anc allianCE reprimands masetlHa

A NEW war has erupted in the ruling tripartite alliance, with the Young Communist League (YCL) taking on ANC national executive committee member Billy Masetlha for his criticism of the SACP and Cosatu.

Masetlha was quoted in the Mail & Guardian as saying senior ANC leaders were worried about Cosatu and the SACP's dominance of the ruling alliance and their desire to bulldoze a socialist agenda through the organisation.

He was quoted as saying he was opposed to SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande's attempts to "impose a communist manifesto on the ANC".

"We fired a lot of [comrades] in the past who wanted to do the same thing."

The former spy boss also took a swipe at President Jacob Zuma for turning a blind eye to the SACP and Cosatu's manipulation of ANC resolutions to their own ends.

"If we have not pronounced our position on these new tendencies it does not mean we are fools.

"The ANC was not founded on a socialist agenda. Socialism has no space in the ANC."

"The cause for our struggle has always been about national liberation.

"The day the ANC sings to the socialist agenda, it would be signing its death warrant."

Yesterday the YCL said it was disappointed by Masetlha's comments.

"We view Masetlha's statements as taking us back to the pre-Polokwane Conference attitude of seeking to mobilise ANC members and leaders against communists and trade-union leaders in the ANC.

"The statement is equally against the letter and spirit of the ANC leadership, which seeks to rebuild a strong alliance.

"It is hypocritical for Masetlha to suggest that the alliance was only necessary when there were problems within the ANC, and that leaders such as Blade Nzimande and Zwelinzima Vavi where only necessary to defeat the 1996 class project."

The issue of the influence of left-leaning organisations in ANC politics was at the centre of political divisions in the Eastern Cape in the run up to the recent election conference in that province.

ANC cadres opposed to current ANC provincial chairperson Phumulo Masualle, who is also the national treasurer of the SACP, said his election resembled a triumph of the left in the ruling party.

The ANC said it "read with regret the unfortunate article with comments attributed to ANC NEC member comrade Billy Masetlha".

It said: "The notion that the ANC is under threat of 'the push by Cosatu and the SACP for a socialist agenda' is unfounded and regrettable.

"It is not within the traditions and protocols of the alliance to talk about alliance relations in public and through the media.

"These matters as reported have not been discussed within the constitutional structures of the ANC.

"Therefore, they cannot be regarded as the generally held views and perspectives of the ANC leadership."

The party said it distanced itself from the article adding that the state of the alliance would be discussed at the upcoming alliance summit.

"The ANC is of the opinion that any issues relating to the alliance should and will be discussed through the soon to be convened alliance summit as resolved by the ANC NEC.

"The ANC expects any of its leaders to wait for the alliances summit to raise any issues relating to the alliance."