SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande. Picture: @SACP1921/Twitter

Johannesburg - The SACP used its 98th-anniversary celebration in Mpumalanga on Sunday to blast the EFF, accusing it of defending tax dodgers and those looting the state so that it can benefit financially.

Addressing the party celebrations in Ermelo, SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said the recent attacks on Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan by the red berets were an act of vindictiveness due to the minister’s role in exposing EFF leader Julius Malema’s tax woes.

Malema was flagged by the SA Revenue Service (Sars) seven years ago for tax evasion amounting to R16million.

This was in relation to payments allegedly made to his Ratanang Family Trust by companies said to have unlawfully secured lucrative contracts from the Limpopo government during his tenure as ANC Youth League president.

“The reason they are fighting comrade Pravin Gordhan is simple. Comrade Gordhan was a commissioner at the SA Revenue Service and he was the one who was the first to say that Ratanang Trust in Limpopo has not been paying taxes and it has not declared all the money it has been getting,” Nzimande said.

He added that the EFF was bitter about Gordhan cleaning up the country’s state-owned entities of corruption because this harmed the interests of those who were looting state utilities and in turn funding the party.

“Some people are eating from these SOEs but they do not have the courage to speak. The real reason why they are fighting Pravin is because he is going to trample upon some of the people who are supporting the EFF,” he said.

Nzimande further added that the EFF was unhappy with Gordhan because he had helped nail tax dodgers and illicit cigarette smugglers, including controversial businessman and EFF benefactor Adriano Mazzotti.

“We know that the EFF was given money to register as a political party for the first time by Mazzotti who is fighting with the SA Revenue Service,” he said.

The SACP was formed in 1921 and the party was declared illegal in 1950 by the apartheid government.

Together with the ANC, the party helped form Umkhonto weSizwe in 1961 as an armed wing to fight against the apartheid regime.

Nzimande said communist party members had to swell the ranks of the ANC as an effort to save the party from its multiple weaknesses, including factionalism and corruption by some of its leaders.

“Given some of the very serious challenges facing all of our organisations, but especially the ANC, let us go and swell the ranks of the ANC.

“Where some of those branches are closed because of gatekeeping, let us confront the gatekeeping head-on and intensify community mobilisation for local development,” he said.

He also took a swipe at former president Jacob Zuma, accusing him of trying to defocus the nation from the state capture allegations against him when he accused some of his former ministers of having been apartheid spies when he testifies at the Zondo commission.

“We must also refuse to be defocused from the tasks of uprooting state capture and dealing decisively with other forms of corruption.

“That is why we must not allow ourselves to be diverted by spurious 30-year-old claims about spies in our ranks. The sole aim of these claims is to defocus us and cause conflict inside our movement,” he said.

Young Communist League national secretary Tinyiko Ntini hailed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration for taking a tough stance against corruption.

Cosatu deputy president Mike Shingange called for vigilance over ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule and his allies, accusing them of wanting to sabotage Ramaphosa and recapture the ANC.

“We must ask ourselves if we allow these people to succeed, which alliance are we going to have?” said Shingange.

Political Bureau