OPINION: The SACP makes its stand

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has issued the strongest statement yet indicating its willingness to distance itself from President Jacob Zuma’s ANC.

The party stated their intention to consider standing for election on their own, a radical shift from the tradition of campaigning for elections with the ANC.

The SACP’s statement of intent should put the ANC and President Zuma under immense pressure. Since Zuma’s ANC has been under pressure on various fronts, including the state capture allegations, the SACP has carefully positioned itself to cultivate legitimacy from the fading credibility of the ANC.

By threatening to participate in the 2019 elections on their own, the SACP is sending a message to the ANC that it will not go down with them. This is a simple cost benefit analysis by the SACP.

From now until the 2019 elections, the SACP has all the time to assess the electoral prospects of the ANC. The ANC’s chance to remain in power after the 2019 elections depends largely on the outcome of the party’s elective conference to be held later in December.

It is becoming clear even to some stubborn ANC leaders that if the party elects someone with no credibility, it will most likely fail to gain the majority it needs to form government in 2019.

The SACP is carefully watching this and has resolved not to join the ANC in its suicidal mission to impose the very unlikeable Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on the party. Having made it clear that they support Cyril Ramaphosa, it will most likely execute its intention to go at it alone if Dlamini-Zuma is elected as ANC president.

The decision by the SACP to threaten to go at it alone is also justified by the ANC’s arrogant stance towards its alliance partners whenever the partners raise issues with the ANC’s process of electing leaders.

Quite often the ANC shrugs off any concerns raised by alliance partners regarding how it ought to elect its leadership. It usually castigates Cosatu and the SACP whenever the two raise their voice on leadership matters. To avoid being seen meddling with the ANC’s internal process, the SACP decided to place it under watch.

Now the ruling party knows for a fact that if they elect Dlamini-Zuma, not only will it face the wrath of opposition parties going into the 2019 elections, but it will also face mutiny from their alliance partners.

If indeed the ANC carries on with project Dlamini-Zuma, then it can be guaranteed attacks from all sides and will certainly not win the 2019 elections.

What the SACP wants from the ANC is some respect. In addition to that, it also wants a guarantee that the ANC remains in power in 2019. Hence it is important for the SACP to threaten the ANC with a separation if the party does not get its house in order.

One cannot forget that the SACP made a wrong bet on President Zuma by supporting him to take over the ANC in Polokwane in 2007. Therefore, what it is trying to do now is to correct its mammoth mistake of supporting a leader without carefully evaluating what that leader stands for.

One can only hope that its support for Ramaphosa to lead the ANC is a decision that has been carefully reflected upon within the party, as opposed to being another anything-but-Zuma decision.

Back in 2007, SACP leaders were caught up in the anything-but-Mbeki stance. The question is, are they repeating the same mistake or are they really committed to Ramaphosa’s leadership?

- Ralph Mathekga is an independent political analyst and author of the book When Zuma Goes. He writes a weekly column for News24.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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RabbleRouser 2017/07/17 10:30:54 AM
How can the SACP claim legitimacy or take a 'holier than thou' approach when they aided and abetted the ANC and Zuma in particular. They were singing his praises and doing his bidding. Many of the top ecehelon in the SACP were and are still cabinet ministers and deputies. The SACP is part of the problem, not the soultion.
Joel Selibowitz 2017/07/17 10:38:05 AM
Anything but Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma yes as she will be forced to choose her legally compromised family over Country & even over the ANC {then again the ANC has proven of late that all it is: is an extended 'patronage' family}. But the SACP endorsement of billionaire Cyril not only defies their own belief system but sounds a lot like a Russian roulette Mzansi version of Trump or even worse Berlusconi because given human nature there is no guarantee that Cyril will not want more simply because he has so much already {if this where the case he would not be a billionaire to begin with}. Furthermore, the notion that he is a pragmatic businessman who has too much to lose should Ship Mzansi slip beneath the water is no guarantee either as big business has dined excessively at the table of the ANC & has paid no small part in helping the ANC to make us one of the most unequal & therefore unstable societies on the planet. Is it not plain to see that Solly Afrika & company should be endorsing the one person in the ANC who represents the spirit of Madiba: Dr Makhosi Khoza! She who understands that transformation doesn’t mean Black or Fat Cat but simply clean water, secure & affordable electricity, efficient health services, well subsidised & quality controlled education and every other aspect of good governance’s service delivery…
Khathu Maumela 2017/07/17 12:28:03 PM
Well the SACP is taking a very thought stance beneficial to them, but they should also take the blame for the mess the country finds itself in because they supported the current president, we will see what happens when the ANC elects someone who lacks integrity, but as Ralph said if they do, they will surely not win the 2019 election and maybe that will not be a bad thing so we can find something better, it's just a waiting game now.
Aaron Msiza 2017/07/17 01:37:26 PM
But if sacp really it want to distance it self from the ANC then it will be end of the ANC even now you can see that ANC is disparately because everyone wants to be President
Pucks Mothoa 2017/07/17 01:55:26 PM
ANC is only concerned about enriching them,come 2019 their pockets will dry up.Zuma has cost the country and the party.why cnt they see this?ANC top 6 or NEC are bunch of losers.
Aaron Msiza 2017/07/17 04:33:41 PM
Even these rumors say Zuma he needed to be paid 2billion so that he can resign it won't makes ANC strong instead it will kill it and that would prove the corrupt of the ANC
Mmaritse Nkadimeng 2017/07/17 07:20:26 PM
The issue is not so much of a crisis for South Africa and democracy. It is not healthy for democracy and the National development agenda for a single party to stay so long in power. Our maturity as a young democracy will be tested based on the reaction of the role players in the event that post 2019 Election the current government doesn't secure the majority that they're used to.
Packo Achar 2017/07/17 07:57:40 PM
SACP has been excellent in following its processes and constitution. Leaders listen to their regions/sections/branches. The ANC was doomed since factionalism and fight for positions due to conteol of resources became auite widespread. Most Cdes. Even veterans just kept quiet and allowed things ro get out of hand because no one wanted to see a brother/sister facing full might of law while they were at the helm. Others would say "Eish! So and so allowed one of our own to suffer." The other mistake was failing to reign in Youth League and meddling in COSATU. Unfortunately the current dominant faction is breaking every rule and operating with impunity because they are ripping apart key institutions and even moved the appointment of key officials and ministers to their handlers. For Cyril to fix this thing he will have to be draconian in application of law or ANC is just doomed. Other option is to allow our party to lose power in 2019 and rebuild from oposition. This thing is so bad now that Cdes are assassinating each other. I think we should just allow the collapse then rebuild the organisation of OR Tambo with the masses as our focal point.
So,Recently 2017/07/17 08:59:53 PM
This might be the split that sinks the ANC, unless the SACP merely acts as a coalition partner. In truth, the SACP might be able to draw some votes from the EFF.