SACP sidelines Mbeki loyalists

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has not hesitated to get rid of pro-Mbeki communists or those it believes failed to toe the party line within the ANC. To show its seriousness, the party elected and promoted grassroots-based and hard-core communists who are expected to fight the ANC domination of the alliance and shift it towards the left.

Almost all cabinet ministers or those seen as close to President Thabo Mbeki were purged from the party's central executive committee (CEC) at the party's five-day national congress that ended in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

Even the "red and dangerous" Ronnie Kasrils, an SACP veteran and an old-guard, was himself shocked when his name was not announced in the 30-member final CEC list, which saw all but Charles Nqakula and deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routlege being marginalised. Nqakula was elected on the ninth position being beaten hands-down even by Young Communist League's (YCL) chairman David Masondo, who topped the list. Besides Kasrils, who is minister of intelligence, others who were ousted were Transport Minister Jeff Radebe and Provincial and Local Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi. Mufamadi is said to have declined nomination after disagreeing with the direction the party took on its relationship with the ANC.

An interesting development which was seen as a move to strengthen the SACP's socialist drive was the election of Ncumisa Kondlo and Phumulo Masualle as deputy chairman and national treasurer respectively.

Both Kondlo, former Eastern Cape social development MEC and Masualle, former provincial public works MEC were fired by former Eastern Cape Premier Makhenkesi Stofile reportedly at the instruction of Luthuli House because they were seen as "hardline communists".

By promoting the two as office-bearers, the party is seen as defying the ANC's decision and showing confidence in their leadership qualities. Most of those elected among the 30 CEC members were grassroots leaders from provincial and district structures and the YCL, while 10 are from the trade unions and 28 percent are women.

There is no doubt that a core of them are pro-Jacob Zuma and the fact that YCL's Masondo received the most votes is an indication that the party wants to promote Zuma as the YCL is lobbying for Zuma to be the ANC president.

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