S African com­mu­nists mull quit­ting ANC elec­tion pact

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

South Africa’s com­mu­nist party has said it could con­test elec­tions on its own rather than as part of the al­liance led by the rul­ing African Na­tional Congress, lo­cal me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day. SACP sec­re­tary gen­eral Blade Nz­i­mande an­nounced the pro­pos­als dur­ing his clos­ing speech to the SACP party congress in Boks­burg near Jo­han­nes­burg on Satur­day. An­a­lysts say that the move, which would hurt the ANC’s elec­toral chances, could be a bid by the SACP to in­flu­ence the party’s lead­er­ship con­test later this year.

The SACP cur­rently fields can­di­dates un­der the ANC’s elec­toral ban­ner as part of South Africa’s “tri­par­tite al­liance”, which com­prises the two par­ties and the COSATU trade union fed­er­a­tion. Nz­i­mande said the party had not yet de­cided which elec­tions to con­test or how it would field its own can­di­dates. “The al­liance mode of oper­a­tion is in­ca­pable of hold­ing to­gether the al­liance any fur­ther,” he said. “If the modus operandi of the al­liance does not change, the al­liance will in­evitably dis­in­te­grate with se­ri­ous con­se­quences,” said Nz­i­mande, ac­cord­ing to the Sun­day Times news­pa­per.

Un­der the pro­pos­als, the SACP would re­main part of the tri­par­tite al­liance, mean­ing that it would not com­pete against the ANC in elec­tions. But suc­cess­ful SACP can­di­dates would have greater au­ton­omy to op­pose ANC poli­cies and min­is­ters than they cur­rently do by stand­ing on the rul­ing party’s elec­toral list.

Gun to the ANC

The move might also rob the ANC of some of its cam­paign­ing clout. The two par­ties, which along with COASTU were the lead­ing anti-apartheid forces, have cam­paigned to­gether since the end of whites-only rule in 1994. But nei­ther of the ju­nior part­ners in the al­liance, the SACP or COSATU, have ever con­tested an elec­tion in their own right. In­de­pen­dent po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Ralph Mathekga sug­gested the move was a way of ap­ply­ing pres­sure on the ANC. The SACP wants its pre­ferred can­di­date, deputy pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, to suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma when the ANC elects a new leader in De­cem­ber.

“What they’ve done with this move is to hold a gun to the ANC and say ‘fine, if you don’t go with our can­di­date, good luck’. They’re in a win-win sit­u­a­tion,” Mathekga said. “They’ve done a very crafty cost-ben­e­fit anal­y­sis. They will not want to re­main in the tri­par­tite al­liance if it’s not a gov­ern­ing al­liance that wins elec­tions.” Some within the SACP fear that Zuma’s ex-wife Nkosazana DlaminiZuma, who with Ramaphosa is a front-run­ner in the ANC lead­er­ship con­test, would rep­re­sent a con­tin­u­a­tion of Ja­cob Zuma’s pres­i­dency and be an elec­toral li­a­bil­ity.

There has been grow­ing dis­quiet within both the SACP and COSATU over the lead­er­ship of Ja­cob Zuma who has been mired by al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and in­com­pe­tence. Pro­pos­als for how the SACP could con­test elec­tions in its own right will be dis­cussed at a party meet­ing in De­cem­ber. South Africa will go to the polls to elect a new par­lia­ment-and pres­i­dent-in 2019. ANC trea­surer gen­eral Zweli Mkhize told a party meet­ing in the Western Cape re­gion yes­ter­day that “chal­lenges within the al­liance must be re­solved”.—AFP

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