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SACP Eastern Cape concerned about COVID-19 in the province, borrowing from IMF

Apr 28, 2020
SACP Eastern Cape concerned about COVID-19 in the province, borrowing from IMF

East London - The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape convened a virtual Provincial Working Committee (PWC) meeting on Sunday.

"The SACP PWC meeting was convened for the leadership collective of the Party to discuss the state of the working class here at home and the world in light of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) amongst other things," said Xolile Nqatha, SACP Provincial Secretary on behalf of the SACP Eastern Cape Provincial Working Committee.

"The PWC appreciated that the SACP as it has demonstrated in many instances in the past, must always be agile, adaptive guided by strategic consistency, analytical alertness and tactical flexibility.

"As such structures of the Party even under these difficult conditions must remain the instruments of the workers and the poor in advancing the cause of a just society."

He added that the meeting was convened during the Chris Hani month, a month in which we remember the late Former General Secretary of the SACP, Comrade Chris Hani.

"We pay tribute to Comrade Chris Hani and many other heroes and heroines who belong to a rare breed of leaders who fought fearlessly against the inhumane apartheid regime and ruthless system of capitalism."

Nqatha said that the meeting was also convened at the time when humanity is confronted with the challenge of the novel coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

"The SACP welcomes all the efforts to combat the virus by the South African Government. It is in this context that we wish to call upon all the people of the Eastern Cape to adhere to the regulations of the National State of Disaster as declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa," he added.

"It is now becoming evident that another contributor to the growing numbers in the Eastern Cape is non-adherence to the regulations of the lockdown, as about 200 cases are linked to funerals.

"It should not only be the role of the state to ensure that people are adhering to the regulations, our organisations, people’s organs should be more mobilise in order to play a role in educating people about the pandemic.

"It is clear now that the system of capitalism which its motor force that drives it is individualism and profit accumulation is inherently unable to respond to the societal needs. Emerging solution is found in putting lives before profits, solidarity and co-operation.

"The case for socialism and a more human society looms larger more than ever before. As was articulated by Chris Hani, which ensures decent shelter for those who are homeless; water for those who have no safe drinking water; healthcare for all, life of dignity for the old; overcoming the huge divide between urban and rural areas, free quality education for all our people; rolling back the tyranny of the market; economy which is not dominated by an un-elected privileged few."

SACP concerned by rapid rise of COVID-19 infections in Eastern Cape

Nqatha noted that the meeting noted that the Eastern Cape as of 25 April 2020 had recorded 488 positive cases of the Covid-19, with 10 deaths and 19 recoveries.

"The SACP is deeply concern by the rapid rise of the numbers of infected persons in the province. The situation in the province requires for the provincial government to consider many interventions in an effort to step up the fight against the pandemic.

"These developments highlight a case for rolling out the National Health Insurance (NHI), as oppose to the market forces being the solution, as the case globally countries which have invested in their universal health coverage are reaping the benefits," he described.

"While those which have cut their public health investment, are unfortunately hardest hit by the pandemic. Republic of Cuba is the case in point on the value of investing on health and education for all, the PWC is certain that the contingent of medical healthcare workers expected from Cuba further affirms the importance of solidarity as the virtue of life.

"We join millions of South Africans in warmly welcoming the Cuban Internationalist Medical Brigade to South Africa.  

"As the SACP, we fully support the genuine calls by the workers to demand the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the frontline healthcare workers. The must be no worker who is exposed to contracting Covid-19 due to the shortage of PPE. If we are to marshal a strong and motivated contingent of workers, the provision of PPE must be made a priority.

"The state must further clarify the kind of benefits including risk and danger allowances due to workers associated with the outbreak of the Covid-19."

'Unemployed healthcare graduates must be brought in' 

Nqatha said that the meeting called for the final year students in healthcare related studies and unemployed healthcare graduates to be brought to the fold as we cannot be over prepared for the pandemic.

"The meeting appreciated that solution can be found when each person plays his or her role diligently, those entrusted with responsibility of leadership must never be irritated when criticised or called upon to account but must appreciate that everyone is anxious and as such leadership must be transparent and accountable for their actions. 

"The meeting further warned that as schools are considering reopening on the phased-in approach, children of the workers and the poor must not be left on the margins and every school must put measurers to ensure safety of learners and the learners that are to still remain at home must be provided with the necessary tools of learning including data," he said.    

"The PWC meeting reaffirmed the SACP stance, that the relaxation of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) should not be allowed to create space for greedy elements within and outside government.

"We reiterate our call for an investigation into all allegations of corruption and maladministration regardless of the personalities involved. It is important that we collectively defeat the greedy elements who wish to use this crisis for profiteering, for their actions undermines the good efforts of combating the pandemic and cushioning the people against its impact.

"We have noted with deep concerns the reports about the R44m which has been used for the purchase of the PPE outside the province. This is in conflict with the commitment made by the provincial government to promote local procurement with an aim of creating jobs.

"The centralised procurement should not be used as an excuse to further marginalised our province. We are calling for the review of such a decision for the benefit the people of the province."

Everyone must observe COVID-19 lockdown regulations

Nqatha added that the PWC urged all to observe the lockdown regulations as they are in the best interest of protecting everyone from the devastating effects of Covid – 19 and further welcomes measures taken in ensuring that regardless of the position one occupies in the society, those who purposefully transgress the regulations, tough action is taken against them.

"The PWC welcomed the universal grant for the unemployed as part of ensuring that every household is cushioned form poverty and demand is stimulated from below as the bailout of established capital in the past has proven that trickle down benefit is a pipe dream as all those billions were never invested on productive sectors but ended up as profits for the established business as part of the parasitic network," he said.

"This time around the state must develop its capacity to ensure that the conditions for business to benefit in the initiatives such as Solidarity Fund are stringent and monitored effectively - for example, no employee must lose his or her job because of Covid – 19.  

"PWC further directed SACP structures in the province to establish food banks as no person must go to bed on an empty stomach and also those who are essential workers to be part of their street and village committees, as it is communities which must take responsibility of homes."  

On government approaching the IMF and World Bank

He said that the SACP PWC joins the millions of South African in welcoming the generally pro-poor and pro-worker measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 21 April 2020, as part of a package to fight the war against the Covid-19.

"In this regard the PWC is in full support of the National Alliance Secretariat in that borrowing from IMF and World Bank should not be a consideration as history is littered with instances wherein these bodies have imposed structural adjustments in many developing countries and are responsible for misery of many African countries," Nqatha described.

"As was the case in the past they come full of promises when in the actual fact once countries are mortgaged with them, the workers and the poor become their first casualties."

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