The South African Communist Party (SACP) says it wants its general secretary Blade Nzimande to be included in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet in line with the proposed conditions for a reconfigured alliance.
It also wants the ANC to consider co-opting Nzimande into the party’s national executive committee (NEC) as a gesture of its commitment to unite the alliance ahead of next year’s general elections. Nzimande, together with a number of the SACP’s top officials, were dropped from the ANC NEC in December.
Despite its resolution to contest the elections on its own, the communist party now says it will throw its weight behind the governing party and will campaign for it to ensure it retains power after the 2019 elections.
Speaking to journalists during the SACP’s post central committee briefing in Johannesburg on Monday, SACP deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila said the party was hoping Ramaphosa would include Nzimande in his cabinet.
“He [Nzimande] was unceremoniously removed by [former president] Jacob Zuma. He was removed [from cabinet] not because he was incompetent. He was one of the most competent ministers [in Zuma’s cabinet],” said Mapaila. He said his party was expecting Ramaphosa to consider alliance partners when he put together his cabinet.
“This is an alliance-led government. We don’t contest elections on our own. Blade is a leader of the communist party. You can’t have a cabinet without your key allies. The reconfigured alliance must address that,” said Mapaila.
Nzimande said the SACP is in the process of finalising a document on a reconfigured alliance that would guide relations between all the alliance partners. In recent years, the SACP has been complaining about the treatment it was getting from the ANC.
“I don’t want to talk about myself. But the Premier of North West [Supra Mahumapelo] fired [our central committee member Madoda Sambatha without any valid reason]. What kind of an alliance is that? We are happy the ANC has not dismissed [our concerns],” said Nzimande.
He warned that his party would go back to its resolution to contest the elections outside the ANC if the governing party did not change its ways.
“The modus operandi of the alliance must change. We showed through the Metsimaholo by-elections that we are not scared [to contest elections by ourselves]. We don’t want the ANC to lose power, but if it continues to treat the SACP with contempt, we will have other Metshimaholos. We are not scared as the SACP,” said Nzimande. He said he was hoping Ramaphosa would consult the communist party before he announces his cabinet.
“We hope we will be consulted. We are aware the president is talking to the ANC officials. We also have our own views like getting rid of rogue intelligence units. We are not going to discuss names only,” said Nzimande. He said while he agreed with calls for unity within the ANC, this should not mean those implicated in state capture should not be dealt with.
“The SACP commends President Ramaphosa for the leadership role he has now openly assumed in driving the anti-state capture agenda with energy and focus. The parasitic networks are off balance and some leading personalities are literally on the run. Now is the time to press ahead unsparingly. Key levers of public power and leadership structures at various levels are still loaded with personalities historically implicated in state capture networks. A reconstructed and revitalised criminal justice system must be allowed to pursue its responsibilities. A false closing of ranks, a phony ceasefire in the name of ANC unity ahead of the 2019 general elections will betray our struggle and will in fact be rejected at a popular level, not least by the ANC’s own historical support base,” said Nzimande.
Mapaila said the party was disappointed that the ANC did not consult it before Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced the government’s decision during his budget speech last week to increase value added tax (VAT) from 14% to 15%. He said the party would embark on a campaign to put pressure on government to reverse the decision.
“The SACP will be campaigning to ensure that by the time of the next budget, the VAT increase will be rolled back and other measures found to address the deficit, including active recovery of billions of stolen capital, rigorous measures to address tax base erosion and illegal capital flight and a wealth tax”.
Ramaphosa is expected to announce his new cabinet this week.