The South African Communist Party (SACP) regrets replacing Thabo Mbeki and propelling Jacob Zuma, a cult figure, into power. The SACP admitted this was a political blunder. The African National Congress (ANC) the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the SACP formed a tripartite alliance and rumors abound if this union will survive once Zuma ends the current term in 2019.
The SACP will hold a meeting this weekend and the party already has divisions regarding the Zuma leadership of South Africa. There is the notion that Zuma is a weak leader who has failed to lead the tripartite union successfully. It was agreed that the ANC was not blameless, however the party did fail to develop an effective joint action for the union. The SACP admit that rallying around Zuma was not a solution after defeating Mbeki and said that the Zuma’s project was too excessive. There is a particular cult worship toward Zuma and dangers in personalising politics. Hero worship can turn into and infantile anti-fixation. The obsession with Zuma by members such as Julius Malema who was disappointed with the leadership and turned against the president, is a fear the SACP want to avoid.
The entire tripartite alliance is a marriage of convenience between the left and the right. There is a lot of disappointment with the ANC leadership of South Africa and, for this reason, there is mention of the SACP ending the marriage and forming a new political party before the next elections are held in South Africa.. The SACP is a working convenience for the ANC, who muster up votes to keep the ruling party in power. There are relationship strains within the union, and the SACP feel as if they are under attack by ANC officials who disrupt meetings or rallies. The SACP feel they cannot campaign for the ANC based on the breakdown in the relationship.
Several provinces within South Africa, have experienced frosty relationships with ANC premiers and leaders. Corruption within the ANC provinces has irked the SACP, who call for dismissals and reforms, but are ignored. The only benefit in the tripartite alliance is the ruling party the ANC leadership elite.
The ANC is not a stable party and has profound problems with the women’s league and the youth league. The weekend conference will be a time for the SACP to reflect on the relationship and consider the options of divorcing the ANC. To go it alone would be a test of strength and if the time is right, the SACP could use the local government elections in 2016 to realize the dream of becoming a real threat to the ANC.
The deterioration within the union is evident and members of the SACP will discuss the way forward for the party. The ANC together with the alliance, has not garnered much support in some of the provinces, and the general disregard of processes is the cause of loss of votes throughout South Africa. The ANC elite are traveling on a power trip and abuse the alliance in the quest to remain in control.
The strengthening of ties between the unions is a possibility and might be official as the alliance get to the Congress to discuss a way forward to resolve the ambiguous relationship. The SACP need clarification on association membership and procedures to ensure that it is not only the ANC elite who benefit from the union. Ministers elected must be accountable to the membership and not only the ANC.
There is a split within the SACP to divorce the ANC, as loyal members are comfortable within the union. To contest the elections as a single party might prove a walloping defeat for the SACP, who do not have the majority support from the people of South Africa and the leftist ideas are frowned upon by most.
The growing hostility affects the SACP in a negative way and although when campaigning for the ANC, there is an element of society who do consider the possibility of the SACP doing well in an election. A fight with the ANC is a cause of trouble within the SACP and many oppose the idea, because the conflict is the fear of life after the Zuma leadership. There is the fear that more radical democratic thinking leaders within the ANC might drive out the SACP, who hold fast to socialism reform. It might be an early call for SACP members to prepare for the inevitable Zuma replacement, and who want to remain secure within the top ANC fold. Members within the SACP feel marginalized within the ANC fold and feel a new leader will not be as accommodating as Zuma.
When SACP members challenge the president, on matters of corruption or fraud this does call for disagreement placing the alliance in a frosty position. Enforcing discipline is problematic when corruption is at its highest.
The COSATU relationship with SACP remains volatile with the dismissal of Vavi. The recent turmoil within the COSATU union is located in factions competing to control resources. SACP relies on COSATU financial and will review this arrangement at the weekend meeting.
The tripartite alliance is a voting fodder and without the support of the union, the ANC will have a difficulty in winning an election. It is no secret that Blade Nzimande is the leader of the Zuma praise singers and willingly acts when told to perform. The SACP will not leave the marriage; there will never be enough public support. After all, there are numerous SACP members in the Zuma administration and no matter how ineffectively the ANC governs South Africa, Zuma is not a mistake of the SACP but rather a convenience for the small party to cluster up self-enrichment. There is no political credibility within the SACP; the party will not stop being a parasite of the ANC, the ruling party of South Africa.
Opinion by Laura Oneale
MG – SACP – Our Zuma mistake
Photo Courtesy of Meraj Chhaya Flickr Page – Public Domain License