As delegates gathered at in Port Elizabeth for Congress of the South African Communist Party, the strike of 260,00 metal workers entered its second day. Strike leaders report that over 70 percent heeded the strike call, making it an overwhelming success. Large enterprises were particularly effected with company officials marking "between 50 and 90 percent absentee rates. Rallies across the country were reported to be well attended, militant and exuberant, with metal workers dancing in the streets. In a unrelated economic action workers at the world famous Kruger national park are on strike demanding union recognition.
On the eve of the Congress bourgeois newspapers continue speculation around internal leadership strife ignoring the pressing political economic and social concerns of delegates. However, aside from a few articles, there is little attention being paid to Congress developments in the mass media as compared to previous years. Television so far has been particularly lacking in this regard. In the opinion of one delegate from Johanesburg, representing the mine workers union, one big issue before the Congress is whether the SACP will field its own candidates in future elections on separate list from the ANC, describing it as "contending for state power." As of this writing, it is doubtful whether such a move would be accepted by the Congress with many SACP leaders viewing such a move as premature. As part of alliance of the ANC, COSATU and the SACP, all run for office as members of the ANC.
The Congress is due to open on Wednesday and will feature panels on international developments one of which will focus on Latin America. The main business of the event will occur on Thursday.