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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.


Our country, South Africa, is known throughout the world because of its system of White domination, a special form of colonialism which has been carried to extremes under the Nationalist Party policy of apartheid. Nowhere else is national and racial oppression practised so nakedly and shamelessly, with such systematic brutality and disregard of human rights and dignity.

The three million Whites hold a monopoly of political rights and economic opportunities. They alone can vote for and be elected to Parliament and other governing bodies. They are fortified behind a wall of privilege in the civil service, in jobs and professions, in educational opportunities and a hundred other fields. 87 per cent of the land is reserved for White ownership, and White capitalists own and control the mines, factories and banks and most of commerce. Their government inculcates a lying and insulting doctrine of race superiority.

The eleven million Africans, twothirds of the population, suffer ruthless national oppression. They have been robbed of their ancestral lands. The thirteen per cent of land set aside for African occupation - the socalled Reserves, or "homelands" - are grossly overcrowded and the soil exhausted. Hunger and the network of pass laws and special taxes drive Africans to work in mines, industries and farms, where they are terribly exploited and underpaid. African languages are despised and undeveloped. The growth of national cultures is stifled. Africans are doomed from birth to little or no education, to the status of "hewers of wood and drawers of water."

The other nonWhite groups - one and a half million Coloured people and a half million South African Indians - are but little better off. Indeed the advantages they once enjoyed over Africans are one by one being removed. They have no vote or say in making the laws. Apartheid means gross national oppression for all nonWhites.

This system of race domination and oppression has its origins far back in South African history. However, it has developed into its present, extreme form with the development of capitalism and especially of the great diamond and goldmining monopolies. Capitalism everywhere cultivates and plays upon race and national antagonisms. These are to the advantage of the capitalists because they are a weapon in the competition between capitalists of different nationalities, and because they are a means of dividing and weakening the working class. In the highest, imperialist phase of capitalism the West European monopoly capitalists developed vicious racial theories to justify their subjection of African, Asian and Latin American peoples to colonial slavery. The South African and foreign monopoly capitalists and largescale landowners, who, together, are the real rulers of this country, have cultivated racial differences and prejudices as their most effective instrument in their insatiable drive for cheap labour and high profits. The colonial status of the African people facilitates the maximum exploitation of their labour. The privileges extended to White businessmen, farmers, professional people and workers are a means of maintaining their support for the ruling capitalist class and for the South African colonialist system.

Since 1948 the Nationalist Party government has intensified this system to an unendurable degree at the very time when racialist and colonialist theories and practices have been discredited and condemned throughout the world, and when hundreds of millions of people of Africa and Asia have gained independence and selfgovernment. To maintain this system the Nationalists rely more and more on suppression, force and violence. Almost every channel of legal protest is closed. The main organs of people's resistance have been driven underground, South Africa is being turned into an armed camp. The State moves increasingly towards the pattern of fascism: an open, terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary and racialist section of capitalists.

One of the first attacks of the Nationalist government on the people's rights was the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950. The Communist Party of South Africa which for twentyeight years had marched at the head of the freedom struggles of the workers and oppressed peoples, was outlawed. The Act laid down heavy penalties for defending or advocating Communist ideas. It was no accident that the Nationalist Government made this Party and these ideas their first target, and sought to destroy them as the main obstacle to their plan of subjugating the people. Communism stands for the direct opposite of the theories and practices of the Nationalist Party. Communism stands for the rights of the workers and oppressed people - against all forms of racialism, privilege, colonialism and exploitation of man. Communism stands for peace, freedom, democracy and national independence.

Laws and force cannot destroy the ideas of Communism, of MarxismLeninism, because these ideas are true and answer the needs and aspirations of the people. They correctly explain the world we live in and show mankind the way forward to a better world: a world without wars and racialism, without poverty and exploitation.

In this Programme, the South African Communist Party states its fundamental principles. It surveys the vast changes which are transforming the world and the continent we live in. It analyses the historical roots and the underlying realities of South African society. It puts forward its answers to the problems facing the people of our country today.

As its immediate and foremost task, the South African Communist Party works for a united front of national liberation. It strives to unite all sections and classes of oppressed and democratic people for a national democratic revolution to destroy White domination. The main content of this Revolution will be the national liberation of the African people. Carried to its fulfilment, this revolution will at the same time put an end to every sort of race discrimination and privilege. The revolution will restore the land and the wealth of the country to the people, and guarantee democracy, freedom and equality of rights, and opportunities to all. The Communist Party has no interests separate from those of the working people. The Communists are sons and daughters of the people, and share with them the overriding necessity to put an end to the suffering and humiliation of apartheid. The destruction of colonialism and the winning of national freedom is the essential condition and the key for future advance to the supreme aim of the Communist Party: the establishment of a socialist South Africa, laying the foundations of a classless, communist society

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