JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) must emerge from its national conference in Mangaung as a restored party with a committed leadership, says the South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande.
“We believe that the Mangaung conference can and must mark a further step in restoring the ANC to its traditions of revolutionary discipline, non-racialism and the condemnation of self-seeking factionalism,” he told reporters yesterday after the SACP’s central committee meeting on the East Rand.
“We would like to see a leadership that is committed to driven radical transformation. We do not want a leadership of tenderpreneurs and we are unapologetic about that.”
Nzimande said the SACP would not interfere in the debate surrounding the leadership of the ANC.
“The SACP has maintained a principled position of non-interference in the ANC’s internal electoral processes,” he said.
“This is not to say we are disinterested observers.”
Nzimande said the SACP would accept the leadership which emerged from Mangaung in December.
“It (the leadership) is out of our hands as the SACP, but we are very hopeful ANC delegates are smart enough and are political enough to actually decide on that leadership,” he said.
“We do not want a leadership that are lackeys of imperialists and we want a leadership that is committed to the alliance.”
The SACP is in an alliance with the ANC and the Congress of SA Trade Unions.
Nzimande said the SACP had no problem with having a businessperson, like ANC national executive committee member Cyril Ramaphosa, in the top six of the ANC.
“The day the ANC changes and becomes a party that serves the interests of business, then we as the SACP will have a problem,” he said.
“There is nothing wrong with the ANC electing from its own members, the issue is its orientation (as a party).”
He said it was “unfortunate” the media focused only on the leadership of the ANC and not on the policies which would be discussed in Mangaung.
Nzimande also lamented the use of slates for Mangaung. Slates are fixed lists of candidates for specific positions, drafted by rival factions ahead of an elective conference. “Slates are a problem and we all need to be consistent about that.
“We must seek to produce inclusive leadership,” he said.
“We would like to see everyone committed to unity… You mustn’t cry (that there are) slates when your slate is about to be defeated.”
Nzimande said problems arising between different factions at the ANC’s provincial nomination conferences should not detract from its “democratic processes”.
“We have got confidence the ANC is capable of addressing any problems that may arise during its nominations process.”
He said the ANC was more open and democratic in its elective processes than the Democratic Alliance (DA).
“I didn’t even know the DA had a conference. It was quiet (and) there were no democratic processes,” Nzimande said.
“People don’t know which branches (DA) delegates are coming from, and they are being treated in such a sweetheart way by the media.”
At the central committee meeting, the SACP also discussed the unrest in the mining and agricultural sectors, said Nzimande. It congratulated Palestine on being officially recognised by the United Nations as a “non-member observer state”.
The United States, Israel and several other countries had voted against Palestine’s recognition.
“The vote underlines the increasing isolation of the US and its inability to marshal any significant geographical blocs to support its retrograde diplomatic stance,” he said. — Sapa