SACP guns for Num­ber 1

Amid a litany of charges against the gov­ern­ing party, Pres­i­dent Zuma has been sin­gled out as the arch­be­trayer

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

Re­la­tions be­tween the ANC and the SA Com­mu­nist Party (SACP) took a turn for the worse this week, with the SACP charg­ing that its loy­alty was be­ing abused by its close ally. The rocky re­la­tions have formed part of dis­cus­sions at the SACP’s cen­tral com­mit­tee meet­ing, which started on Fri­day in Braam­fontein.

Lead­ers took turns in mak­ing their com­ments on what is un­der­stood to be a frank po­lit­i­cal re­port by party leader Blade Nz­i­mande, which painted a damn­ing pic­ture of the state of the al­liance.

Nz­i­mande’s lengthy re­port also dis­sected the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try and re­flected on how for­mer lib­er­a­tion move­ments treated their Com­mu­nist al­lies af­ter com­ing to power.

SACP spokesper­son Alex Mashilo told City Press that the party’s lead­ers could not bury their heads in the sand and ig­nore the sit­u­a­tion.

“Things have come to the point where the cen­tral com­mit­tee has to pay at­ten­tion to the fact that the party’s rank and file, and lead­ers at the high­est ech­e­lons of the party, be­lieve that the guar­an­teed loy­alty of SACP to ANC is be­ing abused,” he said.

He added that there was strong sen­ti­ment for change in the SACP’s ap­proach to deal­ings with the al­liance part­ners, as the cur­rent for­mat, which had the ANC as the leader and se­nior part­ner, was mori­bund and out­dated.

In­cens­ing the SACP this week was the de­ci­sion by the ANC’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) to abort the probe into the Gupta fam­ily’s al­leged state cap­ture.

They are also angry about Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s fail­ure to rein in the “fac­tional” be­hav­iour of the so­called Premier League, a group that in­cludes the pro­vin­cial chair­per­sons of the Mpumalanga, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State. The fac­tion is be­lieved to be close to the Gup­tas.

SACP lead­ers said the party had now de­cided to draw the line af­ter a se­ries of dis­ap­point­ments and what they re­gard as be­trayal at the hands of the ANC and, in par­tic­u­lar, Zuma. These in­clude :

The sidelin­ing of Com­mu­nists in the coun­cil­lor can­di­date nom­i­na­tion pro­cesses through ma­nip­u­la­tion of branches – an is­sue that is fu­elling de­mands among SACP mem­bers for the party to con­test for po­lit­i­cal of­fice in­de­pen­dently of the ANC;

The ANC reneg­ing on a de­ci­sion by an al­liance sum­mit in 2013 that the SACP con­cerns around na­tional de­vel­op­ment would be ad­dressed. In­stead, the doc­u­ment was en­dorsed by the ANC and is the cen­tral fea­ture of gov­ern­ment pol­icy;

In­for­ma­tion that Zuma is yield­ing to al­leged Gupta pres­sure to axe SACP Cab­i­net min­is­ters;

An al­leged planned on­slaught on the SACP by state or­gans, in­clud­ing the Hawks;

The fail­ure to con­vene a bi­lat­eral meet­ing be­tween the two par­ties be­cause of Zuma never be­ing avail­able;

The con­tin­ued ha­rass­ment of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han by state or­gans and fac­tions of the ANC; and

The in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent and mur­der­ous dis­play of fac­tion­al­ism, and the lead­er­ship’s de­nial of this prob­lem.

City Press was this week told that se­cu­rity around some SACP lead­ers had been beefed up, fol­low­ing death threats against them.

SACP in­sid­ers said the feel­ing of be­trayal by Zuma, who the party fought to el­e­vate to the pres­i­dency and sto­ically de­fended through his swathe of scan­dals, was im­mense.

“The SACP is more dis­ap­pointed in Zuma be­cause they were ex­pect­ing so much [from him], but every now and then he dumps the peo­ple that he works with. Not only in the SACP, but in the ANC it­self you find com­rades mov­ing away from him,” said an SACP in­sider. “Mbeki was anti-Com­mu­nist, but was a bet­ter devil.” The cen­tral com­mit­tee is ex­pected to call for an ur­gent bi­lat­eral meet­ing with the ANC and in­sist that Zuma be present so that they can tackle him di­rectly about the con­tentious is­sues.

ANC spokesper­son Zizi Kodwa said yesterday that the party could not “com­ment on the in­ter­nal think­ing and dis­cus­sions within the SACP”.

Ear­lier in the week, he re­sponded to the SACP’s de­scrip­tion of the NEC as be­ing “led by a fac­tion”, by say­ing that the party should raise is­sues within the al­liance in­stead of mak­ing such a charge pub­licly.

“We re­ject with con­tempt the ac­cu­sa­tions that the ANC NEC is a fac­tion or tak­ing fac­tional de­ci­sions. We are a demo­crat­i­cally elected body. We take de­ci­sions col­lec­tively,” he said.

He added that, while the SACP did not need per­mis­sion to speak out, both par­ties needed to deal with is­sues in a bi­lat­eral meet­ing.

“What must be a pre­oc­cu­pa­tion be­fore we speak is to say where we place the al­liance, and the ANC as the leader of the al­liance.

“Peo­ple can be angry, they have that right. The is­sue at hand is the unity of the al­liance,” he said.

PHOTO: MLANDELI PUZI

HAP­PIER TIMES Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and SACP head Blade Nz­i­mande. Re­la­tions be­tween the two al­liance part­ners have soured, with the SACP pub­licly con­demn­ing the gov­ern­ing party over var­i­ous is­sues re­cently

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