The South African Communist Party (SACP) has expressed deep concern about the rising, crisis-high unemployment and called for the government to consider maintaining the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant permanently.
The SACP held its last ordinary session of the 14th SACP National Congress Central Committee before it hosted its 15th National Congress in July this year.
“We cannot overemphasise the importance of redress in employment creation programmes and interventions. These should include rigorous pursuit co-operatives and small, medium and micro enterprises development, as part of the national imperative to advance, widen and deepen structural economic transformation.
“Instead of terminating the SRD grant at the end of the first quarter of 2022, the government should maintain the grant and consider improving it gradually towards a universal basic income grant, as part of building a comprehensive social security system. This is what the continuing unemployment crisis calls for in the here and now,” Nzimande said.
The government introduced the SRD grant at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic following public calls. During that time, in the second quarter of 2020, over 2.2 million jobs were slashed in a jobs-bloodbath, deepening the unemployment crisis.
Nzimande said this year therefore posed particular challenges for the SACP movement with implications for the country, especially the challenge of using its conferences or congresses to take forward the struggle for a better life for all.
He said the single biggest challenge in this regard was to ensure that the SACP did not allow factionalism and narrow accumulation interests to dominate and shape the outcomes of these important platforms.
“Factionalism can only turn our attention away from addressing the material needs of our people.
“The Central Committee still remains strongly of the view that the ANC and the Alliance remain the best hope for our people and for the inclusive economic development of our country,” he said, adding that their Alliance was faced with the task of seeking to unite itself around a common economic transformation programme in the wake of the stubborn persistence of poverty, inequality, unemployment and the associated multiple crises of social.
Nzimande said it was for this reason that the SACP had called for an urgent convening of an Alliance Economic Summit, prior to the ANC policy conference and the beginning of the 15th SACP national congress.
Nzimande said the 15th national congress would undertake a comprehensive political review of the past five years, analyse the current challenges, update its programme and develop its strategic perspectives and tasks for the next five years and beyond.
The SACPs central committee had also received and discussed a political report presented by Nzimande, the State of the Organisation and other secretariat reports, as well as the draft discussion document on the update of its programme, the South African Road to Socialism, and the report on SACP constitutional amendments, among others.
The SACP is expected to officially release the updated party programme discussion document – the South African Struggle for Socialism – on Monday.
These will include discussion documents on energy security, climate change and environment degradation, the struggle against patriarchy, building a left popular front, the economic situation and the struggle for the transformation of the financial sector.