Johannesburg - Attempts by a group of former cabinet ministers and academics to get South Africans not to vote for the ANC will have no impact on the May elections, say the ruling party’s alliance partners.
They have accused former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and the rest of the group of trying to undermine the May 7 polls.
“It is a propaganda trick. He is a Polokwane griever like the Midrand group,” SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday.
Kasrils and other former ANC members – some of them part of the so-called Midrand group – did not renew their ANC membership after former president Thabo Mbeki was defeated in Polokwane in 2007.
The “Vukani! Sidikwe! (Wake Up! We are Fed up) No-vote campaign” is urging traditional ANC voters not to vote for the ruling party and to spoil their ballots if they cannot find it in themselves to support another political party.
They believe that under President Jacob Zuma, the ANC is more corrupt than ever and has lost its principles.
But after a bilateral meeting between the SACP and Cosatu, Nzimande came out guns blazing, accusing Kasrils, a former SACP member, of having no principles himself.
“Every production process produces its own factory faults. There is no principle in what they are doing.
“Why didn’t Ronnie do this at the height of Aids denialism when he was a minister or deputy minister? If he was principled, he would have walked away,” said Nzimande.
He was referring to Mbeki’s reign when many people were denied antiretrovirals and died because it was believed that HIV did not cause Aids.
Nzimande said ultimately the struggle against the group was a political one, and they would be defeated at the polls.
“The struggle of our movement was about the vote,” he said.
In the lead-up to the elections, the ANC has been fighting threats to how well it would do at the polls from all fronts. The most serious is from Cosatu’s largest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa). The union is facing suspension or expulsion from Cosatu for withdrawing its electoral support for the ANC.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was also not campaigning for the ANC while he was suspended from the union federation. But Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said on Wednesday that Vavi had had a change of heart since being reinstated.
“He is campaigning for the ANC. Cosatu wants a decisive victory for the ANC on May 7,” he said.
Reporters had questions for Vavi on whether he was campaigning for the ruling party, but he did not attend Wednesday’s media briefing as he was sick, according to Dlamini.
Although Dlamini tried to downplay Vavi’s absence, there were also many questions about why Cosatu had not taken the opportunity to show a united front.
Since Vavi’s reinstatement, he has not shared a platform with Dlamini and Nzimande, who have been some of his chief opponents in the tripartite alliance.
The main objective of the bilateral meeting was to align the electoral campaigning and messages of Cosatu and the SACP.
They urged workers to vote for the ANC as important class victories had been achieved under the its 20-year reign.
These included the electrification of 1 million more households, the doubling of enrolments in Further Education and Training colleges, the consolidation of the industrial action plan, and ensuring that 75 percent of the procurement done by state-owned enterprises was local.