ANC distances itself from Masetlha’s comments

The African National Congress said on Friday it had ‘read with regret” comments in the Mail & Guardian attributed to national executive member Billy Masetlha and other ‘faceless individuals” regarding the tripartite alliance.

The M&G reported on Friday that Masetlha had become the first senior leader to express concerns publicly about the growing dominance of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party in the ANC.

Masetlha singled out SACP boss Blade Nzimande as the main architect behind the left’s socialist agenda within the party, saying he found it strange that Nzimande had abandoned the SACP to join the Cabinet and was now trying hard to influence the direction of the ANC.

‘The notion that the ANC is under threat of ‘the push by Cosatu and the SACP for a socialist agenda’ is unfounded and regrettable”, said the ANC in a statement.

‘It is not within the traditions and protocols of the alliance to talk about alliance relations in public and through the media. These matters as reported have not been discussed within the constitutional structures of the ANC. Therefore, they cannot be
regarded as the generally held views and perspectives of the ANC leadership,” said the ruling party.

‘The ANC is of the opinion that any issues relating to the alliance should and will be discussed through the soon to be convened alliance summit as resolved by the ANC NEC.

‘The ANC expects any of its leaders to wait for the alliance summit to raise any issues relating to the alliance.”

Masetlha told the M&G. “I will have a problem with someone trying to impose a communist manifesto on the ANC. We fired a lot of [comrades] in the past who wanted to do the same thing.”

He also took issue with President Jacob Zuma’s silence regarding the left’s agenda in the ANC, warning him that if he did not take a firm stand on the new tendencies, ANC members would revolt against him as they had against his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki.

Zuma has been criticised by some within the ANC for succumbing to leftist pressure on a number of key decisions taken since he became president. These include the removal of Tito Mboweni as Reserve Bank governor, the removal of the SABC board and the appointment of Ebrahim Patel as economic development minister.

Zuma has come under pressure for failing to defend Trevor Manuel, minister in the presidency for national planning, whom alliance leaders have been attacking for pushing the agenda of the “1996 Class Project”, in the form of mainstream macroeconomic policies.

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