President Cyril Ramaphosa has lamented the “lack of intellectual debates” in the African National Congress (ANC) and its alliance partners.
Ramaphosa, in his capacity as ANC President, was addressing a South African Communist Party (SACP) event to mark the 60th Anniversary of the African Communist journal in Johannesburg on Monday.
He recalled how the journal was a “crucible for great ideas, great debates and robust debates” in the ANC-led movement during apartheid.
He explained, “Sometimes, when we hear about some of the debates that used to take place, we can decry the fact that we no longer have such great debates that we have heard about, that took place in exile, in the national executive committee, in the structures of the party.
“Debates that were vigorous, underpinned by deep intellectual rigour. And we can decry that they no longer take place. The African Communist helped to inspire such debates.”
‘Magnifying racial and ethnic differences’
Ramaphosa said the journal played a big role in shaping ANC’s understanding on non-racialism.
He said non-racialism is now under threat from some sections of society which are “magnifying otherwise dangerous racial and ethnic differences as the basis of accumulation and exclusion.”
These sections are exploiting South Africa’s “tough economic climate” to fuel these differences, he added. However, he didn’t mention which these sections of society are.
‘Capture of the state’
Ramaphosa also said the African Communist has acted as the ANC’s “revolutionary conscience” on matters such as “state capture.”
He explained, “We view the African Communist as an integral part of our revolutionary conscience, warning us about the dangers of the slow pace of socio-economic transformation…
“…the dangers of corruption and capture of the state by private corporate interests, the erosion of our moral credibility, the weakening of state organs and the resultant decline in our electoral support.”
Ramaphosa added that these challenges constitute a “point of entry for counter-revolution and reversal of our democratic gains.”
He attributed the ANC’s path of renewal partly to “critical voices” in the African Communist.
Among other high profile leaders who attended the event were ANC Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte and SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande.