SACP deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin at the SACP's special congress. The writer says Cronin and former finance minister Trevor Manuel are at each other's throats over a hoax. Photo: Dumisani Dube

The SACP and the Loch Ness monster are figments of the imagination, writes Eusebius McKaiser.

I’m confused, guys. No, not because my hormones raged when I saw Boity on stage at the MTV Africa Music Awards on Saturday night. Neither AKA nor I were moved by her beauty or her booty, though for very different reasons. He was just sulking that she delayed announcing his award by first praising her man Cassper Nyovest. My confusion, rather, is caused by the political rap battle between Trevor Manuel and Jeremy Cronin in City Press over the past two weeks.

These guys, mimicking AKA and Cassper, have been writing really aggro stuff, for and against, about some organisation that is called, I think, the South African Communist Party. So aggro is the tone of the exchange between them that Cronin even wondered aloud in his response to Manuel whether he can still call his old friend, whom he has known since that time in our country’s history when we still had four provinces, “Trevor”, which signals familiarity, or “Manuel”, which is the impersonal style of newspaper publication.

If you haven’t read these pieces, Manuel basically accused the SACP of no longer being what it used to be, having abandoned its principles and now rather just picking random fights and stuff, with examples ranging from a mooted response to the report on the Marikana massacre to dithering about supporting the National Development Plan, and so forth, and so fifth.

Cronin responded with poetic sarcasm so subtle I almost didn’t recognise it for what it was, and only chuckled after-the-fact. He disses Manuel by saying that he, Cronin, is about to incur the wrath of his SACP colleagues by assuming Manuel was kindly looking out for the interests of the SACP. His response to this magnanimous motive which he sarcastically attributes to his buddy he’s known since the 80s? That, mercifully, Manuel can sleep peacefully at night because Cronin is about to spend the rest of his material demonstrating why, despite being well-meaning, Manuel’s concerns were based on falsehoods.

No, don’t rush to Google to the two pieces now. You really need not worry yourself with the minutiae. Life’s too short, and nothing in the pieces will change your life. You will simply be as confused as I am now.

The source of my confusion? I did not think it was possible for two highly intelligent, articulate, senior politicians to fight about the Loch Ness monster. I thought we had all accepted by now that this monster doesn’t exist, and that photographic evidence, as well as various sonar readings, have never been conclusive.

Nessie, as some refer to it, is probably just the result of confusions with other animal species, a sheer hoax, or something out of Scottish folklore. We are taught, for good methodological reasons, to always settle for inferences to the best, and simplest, explanations when trying to make sense of something baffling like Nessie.

It’s not worth taking on explanations that require you to introduce even bigger mysteries – like centuries-old theories about Nessie – into your belief system. Just dismiss Nessie as a hoax.

Which brings me to the Nessie of the South African political landscape, the SACP. The SACP is a hoax, part of our political folklore, and all sober-minded people surely know there are no commies here, let alone a party of commies?

For a long time now, dodgy photographic and other evidence have been punted as proof of the existence of the SACP. You might have seen pics of people in red T-shirts recently, with a symbol on it that seems to be a black star containing a gold hammer and sickle. They love red so much, some of the people who insist that the SACP is not a hoax, even love drinking copious amounts of red wine too, as proof that communism is alive and well.

But, it is all a charade I’m afraid. The SACP isn’t real. It may be called a communist outfit, but actually it contains men and women who are committed to capitalism, who work inside a capitalist state, who answer to a political party, the ANC, that is committed to capitalism, and they show off the benefits of working tirelessly as functionaries of capitalism daily by living on the posh side of the capitalist divide, as part of the ruling capitalist elite.

Little wonder Madiba said, when some thought commies are infiltrating the ANC-led state, “There will always be those who say that the Communists were using us. But who is to say that we were not using them?” Indeed. The ANC absorbed the SACP into its ranks, but saved it from communist embarrassment by pretending that they were alliance partners with distinct political identities. They were duped.

And so the Manuel-Cronin exchange is as pointless as you and I debating whether the Loch Ness monster prefers coffee to tea. Let’s stick to what’s real, guys.

* Eusebius McKaiser is the best-selling author of A Bantu In My Bathroom and Could I Vote DA? A Voter’s Dilemma.

** The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Independent Media.

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