From: South Africa's Radical Tradition, a documentary history, Volume One 1907 - 1950, by Allison Drew

Document 20 - Letter from S. P. Bunting to the Secretary, Communist Party of South Africa, 22 September 1930


                                                                                                                                                P.O. Box 4197,


                                                                                                                                  September 22nd 1930.

The Secretary, C.P.

P. O .Box 1176,


Dear Comrade,

In reply to a letter from Com. Roux of the 18th inst., regarding a telegram signed Thibedi the Executive has hitherto not been able to give any directive because it was itself divided. At our last Executive Committee meeting, however, unanimity was bought at the expense of a grant of the hall (which costs the Party nothing except that the Trade Unions have never contributed a penny towards rent) the Thibedites thereupon consenting to the inclusion of the 'formula' remarks about the intolerable situation etc., referred to in the Minutes (unconfirmed) of which I enclose an extract, not of course for publication. On the request for financial assistance the same formula had been put forward as an amendment to a mere reply that we had no money (which was all the reply the Thibedites were willing to give) but it could not be carried for the reasons stated in the Minutes. I also enclose copy of my consequential letter to the Federation.

Thibedi has a certain following among the old Trade Union members, and as you will see the Party is somewhat in the position of a person being blackmailed, as, if on account of Thibedi it runs counter to the Federation, it is denounced as an enemy of the workers.

You ask whether the Thibedi telegram was official? Well, on the 14th instant some nineteen people met in our hall who called themselves the Federation and elected Thibedi General Secretary of the Federation.

As regards the olive branch held out in the Party's letter to Thibedi of 30th June last (written in reply to a request for reinstatement, and never replied to by him), his defiance of the Party since, amounting to very serious mischief making, has been such as to convince me for one that whether or not he was justifiably expelled he deserves to remain outside now. Possibly or probably however the affair will be "liquidated" by an undertaking from him to be a good boy henceforward - the value of which must remain a matter of opinion meanwhile.

As regards the importance of the S.A.F.N.T.U. being represented on October 4 in the present circumstances this must likewise remain a matter of opinion as the Executive has not been able to declare officially on the subject. I for one might say better drop out this time, as the position is tainted and representation amounts to an insolent repudiation of elementary discipline; but others would retort that in this way the party is showing its hostility to the native trade union movement. In circumstances like these I can hardly travel outside my minuted instructions; even this letter travels outside them.

As regards letters from Richfield to Nzula I do not feel able to do more than ask Com. Nzula al the next Executive to produce them. I do not know what they are about. Nzula tells me Thibedi has the letters; so I don't expect to see them.

Thibedi came to me for a donation to delegates expenses: I refused.

G.K. Solundurana, Box 75 Brakpan says he paid 5/ annual sub to Umsebenzi & never got the paper. Please put him on the list. He pad the money to Nzula, but must be credited with it... say from 1 April.

                                                                                                                                           Yours fraternally

                                                                                                                                                 S. P. Bunting

                                                                                                                                                       Actg Sec