SACP GIVES ZUMA AN ULTIMATUM
ANC’s alliance partner is adamant that the president should step down if the Guptas, Brian Molefe and Sassa aren’t dealt with swiftly
The SA Communist Party (SACP) has trained its guns on President Jacob Zuma, saying he should be removed if the ANC failed to deal with the Guptas, former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe and the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa). During the bilateral meeting of the two alliance partners on Monday at St George Hotel in Tshwane, the SACP left the governing ANC with two options: revoke the Guptas’ citizenship, kick Molefe out of Parliament and investigate Sassa, or the party would up the ante and start a campaign for Zuma to step down.
The party also warned that the practice of using state organs to settle political scores should stop, City Press has learnt.
Zuma and his colleagues in the ANC remained mum as the SACP went on the onslaught, saying it was Zuma’s responsibility to lead efforts to unite the movement and the alliance.
The ANC requested that the gathering be pushed back for at least two weeks until March 27 so it could prepare a proper response.
Led by SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, who is also higher education minister, the party wanted Zuma to denounce the so-called Premier League faction because, as a leader, he had more responsibility to lead the fight against factionalism.
Zuma and some ANC leaders have denied the existence of the Premier League, which is believed to consist of the premiers of North West, Mpumalanga and the Free State.
On Friday, SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila declined to discuss the meeting, but confirmed the party’s position on the Guptas and Sassa.
“We spoke about the toxic role of the Gupta family that continues in the movement. Of course, as you know, the relationship with the president is a conundrum of sorts. We called for [the Guptas’] citizenship to be revoked,” he told City Press on Friday.
Mapaila said Zuma had betrayed the Polokwane truce, as those who helped him dethrone former president Thabo Mbeki had expected things to be done differently. “It’s not because we are not getting favours. It’s about the order we outlined in the run-up to Polokwane. We said we needed a change of leadership. We wanted a leadership that would unify the movement, but it has got worse.” The SACP has over the past few months called on Zuma to distance himself from the Guptas and even confronted him about it last year, but he has yet to do so. Relations between the SACP and its close ally seem to have reached a sour state, particularly as its leaders feel betrayed by Zuma. Monday’s bilateral meeting was unusual as it was attended by the ANC’s top six officials and national working committee members on one side and the SACP’s top six accompanied by its Politburo on the other. Ordinarily, bilaterals are attended only by the top six officials of both parties. This has been viewed as attempts by the ANC to manage discussions sharply raised with the top six at the last bilateral meeting eight months ago. Mapaila said the perception was that the larger the meeting, the less the openness or frankness from their side. “We don’t want to be managed by the ANC and they won’t succeed if they try to manage us. We don’t want to be managed by the creation of unnecessary forums that have no consequence to issues. We are not interested in unending meetings.” At the bilateral meeting held last July, the SACP raised a number of critical matters about the state of affairs in the movement, but the ANC did not respond, arguing there was not enough time. It was the same case this week, leading to the meeting being postponed to March 27, much to the disappointment of the SACP, which had hoped to settle the pressing issues it has with its closest ally. Some of the other issues awaiting the ANC’s response from the last meeting relate to factionalism in the ANC; the toxic role played by the Gupta family in the ANC and the state; and the need to intensify the fight against corruption. Mapaila said all they wanted was to resolve problems facing the movement. He warned that whoever won the elective conference of the ANC at the end of the year would leave with only a shell of that party if vexing matters were not attended to.
It’s about the order we outlined in the run-up to Polokwane. We said we needed a change of leadership. We wanted a leadership that will unify the movement, but it has got worse
RESOLUTE Solly Mapaila