SACP joy over vote for its man

THE SA Communist Party has welcomed the election of its national treasurer, Phumulo Masaulle, as chairman of the ANC in Eastern Cape.

THE SA Communist Party has welcomed the election of its national treasurer, Phumulo Masaulle, as chairman of the ANC in Eastern Cape.

"The SACP welcomes the decision by the ANC to continuously honour our members by giving them further responsibilities within the party," said SACP spokesperson Malesela Maleka.

Masualle, who is also Eastern Cape MEC for health, beat Mcebisi Jonas, who heads the province's economic and tourism portfolio.

He secured 1041 votes, with Jonas securing 930, in a provincial conference dominated by leadership contests - which led to ANC president Jacob Zuma issuing a stern warning to the delegates on Friday.

Zuma warned that the national executive committee would take over the running of the province if it failed to get its act together.

Masualle's newly elected leadership replaces a provincial executive committee that was disbanded after internal strife within the party.

Political analyst Kwandile Kondlo yesterday described Masualle's election as "a victory for the communists and labour against the nationalists within the ANC".

Masaulle is said to have been a preferred candidate of ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashhe, while Jonas was said to be supported by former ANC Youth League president and now Deputy Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula.

But for political analyst Sipho Seepe, Masualle's election "was neither here nor there". Seepe said given the level of political in-fighting for positions within the ANC "one cannot assume that because Masaulle was a communist he would be pro-working class".

Seepe said in a situation where the political discourse was about whether ministers should or should not buy luxury cars, one could not expect the interests of the working class to be high on the agenda.

Another political analyst, Steve Friedman, said the narrow margin between Masualle and Jonas was an indication that the battle was evenly contested.

That meant Jonas's supporters could not be ignored and attempts to bring stability into the province should take cognisance of that, said Friedman.

He also said the fact that the premier of the province was someone deployed by Luthuli House, while the political head displayed local support, could become a challenge for Luthuli House.

X