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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Central Committee discussion of Joe Slovo's presentation

The Central Committee discussed at some length Slovo's presentation. There was overwhelming support for the broad perspectives and analysis contained in it. The Central Committee congratulated the SACP negotiating team for the very significant (and widely acknowledged) role that it played in the process. Among contributions made to the ensuing debate, were the following:

Charles Nqakula: The very ,eal threat of a right hack-lash means that the SACP and the Tripartite Alliance must, as a matter of urgency, conduct a thorough discussion on the threat and how best to counter it. Comrade JS has underlined our very significant negotiations victory, but because of the long duration of the negotiations and the fact that they have often been very remote, the victory is not so clear to our broad constituency. We must ensure that we popularise the gains.

John Nkadimeng: Comrade JS is right to underline the problem that the flow of information between the SACP's negotiations think-tank and ordinary party members was often inadequate.

Raymond Suttner: JS is absolutely right to underline the massive victory we have scored at the negotiations. He fails, however, to mention that the past three years have also seen the transformation of our organisations, particularly the ANC. This transformation could have a serious, long-term impact. In particular, the negotiations have had a dissolving effect on mass organisation, a tendency for our constituency to become spectators.

If we conduct the coming election campaign in a narrow electoralist manner, the dissolution could be deepened. Whatever the victory, we should not underrate the strong sense of demoralisation in our organisations.

Jabu Moleketi: Suttner overstates the demoralisation in our ranks. While this might be present, there are many signs of a very different tendency, a rising positive feeling, particularly in our broader constituency. On the question of a Government National Unity (GNU), while it might be a factor for stabilising the democratic transition, it can also be hijacked by other class forces (including elements within our broad alliance ranks). Agrees with Nqakula's call for a systematic threat analysis of the right-wing threat.

Dennis Nkosi: We cannot sufficiently underline cde JS's point that, for the moment, the agreements relating to levelling the political playing field, are agreements on paper. In Natal there has been an intensification of violence from Inkatha, literally in the past days. Areas like Bambayi, in which solid progress had been made in resolving the conflict, have now suddenly flared up again.

Essop Pahad: The driving role of the ongoing ANC/government bilaterals (in which cde JS played a leading role) was certainly an important and positive factor. But we should not underestimate the irritation among some Patriotic Front allies that this bilateralism sometimes provoked. More sensitivity is required. On whether the interim constitution is "unitary with federal elements", isn't it better to shift away from this rather abstract debate? The real issue is how much centralisation and how much decentralisation is required for the thorough democratisation of SA. This is what counts, regardless of the abstract labels.

Brian Bunting: We have scored a major negotiations victory and the SACP has played an important role. My concern is that in the past three years the party's independent voice on key issues like the Reserve Bank, foreign investment and nationalisation has not always been sufficiently clear or loud.

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