This day, 1 August 2019 marks the 98th anniversary of the last day of the founding conference of our long standing historical ally, the South African Communist Party (SACP).
The African National Congress (ANC) salutes the SACP for its 98 years of existence and unbroken struggle for national liberation and social emancipation, both open and hidden, underground, as well as in exile. Founded as the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), the SACP is the second oldest political organisation in South Africa after the African National Congress (ANC) and the oldest Communist Party on the African continent.
International economic and political developments that led to the formation of the SACP date back to opposition in 1914 to the First World War by communist militants across the world and in South Africa. They characterised the war for what it was; war of inter-imperialist rivalries and colonial interests. In contradiction, certain sections of European descendants in South Africa supported the war and participation in it, most in favour of the respective European countries to which they traced their descent.
The founding conference of the CPSA was held at ?20 Plein Street in Cape Town on 30 – 31 July and 1 August 1921 respectively. The formation of the Party was preceded by negotiations between pre-existing communist organisations from Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa, held with the purpose of uniting into the single Communist Party for South Africa. This was both an advice by and one of the preconditions for affiliation to the Communist International. The International Socialist League, the main component which evolved in South Africa from communist opposition to the First World War in 1914, came together with the rest and formed the Communist Party. This outcome of the negotiations was announced at a public meeting held at the Cape Town City Hall a day before the start of the founding conference of the Party.
The SACP initiated our alliance eight years into its existence following the adoption of the resolution on the South African Question by the Communist International in the last half of 1928. The Party ratified the resolution at its conference held in Johannesburg in January 1929. The alliance mainly comprised three key components, namely the ANC, the Communist Party and the progressive trade union movement which the Party played an instrumental role to build. Our alliance represents an important form of organisational, political and ideological unity centred on the shared goal of complete liberation of the formerly oppressed and strategy of the national democratic revolution. The alliance evolved, since the early 1990s, to encompass a formation of the mass democratic movement, the South African National Civics Organisation.
The ANC enjoyed a cordial relationship of mutually reinforcing influence with the Communist Party since the origins of the alliance and throughout its development. Politically and ideologically, this mutually reinforcing relationship found its profound expression in the Freedom Charter, the theory of the national democratic revolution and concept of colonialism of a special type articulated in the 1962 programme of the SACP, the Road to South African Freedom, and the first ANC Strategy and Tactics adopted in 1969 in Morogoro, Tanzania. The concept of colonialism of a special type describes the colonial-apartheid South Africa in which the oppressors and the oppressed lived in the same indivisible but racially segregated territory of our land in which the expropriated were bloodily, through primitive accumulation and thereafter legislatively, confined to a small portion. While it is no longer necessary, following our April 1994 democratic breakthrough, to describe South Africa as a colony of a special type, it remains, fundamentally, our shared task with the Communist Party, the progressive trade union and civic movements to systematically eliminate the persisting legacy of colonialism of a special type. In this regard for example the alliance enjoys consensus on how to proceed on the land question, the National Health Insurance, Comprehensive Social Security, Integrated Human Settlement and other key policy priorities enshrined among others in the manifesto for the general election held in May 2019 developed by the ANC working together with all alliance partners.
The ANC and the SACP do not only enjoy common perspectives but also share common constituencies, countless members and leaders of note, as well as joint practical programmes in historical context.
The establishment of uMkhonto weSizwe in the early 1960s also gives credence to our shared, courageous and heroic past.
The massive mass mobilisation leading to the defeat of the inhumane apartheid regime, the transition in April 1994 to our current democratic dispensation, and the subsequent massive human rights and social progress realized by millions of our people is a noble epitome of our shared successes.
To borrow from the words echoed by Isithalandwe- Seaparankoe Tata Walter Sisulu, “It is a law of life that problems arise when conditions are there for their solutions”. Together we have found solutions on the myriad of challenges and continue to strengthened by our historic bonds as well as shared and common love for our People. We are brought together by our intersecting interests.
We wish the South African Communist Party more years of fortitude and strength as we continue to work together to advance the national democratic revolution in the interest of the toiling masses of our people. The unity of the alliance is sacrosanct and one to be safeguarded by all peace loving revolutionaries.
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
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