Statement of the meeting of the National Committee of the Young Communist League of South Africa held over the weekend of the 19-21 May 2011
22 May 2012
1. The National Committee of the Young Communist League of South Africa [uFasimba] held its ordinary plenary session over the weekend to discuss issues relating to the country’s political situation, the state of our organisation, the youth wage subsidy, labour amendment laws and the ongoing organisational programmes as part of the implementation of the National Congress Resolutions of our Mahikeng Congress (that was held in 2010).
On the Youth Wage Subsidy
2. The National Committee discussed the recent march by the Democratic Alliance to COSATU House. This was mere cheap political point scoring. The DA should take responsibility of the violence that ensued as a result of their provocation of members of COSATU and the Progressive Youth Alliance.
3. As it relates to the Youth Wage Subsidy (YWS), the National Committee reiterated the rejection of this system. We see this as yet another bail-out for business and intended to finance labour costs as is viewed as having a major effect on their already huge profits. We are aware that the National Treasury has conducted a study on the Youth Wage Subsidy in conjunction with Wits University recently, which involved fifty companies and 100 young people. The briefing we have is that the trial was a failure, and constituted only 15% success.
4. The proposal for a YWS was premised on the creation of a two-tier labour system which constituted proposals from the Havard Group. This is yet another strategy to cut labour costs, plummet real wages and cause the decline of the living wage and the living conditions of our people. There is no evidence, even with the implementation of the YWS by the DA in the Western Cape, that it will create more jobs for young people. The implementation of the YWS will only lead to retrenchments, conflict and competition in wages within the labour force, abuse and corruption by business and the substitution of permanent workers by unemployed workers through the subsidy.
5. In anyway, through the Wits study (which we challenge Treasury to make public) employers are not interested in the administrative process involved as also shown by their lack of interest of the existing skills levy administered by the National Skills Authority. The main reason why the DA will support such a policy is underpinned by their opposition to the democratic labour law regime and their support for the neo-liberal weakening of the state to efficiently deliver services to our people. We cannot support a R5bn towards capitalist profitability whilst there is a need for more teachers, nurses, policemen and an investment into the NSFAS and National Health Insurance which could directly impact on the lives of our people.
6. The allegation that we have no alternative proposal is false. The National Committee agree that some (if not all) of the following constitute credible proposals against a YWS:
- The skilling or re-skilling of the more than 300 000 unemployed graduates and the placement of these into the public sector. There is more than 35% vacancy rates in the public sector which, according to our research, will require just above R4bn to fill in immediately. We challenge all government departments to report on how far they are in filling all vacancies since the expired deadline of August 2011 set by President Jacob Zuma
- A programme of mass skilling through Further Education and Training Colleges with the focus on welding, plumbing, bricklaying, electricians and all other basic skills that can be absorbed through the R300bn public infrastructure programme which will need more hands.
- The legislation of the right to work by young people, which will force government to employ or place any young person in a university, FET college, skills programme or in a (community service or development) job after completion of their Grade 12 or guarantee them an income. Such legislation exist in countries such as India, and have gone a long way in alleviating poverty and forcing the state to invest in their human resource. There is no way that this cannot succeed in our country.
- The expansion of the Extended Public Works Programme and the increase of income for young people who are absorbed in the EPWP. This will mean a review of some of the tenders on menial tasks such as paving, maintenance of public property, the building, ablution, electrification and maintenance of RDP Houses, hospitals, schools and other buildings for public use.
- The expansion of the National Skills Service which has trained many young people and placed them into employment.
The rise of racism and the urgent task of nation building
7. The National Committee noted the growing confidence in racist and quasi racist attacks on black people and the sudden defence of the apartheid system by FW de Klerk and neo-apartheid by Hellen Zille in the Western Cape. Utterances such as "Bantustans were little democracies"; support for "separate development; dividing of our nation on the basis of their culture; and reference to school children as refugees are tantamount to statements such as "life under apartheid was better" and are indefensible and cannot be allowed. The case of a model who twitted racial slurs and called someone a kaffir, and the counter tweets, indicates the barbarism of racism that still exists and should be dealt with.
