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The SACP kicked off its national conference on Wednesday by dispelling speculation that the party was preparing to break from its alliance with the ANC and Cosatu and go it alone in the next elections.
Party spokesman Malesela Maleka said that as much as the SACP was interested in political power it would seek that within the alliance framework.
“We are a party for socialism and yes we are interested in political power so the issue of contesting elections cannot be completely wiped off the agenda, but right now we are not looking at that.”
The SABC had earlier reported that the party was readying itself to contest the elections. But the SACP said such a report was a distortion of the facts adding that it remained committed to the Tripartite Alliance.
DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said on Wednesday it was unlikely that the SACP would contest the elections independently of the ANC as SACP leaders were concerned about keeping their positions in the government.
“The fact of the matter is that the SACP knows that it can never hope to win an election and its leaders therefore won’t risk going it alone. They are hiding behind the ANC as a means to hold on to what little influence they have left,” Maimane said.
Maleka responded angrily to this, saying his party would not entertain the DA.
“What they are saying is absolute rubbish. What the DA wants to do is to provoke us so they could break this alliance. We have no time for the DA… All the DA should be doing is preparing to kiss the Western Cape goodbye,” he said.
About 2 100 delegates had descended on the University of Zululand outside Richards Bay.
On Thursday discussions would start at the conference with the main focus expected to be on Nzimande’s political report and the South African Road to Socialism document, which maps out the party’s five-year plan and how it plans to influence the country’s policies.
Among the suggestions in the document is the scrapping of the “narrow BEE” model and labour brokering.
Not much contestation for positions is expected at the conference with party general secretary Blade Nzimande and his deputy, Jeremy Cronin, set to be re-elected into their respective positions unopposed.
National Union of Mineworkers president Senzeni Zokwana is expected to replace Gwede Mantashe as the party’s national chairman.
Mantashe – who also doubles as ANC secretary-general – recently announced that he would not stand for re-election into the SACP position.
But many provinces are in favour of keeping Mantashe as one of the additional members in the party’s highest decision making body, the central executive committee.
Former trade unionist Thembelani Nxesi, who was recently appointed public works minister, is tipped to take over as deputy chairman while Joyce Moloi-Moropa is a front-runner for the position of national treasurer.
Pumulo Masuale, who is also the chairman of the ANC in the Eastern Cape, is the current treasurer of the SACP.
Also expected at the conference are constitutional amendments which would create at least one or two positions of deputy general secretary.
This is meant to strengthen the secretariat which some believe was weakened after Nzimande and Cronin were appointed into president Jacob Zuma’s cabinet.
Zuma is expected to address the conference on Friday.