Mantashe on why he threw in SACP towel
OUTGOING SACP national chairman Gwede Mantashe says his decision not to seek re-election is not ideological, but in the best interest of the party.
In giving his opening remarks yesterday during the SACP's national congress in KwaZulu-Natal, Mantashe said he had arrived at this decision after realising the impracticality of holding two full-time positions.
Mantashe is currently chairman of the SACP as well as secretary-general of the ANC.
He said: "It is not practical to hold two full-time positions in the SACP and ANC. It's just impossible. It's a disaster and leaves one to be an absentee chairperson of the party [SACP]."
But Mantashe did offer himself up for re-election to the SACP's central committee.
"Since this is not an ideological decision, one is prepared to serve in the central committee if nominated," he said.
Mantashe's party chairmanship could be taken up by National Union of Mineworkers president Senzeni Zokwana.
But elections might not be necessary if there is consensus on who should replace Mantashe.
Mantashe said SACP members would remain loyal to the decisions reached in the organisations to which they were deployed.
He said: "It is our party that has emphasised that communists serving in other organisations neither do so as communist cliques or factions, nor with any intention of usurping those formations."
"Communists were and are to be loyal to the decisions of such structures," he added.
Elements in the ANC, in particular the Youth League, have expressed concern at the SACP's growing influence in the alliance, arguing that the SACP's intension is to impose socialism on the ruling party.
Despite these concerns, Mantashe lauded the SACP for having its members in prominent ANC and government positions. He said having leaders serve in the NEC of the ANC was a sign that "communists are not communist members of the ANC, but members and leaders of the ANC ... "