Johannesburg - The South African Communist Party (SACP) chairman, Senzeni Zokwana, has come out very strongly against the Gupta family, criticising its alleged meddling in matters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), saying this has weakened the party's alliance partner.
This comes as news of "state capture" by the controversial Gupta family, through its influence in government and state-owned enterprises are continuously revealed in emails leaked to the media.
"We cannot allow the country to be influenced by one family. If they are business people, they must behave as such and stop dragging the ANC through the mud," Zokwana said.
"The Guptas tried to influence leadership outcomes at NUM [National union of Mineworkers] since 2012, dishing out cash, but they failed. They must leave the ANC alone. We can never be dragged into a situation where ANC loses its standing in public because of one family."
Zokwana was speaking on Tuesday at the opening of the SACP 14th National Congress where delegates will elect new party leadership and decide whether the party should contest elections.
He said the SACP was meeting at a time when there was a cloud hanging over the ANC and where its ability to win the elections in 2019 was being questioned.
Zokwana said the ruling party was going through pains, but asked who was willing to assist it to go out of them.
"We are meeting at the time when the president of the ANC has been advised to step down, so that the ANC can be able to solve its problems without being tarnished by what has been describe as the ANC that is corrupt."
"At [Port Elizabeth] we debated the issue of working towards a reconfigured alliance. When we go to our commissions we should discuss as to what will be the role of the Communist Party in this political juncture," Zokwana said.
"It is whether comrades are going to say we are going to go our own way and leave the ANC with those comrades who are still fighting to change the ANC. But our challenge now is to build a strong Cosatu because without a strong Cosatu workers will be vulnerable."
"The [SACP] must debate that very thoroughly and not take decisions out of anger, but be sober and engaged so that when we leave here we are very clear of what the party position is going to be going forward," Zokwana said.
"Factionalism is not only killing the ANC but is rendering the structures unworkable. The ANC is going to its elective conference in December, and I think we should debate that without maybe coming up with names."
Zokwana also said that the main debate on "White Monopoly Capital" at the ANC National Policy Conference last week had been disappointing.
"I believe that the enemy of our National Democratic Movement is corruption, is factions, is leadership who do not listen to structures. It is gate-keeping. When you're sick, you consult a doctor and then the doctor will prescribe to you what medication to take," Zokwana said.
"I was puzzled at the ANC policy conference when some were refusing to accept the diagnostic report that was telling [us] what was wrong with the ANC."