SACP says fee re­port was kept from Blade

Sunday Times - - NEWS - By QAANITAH HUNTER

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

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