/ 14 October 2008

Nzimande IFP claim ‘smacks of tribalism’

The Young Communist League (YCL) on Tuesday defended South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande, who, according to a former colleague, was once a member of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

A former provincial secretary of the SACP in Limpopo, Justice Pitso, claims that Nzimande had been a member of the IFP. He has called for Nzimande’s resignation from the SACP.

”We must state for the record that we do not doubt the bona fide of Nzimande as both a member of the SACP and ANC, and he has without doubt led these structures at their highest level,” YCL national secretary Buti Manamela said in a statement. ”The statement by Pitso falls squarely within an agenda to deal with the legitimacy of our general secretary.”

Manamela said Pitso’s statement also ”smacked of tribalism, suggesting that all Zulus are IFP members”.

He said ”Pitso’s friends” were involved in an allegation that Nzimande had received R500 000 in cash from a businessman, money that has now disappeared and that saw former Congress of South African Trade Unions president Willie Madisha — perceived to be a supporter of a possible new political party — lose his job.

”The statement by Pitso also smacks of bitterness as he was unceremoniously removed from his leadership position as SACP provincial leader,” said Manamela.

He said the YCL is ”aware that Pitso is part of the Terror Lekota charade”, which intends to build a new political party split from the ANC, but is ”hell-bent to destroy the SACP and the alliance before they leave these structures”.

The IFP said it would not be surprised if Nzimande had been a member of the party.

”The IFP has not checked its membership archives to validate this claim, but seeing that many high-profile ANC alliance officials are former members of the IFP, we do not think it unlikely that Nzimande kicked off his political career in Inkatha,” said IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango.

He pointed out that the IFP had never tried to hide the fact its leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, was once a member of the ANC Youth League.

”The real issue is why anybody’s former membership in the IFP should be regarded as a source of controversy,” said Mncwango.

Destroying the party
Meanwhile, Nzimande said on Tuesday that disgruntled ANC members wanting to found their own party are set on destroying the ruling party.

”[Their] political outlook and motto is: ‘Either we continue to control … the ANC or we destroy it,”’ Nzimande told a national congress of the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa). ”This splinter group has sought to defy internal democratic processes, by planning to leave the ANC because they failed to control it.”

Nzimande said the ”splinter group” used the masses to garner enough votes to ascend to state power and would then abuse benefits such as black economic empowerment (BEE).

”It is not an accident that BEE has been narrow and benefiting only a small elite,” he said. ”It is therefore only this agenda that can be pursued by the splinter group, to find new outlets to pursue a class agenda. For these reasons it is also a reactionary agenda that will only be interested in using the mass of the people for narrow class agendas.”

He said those who were ”crying foul of lack of democracy” in the ANC in fact presided over some of the ”most undemocratic practices” in the movement.

”Its [the dissident group’s] attacks and venom are solely directed at the ANC, and it attempts to try and derail the ANC’s election campaign, and [is] clearly seeking to forge a relationship with some opposition elements on the right of the political spectrum in South Africa,” said Nzimande. — Sapa