South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande has AGAIN threatened – if anyone still cares to listen – that “we will go it alone” should the ANC elect a ‘factional candidate’ in December. This, after SACP leaders fell over themselves in support of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as their next ‘factional’ leader for the ANC.
Their threat effectively means that the ‘ANC must elect the factional preference of the SACP, or else’. Let us be clear that the Deputy President is a very capable candidate and very likely to win come December. This is not about whether Deputy President or Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma should be the President of the ANC after President Zuma.
We must deal with hypocritical dictatorship or self-made king-makers of the ANC that Blade and the SACP leadership have seemingly carved for themselves. This time last year, Blade was crying crocodile tears claiming that there was need for renewal in the SACP and gave the clearest indication then that he would not be standing for re-election when the party held its elective conference. But Nzimande was compelled to utter these words only because there was a clear sign that his time was up in the SACP. No sooner had the tears dried, he was back at his shenanigans plotting the downfall of yet another ANC leader. He was instrumental in the fall of former President Thabo Mbeki.
While the SACP harps on about democracy, its own leadership is left wanting. The era of Nzimande and his compatriots in the leadership of the SACP has outlived the presidencies of Mbeki, Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma. Nzimande has been the SACP’s secretary general for 19 years.
Under Nzimande, the SACP leadership has mastered the art of manipulating the succession leadership of the ANC. Not even the previous ANC presidents had the kind of influence that the SACP leader has achieved. This is the leadership at the centre of the unceremonious removal of Mbeki and at the time, they used the same threat of “going it alone”.
The Alliance has created for itself a monster in Nzimande and his cohorts who believe the Alliance membership gives them unlimited power to manipulate and dictate who should lead the ANC when it should instead be dictating in its ranks on leadership matters.
ANC resolutions in Polokwane effectively put limits on the term of office for leaders and yet the ANC respected the independence of the Alliance partners to decide for themselves, the lengths of their incumbent’s term of office – the kind of respect these Alliance partners have not seen fit to extend to the ANC.
The same leadership of Nzimande’s SACP supported Mbeki to be president of the ANC. When they had falling-out with Mbeki they effectively put Zuma as the president and unceremoniously cut short Mbeki’s term. They are now convincing everyone inside the ANC that Zuma should meet Mbeki’s fate. This kind of manipulation has left the ANC leadership succession at the mercy of the SACP.
The SACP leaders have one element right at least, which is that the Alliance must re-visit its terms of engagement. We cannot ask our former presidents and leaders not to rule the ANC from the grave while we effectively allow the Mugabes of SACP to manipulate who becomes our next president under the shield of alliance.