SACP concerned about Northern Areas school closures - adds Makupula going nowhere

FEBRUARY 1, 2016

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape, during its Special Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting on Saturday in King Williams Town, raised concerns about school closures in Port Elizabeth's Northern Areas. The meeting was also attended by the SACP Central Committee members, Mandla Makupula (Eastern Cape MEC for Education) and Phumulo Masualle (Premier of the Eastern Cape).

Angry parents, led by  the Northern Areas Education Forum (NAEF), three weeks ago agreed to shutdown about 52 local schools until their demands for more teacher, among other education-related issues at the schools, are met.

"We are of the view that no matter what the challenges may be, or how huge they may appear they should not mean that people must deny children their right to education.

"The right to access education is sacrosanct and cannot be compromised as this amount to aborting the future of the children as time lost will never be returned," said Siyabonga Mdodi, Eastern Cape SACP Provincial Spokesperson.

"We also call upon the people of those areas to ensure that all schools are opened and children are getting education. We have also noted that the DA racists have used the educational challenges in that area as the political football.

"It is in that context that we are calling upon the people of Port Elizabeth to reject the defenders of the white privileges, who close the working class schools whilst their own children are enjoying education of private schools. We also wish to call upon the department of education to accelerate the resolutions of the concerns including ensuring that teachers are appointed in all vacant funded posts and the lifting of moratorium on the appointment in non-teaching posts to remove administrative duties from educators."

Mdodi said that the meeting also considered and adopted the political overview and SACP Local Government Election Strategy positioning the party to contribute to ensure an overwhelming victory of the ANC.

"The meeting conveyed its message of solidarity to the Moses Mabhida Province of the SACP on a cowardice merciless armed attack that took the lives of people in the SACP meeting outside Durban. It is the responsibility of the law enforcement authorities to investigate this criminal act and reveal its instigators.

"We send our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones, and say to the SACP in Moses Mabhida do not despair remain focused and vigilant as the enemy among us is likely to be more vicious as class struggle get sharpened," he said. 

Alliance relations:

Mdodi said that the meeting also received "concerning reports in almost all our districts about the deteriorating alliance relations and non-functional election processes".

"There seems to be the new anchor in the alliance that seeks to replace that of the working class by the comprador bourgeoisie," he said.

"There has been a consistent systemic side-lining and exclusion of the SACP activists in many of the regions in the province, both in the administration and political space. 

"The collapse of alliance relations in many parts of the province does no good in pursuing the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). It can only serve to defeat our noble agenda of the congress movement. It is in most cases engineered by corrupt people who want to use the movement for their selfish accumulation, for they see both the COSATU and the SACP as the threat in their greedy path."

He said that they were committed to defeat "the new emerging alliance in the movement".

"...we shall never surrender our movement to the greedy people, as that will be the defeat of our hard won gains. We will go to the coming provincial alliance summit to raise these issues and seek sustainable solutions, as we firmly believe that none of us in the alliance should behave as a bigger brother or an irritating dictatorial uncle.

"The unfolding events here in front of our eyes combined with the challenges of poverty, inequality, poverty, imposition of tax law bill on the workers and the crisis of corruption and factionalism engulfing the broad movement represent a threat to our continued hold to political power as forces under the leadership of the ANC."

Non-payment of workers in Ikhwezi Municipality.

"The SACP condemns the non-payment of workers in Ikhwezi Municipality; non-payment of workers is no different to slavery. If and when works are not paid, particularly in the month of January month is locking them in a vicious circle of debts and no reason can justify such an injustice," Mdodi said.

"The SACP will be meeting with the leadership of SAMWU to work with the workers in finding solution to the crisis."

On calls for the removal of the MEC of Education:

"We reiterate our earlier assertion that the calls for the removal of the MEC of Education, Mandla Makupula has nothing to do with education, but all to do with factional and business interests engulfing the movement.

"All of us in the province including those who are making these factional calls have witnessed the improvement in the department under the leadership of Cde Makupula and change is required in the entire basic and higher education as a system. This will help to build a solid foundation in the foundation phase and go away from a focus in Grade 12," Mdodi said.   

"We are well aware as we have said before that at the core of these calls is the idea to loot state resources through scholar nutrition programme. The calls are aimed at the total capturing of the department for looting by greedy and corrupt people within and outside the movement.  Had all these calls been genuine they would have been calling for the comprehensive assessment of all portfolios in the province, and many MECs would have been long recalled."

Image: Public order police in Gelvandale during the school closures in the Northern Areas in July 2015.