SACP Secretary-General Blade Nzimande arriving at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont yesterday accompanied by Zingiswa Losi, first deputy president of Cosatu. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ANA
DURBAN - While the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Free State ditched the ANC and contested the by-elections in Metsimaholo independently, the party in KwaZulu-Natal is waiting for a directive about the future from the central committee.

The central committee met this weekend and among the issues discussed was contesting elections outside the ANC.

The SACP was likely to hold a press conference on Sunday.

SACP KZN chairperson and former eThekwini mayor, James Nxumalo, who attended the meeting, said: “For now, we will stay in the ANC while we await the decision of the central committee. There is nothing wrong with the alliance except a few individuals who are deliberately destroying the organisation.”

He wouldn’t name those few individuals he was referring to.

Although the SACP was registered as a political party on the database of the Independent Electoral Commission(IEC), traditionally, it contested elections through the ANC.

The SACP did not win a single ward of the 21 wards it contested while the ANC retained the 16 other wards it governed.

However, the SACP earned three municipal seats.

Despite the frosty relationship between President Jacob Zuma and the SACP, Nxumalo said they will stay in the ANC alliance “for now”.

The SACP, whose relationship with the ANC spanned decades, blacklisted Zuma from speaking at its events.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions(Cosatu) followed suit.

But presidential hopeful, Cyril Ramaphosa, was welcomed to address the gatherings of these two ANC alliance partners.

Nxumalo said: “This was a collective stance taken by the organisation, not individuals, we all had to comply...”

For years, the SACP had been threatening to divorce itself from the ANC, citing the fraught relationship within the ANC, SACP and Cosatu alliance. The last straw for the SACP, it seems, was Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle where he axed its general-secretary, Blade Nzimande, who served as the Minister of Higher Education and Training.

ith the Free State SACP becoming the first to act on the threats, questions were being asked whether other regions would follow suit.

Nxumalo said they had never spoken about leaving the alliance. Nxumalo had previously cried foul over how the branch general meetings of the ANC were held before the December elective conference.

Nxumalo said SACP members were barred from participating in the BGMs. The SACP has endorsed Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma in December.

Political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu said: “They are basically testing the waters here, unfortunately they did not fare well in the by-elections in the Free State, which placed them in a predicament because the message they wanted to send to the ANC had backfired.”

Mngomezulu said it was difficult for the SACP to leave the ANC because some of its leaders held government positions like ministers and deputies, which they would have to relinquish if the SACP left the alliance.

“They are caught between a rock and a hard place.”

Mngomezulu said: “The ANC is currently not in good shape, so it would be dented if all communists left the alliance before the 2019 elections.”

Mngomezulu added that the road ahead for the SACP would be bumpy.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE