Communists at crossroads
THE SACP is holding its 14th national congress in Boksburg this week – and general secretary Blade Nzimande was quick to throw down the gauntlet.
Hot on the heels of the ANC’s national policy conference last week, Nzimande pulled no punches when he spoke of the still unanswered tsunami of email revelations pointing to state capture at the highest organs of government – right into the bosom of President Jacob Zuma’s own family.
He was scathing too of how the Gupta family have brazenly suborned democratic institutions to slake their parasitic greed.
Indeed, we can expect more of the same from this week’s congress as many of the ANC stalwarts who were vilified last week are given pride of place and invited to address the comrades, as well as delegates from Save South Africa.
But the SACP will not pull out of the alliance with the fractured ANC and the perilously weakened Cosatu; instead, it will ask them to get rid of Zuma.
The SACP could not have been more pointed in its antipathy to Zuma than it already has – by disinviting him from delivering one of the keynote speeches – an unimaginable snub even 12 months ago – instead asking Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to speak in his stead. But is it enough? The SACP has long fought well above its weight, being represented in government since the first halcyon days of democratic liberation, yet never fighting an election on its own. Nzimande himself has reigned unopposed as general secretary for 19 years; indeed, he was once one of Zuma’s most fervent supporters.
For many South Africans, though, the SACP always seems to manage to deftly tiptoe through a minefield of conflict, talking socialism but walking capitalism, compromising on principle for the pragmatism of remaining in government.
By its own account, it can no longer be party to a government so obviously captured, corrupt and inimical to its members’ interests – it will drum out this message continuously over the next few days.
So what will it actually do to become part of the solution – and stop the rot?