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SACP slams 'factional' calls for ministers' axing

Politics
Johannesburg – Calls for Cabinet members such as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to be fired are factional and will not help unite the deeply divided African National Congress, the SA Communist Party (SACP) said on Sunday.

"We do not like this thing of being shouted at from the streets as ministers that we should be removed... because often these calls are just factional, such as the call on comrade Pravin [to be fired]... this does not help the alliance at all," SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande told reporters in Johannesburg after the SACP's central executive committee meeting over the weekend.

The SACP was focused on trying to unite the alliance and not pay attention to factions within the ANC, he said.

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SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande and his deputy Jeremy Cronin brief media in Johannesburg following the party's executive committee meeting. Photo: Getrude Makhafola/ANA

The party slammed the appointment of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe as an MP – seen as a means by President Jacob Zuma to appoint him as a minister, possibly to replace Gordhan.

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) over the weekend repeated its call on Zuma to fire Gordhan. ANCYL leader Collen Maine told ANC members at a rally in KwaZulu-Natal that Gordhan's department was "blocking the realisation of economic freedom" and urged Zuma to fire him. Zuma also attended the rally.

Nzimande said the SACP would have advised the ANC differently if it was consulted on Molefe's appointment.

"The ANC cannot simply wake up and decide on its own on a matter like this and thereafter expect us to close ranks behind such a decision and agree... as if we were consulted. These are the kind of issues we're pointing out and that they should come to an end," Nzimande said.

On a reported looming cabinet reshuffle, SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin said the SACP would comment on it if and when it happened.

The SACP was taking a stand against cronyism and corruption, he said.

"We believe there is no neutral side when it comes to corruption; we do take a side with those who are against this scourge. Those who have something to hide will accuse the SACP of criticising them on the grounds that we support a certain faction... we do not support factions or personalities," Cronin said.

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