8. We take serious exception to de Klerk alleging that he ushered democracy in South Africa. This is an insult to millions of our people who died fighting against apartheid, and more who were in exile or in prisons banished by the same system that de Klerk was to become its last Head of State. In fact, more people died under the de Klerk administration than in any other period under apartheid. We call on FW de Klerk to issue an unconditional apology to all South Africans.
9. We view all of these as a challenge to ensure that we fight against racism, tribalism, ethnicity and all other forms of divisions that seeks to push our country into the abyss of the past. We will be mobilising all young people, irrespective of their colour, to fight for the unity of our nation and defend the values and principles of nationhood and nation-building. We will not rest until we stop seeing each other on the basis of our colour, as this will be a justification of neo-apartheid. We are issuing a clarion call to all young South Africans, Black, Indian, Coloured and White, to join in on the project of uniting our country. The future does not belong to FW de Klerk, the future belongs to us.
10. Next week, we will be launching a series of public discussions together with the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation under the banner of "Bua Thursday". The theme for this talks will be "Youth Dialogue and Action for a Better South Africa". These talks will host personalities from different background in our society to discuss issues of national cohesion, political tolerance, challenges on education, health, unemployment, small and medium business and co-operatives. The talks will be followed by community work of chosen projects that will involve young people. More details will be released next week on the first speakers and the venue.
Strengthening the capacity of the ANC-led Alliance to lead society
11. The National Committee expressed concerns on the internal weakening of the capacity of the ANC and the Alliance to lead our society towards a non-racist, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. These are constituted by the desire for positions instead of the desire to realise the unity of our movement and its integrity to lead our society. Some of the acts the National Committee rejected, and vowed to fight against, include:
- The proposals by CONTRALESA to reverse the same sex marriage and to criminalise same sex relationships. We see this proposal as archaic and backward, and cannot contribute towards the goals of the ANC and the alliance to build a non-sexist society. In fact, we see the proposal as playing into the hands of those who commit criminal acts of corrective rape and are hell-bent on taking our nation backwards.
- The formation of the so-called Friends of the ANCYL which in our view is an opposition rather than a defense to the former president of the ANCYL. Organisations such as COPE and UDM were launched on the same basis, and therefore, we cannot allow people within our structures to be part of such quasi-breakaway groups. We respect the internal processes of the ANC and the ANCYL, and any of the members of these organisations to seek recourse. We will however not give homage to renegades who want to remain members of the YCLSA and still be part of a so-called Friends of the ANCYL.
- Leadership contests, however democratic, continuously erode on the capacity of the alliance to lead society towards a non-racist, non-sexist and democratic future. The association of individual leaders with camps and factions within our movement, and the undermining of the leadership in the name of radicalism and militancy, can only serve our detractors. We call on all members of alliance and PYA structures to defend the leadership of the alliance of society.
- The perception that the alliance leadership does not pay attention to issues that affect our people is harming its integrity and capacity to lead. In the forthcoming Congress of the SACP, our contribution will be premised on the accelerated implementation of the five priorities by the ANC-led Alliance government.
- The rise of personality politics and the hero-cult which are foreign to our organisations. The many recent attempts to elevate and praise-singing of individuals above the organisations must be discouraged with the contempt it deserves. As the YCL, we do not subscribe to the notion of super-heroes and celebrity politicians in our structures, be it in the ANC, SACP, COSATU or the PYA. We do not belong into and will never allow our members to be painted as sheep that follows a hero. Leaders come and go, but our organisations must remain, and there must be no leader who sees themselves as indispensable and irreplaceable. The National Committee spoke strongly against the new-tendency of members of members. There are no SACP members of Nzimande, nor ANC members of Zuma or COSATU members of Vavi. Members must belong to the organisation and where there is a need, objectively criticise or support leaders of our organisations. This tendency must be especially discouraged amongst young people who have the responsibility of leading these organisations in the future. This call comes with the responsibility of those in leadership to observe criticism not as a coup, but as an objective act of building the organisations we belong to.
