SACP mem­bers in KZN want to con­test elec­tion

CityPress - - News - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI hlengiwe.nhlabathi@city­press.co.za

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.

Themba Mthembu

Alex Mashilo

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