Blade Nzimande, SACP secretary-general

DURBAN: The SACP made a last-ditch effort to keep the tripartite alliance intact yesterday and told the ANC to force President Jacob Zuma to dump the “immigrant Indian family”.
If not, general secretary Blade Nzimande said the SACP could “go it alone” in the 2019 elections.

But Bantu Holomisa, president of the United Democratic Movement, laughed off Nzimande’s spitting and snarling, saying that for the SACP to prove it was serious, all its cabinet ministers, MPs and MPLs, as well as councillors, should immediately resign to prevent access to government money to bolster their campaigns.

“It would not be far-fetched to say this whole exercise is a stage-managed ruse to draw attention away from the lame ANC leadership, whose credibility is shot.

“The SACP is stepping into the limelight to take the moral high ground, for now, and once the results are announced in 2019, the SACP and the ANC enter into a coalition government.”

Nzimande, in his old rabble-rousing style, said it was “outrageous, embarrassing and humiliating that an immigrant Indian family (the Guptas) can have control over the ANC president. That’s the reason we’ve lost confidence in Zuma.”

His conciliatory tactics differed drastically with the popular view displayed by party members at the conclusion of the 14th National Congress at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg.

After a resolution on state power was accepted the majority of the provinces, including Mpumalanga which had the largest delegation, chanted they had won the battle for the SACP to contest the 2019 national elections alone. However, their national leaders sang a different tune.

Nzimande said they had taken a decision to consult the ANC and discuss the outcome of their congress resolution before any decision was made.

It became evident that the leadership wanted to remain in the alliance.

“We may or may not contest elections separately. We will be guided by the ANC. Our road map will determine our future decision after our meetings with the ANC.

“We have also not engaged Cosatu. When we do take a decision to contest elections alone, we need the firm support of Cosatu and workers countrywide, including other parties from the left. We still have faith in the alliance,” Nzimande said.

While the SACP has repeatedly called for Zuma to step down, it has mysteriously decided to take its cue from the ANC on what role its members should play on a vote of no-confidence against the president, scheduled for August 8 in Parliament.

“We have not taken any resolution on that issue. The ANC will decide.”

But Nzimande warned his party members that if negotiations failed with the ANC, responsibility lay with them to canvass for funds.

He warned them to stay clear of “dirty funds from the Guptas”, saying “it would bring you bad luck”.

“You cannot take the kind of resolutions you have taken here and have business as usual. We must strengthen the organisational, financial and the campaigning capacity of branches and other structures.

“We must not have passengers. We must remove them from leadership.”

According to Nzimande, a decision on contesting alone would be taken only if the ANC shunned proposals to have equal status in all decisions made in the alliance. This included the deployment of members to senior and leadership positions in Parliament and other spheres of government.

In the past, according to the SACP, the ANC had played a dominant role and allegedly abused SACP members. “The alliance remains strategic, but the way in which it functions is outdated. It can no longer hold together the alliance.

“If the modus operandi does not change, the alliance will disintegrate, with serious consequences,” Nzimande said.

He said there had been a rise of factionalism with the ANC the epicentre. This had led to marginalisation of consensus-seeking consultation with the alliance by leaders in positions of power and ANC structures.

“Coupled with these destructive tendencies, the rise of authoritarianism is undermining the alliance and its strategic relevance.”

Nzimande said the alliance last held a national summit two years ago. He said it should have had an economic policy summit before the national congress but that, too, did not happen - insinuating that it was due to political bullying by some in the ANC.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE