Don’t fear push-back against anti-graft drive, Mapaila tells Ramaphosa

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South African Communist Party (SACP) deputy secretary general Solly Mapaila on Thursday lambasted those undermining the fight against corruption, urging president Cyril Ramaphosa to not fear those involved in the push-back.

Referring to a stand-off between the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in the National Assembly earlier in the day, Mapaila said the SACP stood with and supported the minister.

“We will respond appropriately in the coming days to the offensive launched against those who are leading the campaign against corruption. They are being attacked and state institutions are being abused.

“We saw what happened against Minister Pravin Gordhan in parliament today. We want to say to him that we stand in solidarity with you, you now represent the Rivonia trialists as a front line combatant to fight corruption,” said Mapaila.

He was speaking during a gala dinner at Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, Johannesburg, to honour the Rivonia trialists, who were arrested at the iconic venue in 1963.

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“We appeal to President Ramaphosa not to bow down to demagogic radical economic transformation pushers and stand firm on the perspective of our movement, including his capacity to bring together all facets of our movement behind a common agenda. [Those gathered here tonight reflect the true South Africa]…seldom do we see ourselves like this, black and white, rich and poor…all together.”

The SACP executive committee was in the process of drafting a discussion document to tackle “neo-liberal addiction” gripping the country, he said.

“We must get rid of neo-liberal addiction in order to be able to respond to the challenges and needs of our country as a whole. We started a discussion document as a committee to address this.

“On the other hand, we need to respond to the vulgarised radical economic transformation perspective that is demagogic and will seek to destroy this economy that is the basis to support the people of this country…we know that we will not be able to advance socialism without the means of production and a productive economy…we cannot live literally out of a public economy. These are questions we are going to respond to in the coming weeks.”

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On July 11, 1963, apartheid police raided Liliesleaf Farm, which was the underground headquarters of the SACP.

The raid led to the arrest of leaders of the SACP, African National Congress and its military wing, uMkhonto weSizwe, who were charged with treason.

Some were arrested later and linked to Liliesleaf Farm. Anti-apartheid stalwarts arrested were Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Rusty Bernstein, Raymond Mhlaba, Bob Hepple, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Harold Wolpe, Lionel Bernstein, Arthur Goldreich, James Kantor, Denis Goldberg and Nelson Mandela. The late Mandela was linked to operations at the farm and declared accused number one.

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The farm is now a museum dedicated to SACP and ANC leaders and their work from the premises.

Mapaila appealed for public support for Liliesleaf.

“To the members of cabinet, when you talk about arts and culture, please don’t forget Liliesleaf Farm. It is left to only two people and the board. We are happy with preservation of this history which doesn’t only belong to SACP, but to the country,” he said.

Former president Kgalema Motlanthe, who is the chairperson of the Liliesleaf Trust, will deliver the keynote speech at the event.

African News Agency (ANA)

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