ANC’s al­liance part­ner is adamant that the pres­i­dent should step down if the Gup­tas, Brian Molefe and Sassa aren’t dealt with swiftly

CityPress - - Front Page - HLENGIWE NHLABATHI and SETUMO STONE news@city­

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


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