As if we do not have enough political parties already there is now a report that the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) intends to apply for registration.   A spokesperson for the SACP brushed off any threat and claimed that WASP would ‘dissipate as quickly as it was formed’.

Natasha Marrian’s report New socialist party plans March launch first appeared in Business Day today.

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THE official establishment of a leftist political party, sprung from the unrest in the mining sector, is gaining momentum as its founders prepare to register it with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) ahead of its inaugural conference in March, their leader Mametlwe Sebei said on Tuesday.

The labour unrest in the mining sector provided a platform for the Democratic Socialist Movement, reconstituted in 2002, to mobilise mineworkers and poor communities into forming the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) last month.   Aside from representing workers in the continuing unrest, the Democratic Socialist Movement was mobilising support for its idea to set up a political alternative to the African National Congress-led ruling alliance.

Mr Sebei said its first gathering on December 20 consisted of just 20 representatives from mines and communities in North West, Limpopo and Gauteng, but the party was now fanning out and mobilising members ahead of its March 21 inaugural conference.

“It is a socialist programme … we will be calling for the nationalisation of the mines, the banks and the commanding heights of the economy,” he said.   “Our main support base is in the strike committees.”

Mr Sebei said WASP “militants” were going out to communities across the county to obtain a million signatures in order for the party to contest next year’s elections.

“The WASP will be a fighting party that will unite service delivery protests, student struggles and workplace struggles,” he said.

SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila brushed off the prospect of the party presenting any threat, saying it would ‘dissipate’ as quickly as it was formed.