On the NYDA
12. In the coming days, a new board of the NYDA will be appointed by the President. As the YCL, we believe that the new board must be representative of all South Africans, irrespective of their colour. We respect the prerogative of the President to appoint whosoever is nominated, but this prerogative must be accompanied by consistent principles of inclusivity, racial balance, and women participation, the participation of people with disabilities and all other categories of our people.
13. We further believe that there is a need for a forensic audit of the finances of the NYDA based on damning reports associated with the board. We believe that the investigations should focus on whether funds of the NYDA were not used to benefit individuals for purposes of factional battles within the movement.
14. The NYDA was conceptualised by the YCLSA as an integration of youth development institutions and programmes, and the bettering of services on youth entrepreneurial and co-operative development. However, its former Chairperson had prioritised other programmes rather than the development of young people. We cannot have this situation persisting. We call on all young people in our country to make suggestions on the direction of the NYDA as we begin a new era of correcting the wrongs of the past, and deploying the right cadres to lead this institution.
On the Brett Murray Painting
15. The National Committee noted the disgusting painting of President Zuma by Brett Murray that is currently in display at the Goodman Art Gallery. We must reiterate our support for freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic. This is the freedoms that our people, including President Jacob Zuma, fought for and sacrificed a significant part of their lives under the ugly system of apartheid.
16. However, these freedoms come with the responsibility to respect the dignity of all individuals irrespective of their positions in society. To disguise hate speech, sadism, callousness and insensitivity to a family man in the form of art is equal to defeating the rights accorded to these individuals. In any democracy, everyone has the right to express their opposition to the person holding office of the president, but this right cannot be pushed beyond the limits of respect to the collective majority of society who elected the person into office.
17. We note that the ANC has approached the courts to seek recourse on this matter. We are aware that the painting has now been defaced. All we can say is: We are not Complaining. It should be noted that the painting on the president’s genitals is not the only one on display which parody the ruling party, and we hold no objection to these as work of art that expresses political opinion. We however find this particular painting as objectionable, insulting and should never be allowed.
18. We further call on all our people to reject the continued publication of the painting by various media houses, especially City Press. We call on the newspaper to immediately remove the painting from its website. Any further publication of the paintings in the newspaper will lead us to call for an all-out boycott of the newspapers.
19. We want to also express shame to the continued personal attacks on the president by Jonathan Zapiro, a cartoonist for various newspapers. Zapiro has lost all humour there is to cartoon and political satire, and has ventured into personalised attacks on the president.
On the SACP Congress
20. The YCLSA will welcomes the public launch of the SACP 13th National Congress Discussion Documents. The National Committee instructed the NWC to constitute a team of cadres to assess the various documents and consolidate a contribution in the form of draft resolutions to the Congress. We will be conducting further public engagements in this regard.
21. We however want to express our objection to the use of the SACP Congress and various other trade-union Congresses as a platform to ridicule and mock SACP Special Congress resolution on the deployment of our cadres to government, especially the General Secretary. The YCLSA will participate in this discussion with the purpose of objectively assessing the deployment of all SACP cadres to parliament and the state and the impact it may have had on the capacity of the Party to lead the struggle for socialism.
22. We reject the obsession of NUMSA and its leadership on the question of the deployment of the General Secretary of the SACP to government and his role in the SACP. We believe that the intervention by NUMSA now borders on factionalism and merely intents making headlines whilst lacking on constructive criticism of the SACP. As the YCL, we are willing to listen to objective criticism by workers and worker leaders as this is their SACP, but any criticism that seeks to bury the Party, especially made through cadres who served in the various provincial leadership of the party, must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.
YCL 90th Anniversary and Youth Month Activities
23. This coming week, on the 25th May 2012, the YCLSA will be celebrating its 90th Anniversary. An Anniversary Rally will be held in Limpopo, Westernberg Community Hall on Saturday 26 May. Various speakers from the alliance have been invited. There will also be activities in Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga on the 27th May 2012.
24. On the 17th June 2012, we will be having the YCL Youth Month Rally in Modimolle, Limpopo.
Issued by the YCLSA National Committee
For more information please Contact Mangaliso Khonza on 083 617 5546