsung. It has been reinforced by a common determination to destroy the enemy and by our shared belief in the certainty of Victory and this is not a congress alliance."

He understood the Alliance and the broader congress movement, and understood its importance and how to enhance and enrich it to be more united and more empowered.

OR Tambo had the revolutionary intelligence to understand the relationship between the ANC and the SACP, and the important role that the SACP was playing in the struggle for our liberation.

But (very importantly) he also understood the role played by individual communists within the ANC.

That is the reason why he earned the highest respect of all the Alliance partners and broader congress movement. The future of the country rests on the healthy relationship and cooperation within the Alliance.

OR Tambo also had a vision to unite the country as a whole.

OR Tambo said: "It is our responsibility to break down barriers of division and create a country where there will be neither Whites nor Blacks, just South Africans, free and united in diversity."

OR Tambo's ultimate vision was not just to ensure that the ANC can become one day a ruling party of the country. But, his vision was to see a united and democratic South Africa!

If we look at the behaviour of some of our leaders and we listen to their utterances in public, it seems to me that they completely distance themselves from their fellow South Africans who are not ANC members. These leaders degenerate what OR Tambo stood for.

At the end, when conferences and elections are over, we are truly just all South Africans, irrespective of our political affiliation, or our cultural, racial or religious differences. After all we go to the same churches together, we shop in the same malls, and our kids go to school together.

But still some leaders when they step into the political domain seem to distance themselves from their fellow citizens.

We must all work on unifying ourselves as South Africans at all times and on all terrains. This was the dream and vision of OR Tambo.


OR Tambo travelled the world, in mobilizing support against apartheid. He was received with the protocol reserved for Heads of State in many parts of the world.

His success with international mobilization against apartheid is evidenced by the fact that by 1990 when the ANC was unbanned, the ANC had 27 missions abroad which was impressive for a liberation movement.

The fact that the United Nations declared apartheid a crime against humanity, is the main result of his tireless diplomatic work.

South Africa needs new heroes to look up to (yes it is good to have heroes that we can refer to from the past like OR Tambo - for lessons learned and for inspiration) but we need new heroes that can lead us forward as a country and to take us through the current challenges that we are facing.

We need leaders that will give us hope for the future, leaders that will continuously encourage us to work together and strive for a better future. 

There are a lot of good lessons that the leaders of today, and the leaders of tomorrow, can learn from the life and legacy of OR Tambo.

We need leaders that will shape the destiny of South Africa - to ensure that there will be a better life for all!

Nelson Mandela summarised the life and legacy of OR Tambo when he said:

"Oliver was pure gold, there was gold in his intellectual brilliance, gold in his warmth and humanity, gold in his tolerance and generosity, gold in his unfailing loyalty and self-sacrifice. As much as I respected him as a leader that is how much I loved him as a man".
Long live the spirit of OR Tambo long live!

OJ Fourie, Deputy District Secretary, SACP Kimberley District