SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin addresses the media ahead of its 14th national congress at Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg. Picture: Itumeleng English
Johannesburg - The SACP has called on the ANC to discourage the formation of factions and to commit itself to the fight against state capture.

The party stopped short on Monday of saying it would contest elections on its own if the ANC did not put its own house in order.

But it has given itself until December, after the ANC national elective conference, to determine whether the ANC is still fit to be the mother of its alliance partners - or whether to seek an alternative arrangement.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said his party was not sure whether the “ANC wants to unite itself or smash itself”.

“We do not want the ANC to elect a faction at its national elective conference. If we did it in the past, we are no longer prepared to do it,” Nzimande said.

He maintained that the next six months would be an important barometer for his party to carefully study the political situation in the country and the ANC’s efforts to put a stop to state capture.

Although the party declined to reveal the identities of those it regards as factionalists, it was pleased the ANC had agreed to its demand to have the ANC’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, address its 14th national congress at the Birchwood Conference Centre in the east of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

SACP second deputy secretary Solly Mapaila said the decision to have Ramaphosa addressing the congress was for “very obvious reasons”.

“You know that we’ve asked the ANC president (Jacob Zuma) to step down. We did not want a repeat of the May Day fiasco that occurred at the Cosatu celebrations in Bloemfontein. We felt it was appropriate that we wrote to the ANC to inform them that we needed any other delegate, other than the president,” Mapaila said.

They wrote that letter to the ANC to make sure it was not Zuma who was sent to address their delegates, he said.

Supporting the exclusion of Zuma, outgoing SACP first deputy secretary Jeremy Cronin also expressed his disappointment at the ANC’s decision to postpone its traditional political council meetings with its alliance partners.

Cronin described the postponements as “regrettable”, but said his party was still committed to the alliance. “We value the alliance and it is a very important alliance.

"We are committed to the National Democratic Revolution and that requires a national democratic front,” Cronin said.

He was reacting to a question whether the ANC would be contesting the 2019 elections on its own.

Despite its commitment to the alliance, the SACP leaders created the impression during their press briefing that they would not support any candidate backed by Zuma.

“We are not pushing the ANC off the cliff; there are people who are driving it over the cliff,” Cronin said.

According to the SACP, the litmus test for its support of the ANC would be a new leadership that is committed to the fight against state capture. It said the ANC Top Six under Zuma was in “paralysis”.

“We want a leadership capable of renewing and reviving the ANC and deal with state capture,” Cronin said.

The SACP has also committed itself to talk to various ANC senior members, such as the 101 veterans who were shunned by Zuma, as well as Save South Africa, faith-based organisations and other parties not aligned to the ANC with the view to “strengthen the left and socialist forces in the country”.

The SACP leaders said they would continue to talk to those parties if the current leadership “collapses” the ANC.

Mapaila said: “We will continue discussions with Save South Africa to defend our democracy and the constitution.”

He also said their national congress would be addressed by one of the representatives of the 101 veterans, as well as academics in South Africa who were scathing in their report about the state of capture in South Africa - a rare occurrence in the history of the SACP.

Mapaila also announced on Tuesday that he would not be contesting the position of Nzimande and showed his commitment to his leadership.

Most of the SACP leadership, except Cronin, have made themselves available for re-election.

The Star