September 28, 2010

Nzimande warns against 'liberal offensive'

The media is the biggest threat to "the social revolution", and unemployment, poverty and HIV/AIDS are the biggest dangers to the constitution, says South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande. Speaking to loud ovations at the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union's (Nehawu) national congress in Ekurhuleni, Mr Nzimande, who is also higher education and training minister, said: "We have a huge liberal offensive against our democracy". "The print media is the biggest perpetrator of this liberal thinking," he said. "They (the media) have gone to their friends around the world, including those in America to get people to go against the tribunal," he said. "How can we trust the American journalists who invaded Iraq and then were told what to write by the army generals there? We need a revolutionary, not liberal, defence of our constitution," he said. He also stressed that all political analysts and economists that were quoted by journalists were liberals, who did not understand working- class struggles.

By understanding that the SACP, the ANC and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) are separate allies, the workers could be better mobilised, he said. Regarding how workers could be better served by unions, he suggested that Marxist thinking schools be established to grant workers "a better understanding of politics". He also criticised Nehawu for not successfully running campaigns to provide workers with benefits such as RDP housing and medical aids despite the SACP's instructions to the union to do so at the union's last congress, three years ago.

As the minister of higher education and training, he also criticised further education and training colleges for having many weak programmes that do not further skills development appropriately.

Meanwhile, Nehawu's deputy president, Lulamile Sotaka, said the three-week-long public sector strike was a great success for the union. While workers have not yet accepted the state's final wage hike offer of 7,5% and an R800 housing allowance, it is unlikely that the strike will continue, according to Mr Sotaka. The stay-away cost the country billions of rand and forced employers to give their employees a fairer social wage, he said.
Nehawu is one of South Africa's biggest unions, with 212.964 members. (Business Day)

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