It is not entirely unconcerned about reports of disruptions and allegations of abuse of process in the ANC's provincial nominations, the South African Communist Party said on Sunday, but is focussing on policy issues rather than ANC leadership.
Despite reports of violence and missed deadlines in some provinces, the SACP congratulated the party for what it called "commendable work" in the run-up to the elective conference.
"We are confident that [the ANC is] capable of addressing any problems that may arise during the nomination process," said general secretary, and Cabinet minister of basic education, Blade Nzimande. "Nevertheless, that doesn't mean we are not concerned about these reports, because we feel it is very important for the ANC to have a smooth process."
Nomination meetings on Friday and Saturday collapsed in Limpopo and allegations of fraud swirled in the Eastern Cape. In the North West, ANC provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge was attacked by gunmen, and the Free State still faces a Constitutional Court challenge around its nomination process, which could theoretically make it unable to participate in the elective conference.
But such reports were overblown, the SACP said, after the conclusion of its last central committee meeting for the year, and according to its own members the problems were not severe. "From our own observations, we think the process on the whole has been positive," said Nzimande.
With President Jacob Zuma now an apparent shoo-in for the ANC presidency, with just under 60% of the vote, the SACP said it was more interested in securing progressive policies at Mangaung, including a push to transform the mining industry and channel money in the financial sector towards infrastructure development. It also wants to ensure that the ANC does not become too friendly with big business, even if Shanduka's Cyril Ramaphosa becomes its deputy president.
"We would like to see a leadership that emerges there that is committed to driving this radical transformation," said Nzimande. "We don't want a leadership of tenderpreneurs. We don't want to have a leadership where we are not sure whether they are the lackeys of capitalism or not."
But the party committed itself to supporting the conference, with its non-voting delegation, and to work with whatever leaders the ANC elects.
In a show of loyalty to the tripartite alliance, the SACP also took every opportunity to belittle the Democratic Alliance (DA), as has become its custom. In reviewing recent events , it linked what it called the "DA's support for labour brokers" with the Marikana massacre, saying such "pseudo-liberal Pontius Pilates will wash their hands of responsibility".
It also accused DA leader Helen Zille of falsely blaming the ANC and "ethnic tensions" for violence by farm workers in the Western Cape, and said "she should hang her head in shame".
With regard to Marikana, the party commended the National Union of Mineworkers for what it called a "self-critical review of the challenges that have arisen largely as a result of its own and broader working class gains", and criticised the police, "pseudo-unions like Amcu", and mining houses that "are now reaping the whirlwind".
In 2007 the SACP involved itself deeply in the ANC's Polokwane electoral conference, despite having no official standing as an organisation. Members subsequently complained that the party had failed to secure important policy resolutions, and also partially blamed its inability to secure government implementation of existing ANC policy on internal power struggles.