Factionalism, populism tear the alliance apart

06 January 2019 - 17:02
By Penwell Dlamini
 SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.
Image: KABELO MOKOENA. SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.

Factionalism and loving individuals above the organisation are the biggest threats facing the tripartite alliance as it tries to recover as a leader in society, according to SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande.

Nzimande was delivering the keynote address at  the party’s 24th commemoration of the death of its leader Joe Slovo at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto, on Sunday. He said there were so many divisions ahead of the 2017 ANC elective conference in Nasrec that the communists feared the ruling party would split.

“The first disease that is facing our movement is factionalism. It is a terrible disease. There are always differences in any organisation but the moment those differences are about who is in a position to control resources; it becomes a problem. We’ve reached a point today where we kill each other for position. In fact factionalism is one thing that will ultimately destroy our revolution if we don’t defeat it.

“As a movement, let us fight factionalism. Those acting in a factionalist way must be called aside and be told of their bad conduct. You can’t have a situation where the president has a programme in KwaZulu-Natal on the 12th [of January] and there are others who have programmes that are countering President Cyril Ramaphosa. That is being factionalist and dividing."

The commemoration of Slovo was attended by communist leaders in the country and other parts of Southern Africa, ANC and Cosatu representatives. Nzimande also identified populism as another decease that is destroying the movement from within and the general society, defining populism as “promising people easy solutions to complex problems”.

Nzimande said there were people in the movement who are now attached to certain individuals more than they are to the ANC. “This cult of loving personalities in the movement is not right, people who become kings that were never ordained. That is wrong and we must defeat it.”

Slovo died on January 6 in 1995. At the time of his death he was the national chairperson of the SACP and a member of the ANC national executive committee and the party’s national working committee.