SACP members in KZN want to contest election
A decision by the SA Communist Party (SACP) not to contest elections on its own has come back to haunt the leadership as disgruntled members in KwaZuluNatal threaten to go out on their own anyway.
The SACP’s politburo meeting in Johannesburg on Friday heard that disgruntled ANC members in the province had also joined the call for the party to contest state power.
The renewed lobby – which had been defeated at a special national congress last year – had been prompted by concerns that the selection of councillor candidates was not fair and transparent, particularly in eThekwini in Durban.
Among the reasons cited as evidence that the SACP should change tact was this week’s violence in eThekwini’s Ward 4 in Inchanga, where two SACP members were gunned down during a meeting that was held to discuss the alleged factional manner in which the ANC conducted the selection of councillors.
SACP and ANC top brass were set to visit Inchanga after complaints that no action had been taken by the leadership to resolve grievances raised since tensions played out in public ahead of the ANC’s provincial conference in October and the eThekwini regional conference in November.
KwaZulu-Natal SACP secretary Themba Mthembu told City Press that frustrated members of the ANC were “begging the SACP to consider contesting the polls”.
“It’s something that its being looked at, especially by disgruntled members of the ANC who have asked the party to stand on its own,” he said.
At the SACP special national congress last July, some branches of the SACP unsuccessfully tried to lobby the leadership to consider contesting state power.
Ordinary members of the SACP argued that the party needed to end its reliance on the ANC to govern. But the final resolution was to establish a committee to assess the party’s options.
However, the growing frustration among SACP members in KwaZulu-Natal – as well as among some ANC members – resuscitated the call for the SACP to field its own candidates or support independents.
Mthembu said the committee would hold its first sitting in the second week of February.
“That matter will be raised there. The issue of state power is ongoing. The pressure is just too much going to local elections. Comrades are really frustrated.”
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has dismissed talk that there was a crisis in the nomination process, saying there were only a few isolated incidents
But there were already warnings that if the ANC – as the leader of the alliance – did not act urgently, it risked losing the province to independent candidates.
Insiders said leaders at the Friday SACP meeting raised questions about the way the alliance was functioning.
Another SACP leader said there was a decision to schedule a meeting with the ANC to also voice concern about the nomination process. SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said party members could only stand for elections through the alliance.
“We want to ensure that we move ahead in unity. As part of ensuring that, the SACP nationally will be intervening as a matter of urgency. This includes engaging within the alliance. We have heard what the provincial leadership is saying and the most important issue raised was the lack of intervention at a national level,” he said on Friday after the meeting.
Mthembu said the only way to force them to reverse a provincial executive committee decision not to continue to participate in the ANC processes would be when all structures abided by the constitution and guidelines on nomination of councillors.