The ANC is not the God of the revolution

The SA Communist Party (SACP) is planning to join the chorus calling for Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to step down in the wake of the social grants crisis.

The call comes after Cosatu and civil society organisations bayed for her blood this week.

“The ANC must never think that it is the god of the revolution ... We cannot take collective responsibility while there is one side that keeps doing things wrong,” SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila said yesterday, as the party prepared for a crucial bilateral meeting with the ANC tomorrow.

The meeting between the SACP politburo and the ANC national working committee has been postponed on at least three occasions because either President Jacob Zuma or SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande has been unavailable. Dlamini is a member of the ANC working committee.

Mapaila told City Press that the SACP had on various occasions sought to encourage the ANC “to deal decisively with corruption” as this was denting the image of the entire alliance.

But “the misdemeanours” have continued relentlessly, he said, citing as an example the manner in which Dlamini’s department had created uncertainty over the payment of social grants at the end of the month when the contract with Cash Paymaster Service ends.

“No, the masses are the gods of the revolution. There is no way that we could go [to the meeting] and be nice to each other, while the movement goes down,” he lamented.

He said the party also wanted to expose the “hypocrisy” around the grants matter because CPS’ banking partner is Grindrod, owned by Rembrandt, whose majority shareholder is Johann Rupert.

“People arguing over the radical economic transformation thing are defending a contract that is owned by monopoly capital,” he said.

“The issue is the high level of hypocrisy in the political leadership. So I think it is high time that we have to be as principled and strong as possible and be prepared to face whatever consequences,” he added.

Mapaila said the SACP expected “a meeting of equals” where nobody feared nobody.

“We are two equal organisations who are partners in the relationship, with the ANC mandated to head the movement because of its multiclass nature.

“The ANC is not a big brother to us. There is no fear from our side to raise any issue, irrespective of who is there,” he said.

Mapaila said he suspected that the social grants problem was “a typical open-looting system” and he said the ANC had to get rid “of this corrupt lot” in order to have a proper relationship with the SACP.

The SACP cannot be seen to be in a relationship with a corrupt movement, he stressed.

“We have to be clear that all of these wrong things must be responded to sufficiently, and we must come with a programme to resolve these things or else we will take radical decisions at our congress to determine where our revolution must go,” he said in reference to the upcoming July congress where a decision on whether the SACP should contest elections on its own is expected to be taken.

Mapaila said the SACP was on the point of standing on its own, because party members were not happy with the way the ANC was running things.

“It is a very good posture, and we are discussing that in our structures,” Mapaila said.

“We think [the fact that] we will stand on our own is almost a fait accompli, at least from how I read the situation. But the congress still has to decide.”

He said the dominant mood in the party was that the SACP must contest elections [alone].

“We are a political party and we should not be a subsidiary of another party. And sometimes some leaders of the ANC think we are subsidiaries.”

Mapaila said the SACP was “an independent political party of the working class. We would not be in alliance with the ANC if we were not independent.

“So we have to restate some of these things all the time for them to understand. Otherwise, a faction that has captured the ANC thinks that it is the one in alliance with us,” he said.

He said Zuma’s legal interpretation on the social grants issue “has been questionable of late”.

“The issue is that the Constitutional Court had invalidated the contract, which comes to an end, and there is [as yet] no mechanism to carry it forward, except a mechanism that defies the Constitutional Court”.

So it is like someone putting a gun to your head, he said, adding that Dlamini had had enough time to find a new service provider in a legal manner.

He said: “It is clear that he [the president] would not decide against his friends that are campaigning for him and are doing all of these wrong things in his name.

“We find it difficult to be led by people of absolute decadence who are rotten to the core and are not willing to change their ways,” said Mapaila.

“That completely obliterates all values of our revolutionary movement.”