SACP says fee report was kept from Blade
The SACP asked President Jacob Zuma to reinstate party boss Blade Nzimande as higher education minister, but Zuma refused.
The request was made at the tripartite political council meeting behind closed doors at Luthuli House at which the communists accused Zuma of withholding the tertiary fees report from Nzimande, to use it as a campaign tool before the ANC December conference.
SACP leaders are said to have told the meeting that Zuma sought to portray Nzimande as having failed to deliver free education.
Zuma has been sitting on the report since it was handed to him two months ago. He issued a statement this week saying he was still consulting the “relevant ministers” before making it public.
SACP leaders demanded that Zuma reverse his decision to reshuffle his cabinet and reinstate Nzimande.
Nzimande and his first deputy, Solly Mapaila, took turns tabling the party’s input. They told the meeting that Luthuli House was failing to keep Zuma on a leash as he had gone on the rampage, refusing to implement an ANC decision to establish an inquiry into state capture and removing Pravin Gordhan without consultation.
The SACP likened Zuma’s failure to consult to the behaviour that led to Thabo Mbeki’s removal.
Zuma told the communists he would not reinstate Nzimande because Nzimande was the one who had acted like Mbeki.
A source close to the meeting told the Sunday Times that Zuma was defensive and did not hide the fact that Nzimande’s removal from the cabinet was in retaliation for the SACP’s calls for Zuma’s removal.
“He said they should have told him privately about their decision that he must step down. He said the SACP acted like Mbeki and now he was forced to fight back,” the source said.
The SACP’s comments on Zuma’s lack of appetite to consult the ANC and its allies was echoed by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who told the meeting that there had been no proper consultation before “serious decisions” were taken.
Mantashe is said to have told the meeting that decisions were now being taken by a group of people who boasted about this on social media.
However, he also had a tongue-lashing for both the SACP and Cosatu, saying that the two alliance partners had been “rude and crude” when raising their concerns with Luthuli House.
But he agreed with the SACP on the need to consider a reconfiguration of the tripartite alliance.
“Mantashe said we need to ask if it was not the time to part ways and relate on a coalition level. He raised the issue of the SACP contesting by-elections in the Free State and the Western Cape.”
Mantashe was not available for comment. SACP spokesman Alex Mashilo said he could not comment on internal discussions.
SACP leader Blade Nzimande