SACP won’t bow to ANC in 2018

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has warned the ANC that it will not co-operate with its plans for the next year unless its relationship is redefined and a clearly outlined document is developed stating how the two parties will collaborate.

The SACP’s decision to contest elections hangs in the balance, spokesperson Alex Mashilo told the Mail & Guardian this week. If the ANC does not redesign the way the alliance operates, the SACP has a standing resolution to contest elections without the governing party. 

“Reconfiguration of the alliance must happen within three months and is going to be very important for elections, because the SACP conference resolved that when we contest elections it should under the umbrella of the reconfigured alliance, or without it,” Mashilo said.

“The SACP is not prepared to campaign only to experience what we have experienced under the leadership of Zuma, which we had experienced under the leadership of Mbeki,” he added.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande delivered the party’s a message of support at the ANC’s 106 birthday celebrations in East London on Saturday, where he said the ANC should respect the people of South Africa.

“Our country needs the ANC but the ANC needs to respect the country. Don’t take the country for granted. In order to lead our country, we need to listen to what the people say,” Nzimande said.

Relations between the SACP and ANC reached an all time low last year, as the communists accused president Jacob Zuma of wanting to purge their leaders from cabinet positions. At the ANC’s national conference, Nzimande and a number of senior SACP leaders were not re-elected to the party’s national executive committee.

On Saturday, Nzimande began his speech by dispelling rumours about dissatisfaction in their ranks.

“Before those who are mischievous say something else; The SACP fully accepts the outcome of the 54th conference of the ANC.”

Mashilo explained that reconfiguration of the alliance means better consolation before decisions are taken within the ANC.

“The reconfiguration of the alliance has implications. Going forward there are serious implications because we have two political entities within the alliance. You can’t just decide this person will be in this position, what about the other political entity?”

The January 8 statement only said former ANC president Oliver Tambo called on the party’s members to unite the tripartite alliance.

Ramaphosa, who was supported by both the SACP and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) also failed to make substantive remarks about the state of the relationship between the partners.

After the new ANC president’s address, SACP central committee member Thulas Nxesi said the party was very happy with Ramaphosa’s remarks on corruption and state capture.

The SACP was the first South African political party to call for a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture, and said it now feels vindicated by Zuma’s decision to appoint it.

“The issues we wanted to hear are the issues of how we are going to deal with state capture, which is the biggest problem and that has been well articulated,” Nxesi told the M&G.

“We are still going to engage on the issues of the alliance… but our leader Blade [Nzimande] was clear that we need reconfiguration. I think we must prioritize the alliance meetings from now on.”

But the ANC did acknowledge that corruption has dented the relationship between the alliance partners.

“Corruption in SOEs and other public institutions has undermined government’s programmes to address poverty and unemployment, weakened key institutions, discouraged investment and contributed to division within the ANC and the Alliance,” the January statement read.

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Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

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