Johannesburg - SA Communist Party (SACP) deputy chairperson, Thulas Nxesi, on Wednesday reprimanded the unruly behaviour of some party members whom he urged to be disciplined.
Nxesi's reprimand was prompted by the disruption caused by the Moses Mabhida region from KwaZulu-Natal with sporadic singing.
The SACP national congress is expected to elect new leaders on Wednesday - the second day of party's 4th national congress being held in Boksburg. Delegates will nominate candidates for the central executive committee and later cast their votes.
The first deputy general secretary, Jeremy Cronin is not standing for any leadership position, while second deputy secretary Solly Mapaila is not contesting incumbent Blade Nzimande for the secretary general position as had been widely speculated. Nzimande, who has been the face of the SACP since 1998, is likely to be re-elected.
In March, the party’s Moses Mabhida Region said it supported the view that the current top leadership should remain largely unchanged. It could not be immediately established what the region was agitated about on Wednesday as reflected by the disruptive singing.
Nxesi, as the chairperson for the morning plenary session, took liberty to read delegates the riot act before the official programme began.
He read delegates the Congress' Code of Conduct which included the rule that delegates should be prepared to consider views contrary to their own in a bid to ensure freedom of expression.
"We have commended what you've done which is positive. But comrades we must express our dissatisfaction and disappointment about the behaviour of some of the comrades," Nxesi said.
"The tendencies which we see here, we see them when you differ with some of the ANC branches and in the EFF where people are harangued and people start singing when they differ with somebody, it's out of order in the Communist Party. So don't bring those tendencies here. Interventions of heckling, howling, shouting, jeering, whistling, and other similar interventions, including booing, are not allowed."
Nxesi said delegates should be mature and use the power of persuasion to put across their points, not hooliganism.
"You see comrades if you do that in a meeting of the Communist Party, awuphekekanga [you are not mature]. These are the tendencies which we were complaining about that we are barred from some of the branches of the movement, then why do you display such tendencies?," Nxesi asked.
"Ours is to debate and debate until the cows come back home. Debate and persuade one another. We do not force people to agree on our position by threats, by booing and so on. We do it by persuasion so that at the end the powerful reasoning rules. If this continues, we will call the delegation leader and throw out those comrades once we identify them."
After Nxesi's rebuke, some delegates left the marquee and carried on singing outside.
African News Agency