A clear sign that the SA Communist Party (SACP) is at odds with its alliance partner the African National Congress (ANC) emerged at the funeral of an SACP member in Inchanga, between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, on Sunday when SACP deputy national chairman Thulas Nxesi accused the ANC of “extreme recklessness”.
Addressing about 3 000 party members who turned out for the funeral of local SACP leader Nontsikilelo Blose, he said the ANC’s poor performance in the August 3 municipal elections had little to do with the success of opposition parties but more to do with “serious and systemic problems within the ANC”.
The “money-driven factionalism” had permeated the entire organisation from top to bottom.
“The 20 intra-ANC assassinations in the run-up to the elections and the subsequent assassination of another ANC councillor-elect in Tsolo is an indication of just how dangerously sick large parts of the ANC have become,” Nxesi said.
The Nondlini Sport and Community Centre Hall in Inchanga was packed to capacity with party supporters in red T-shirts, family members, and a large press contingent. A few hundred supporters milled around outside the hall, unable to gain entry.
At the same time about 5km away about 1 000 African National Congress supporters packed the Michael Gwala Hall in Inchanga for the funeral of ANC Youth League member Xolani Ngcobo, who was killed last Monday during the angry mob rampage that followed Blose’s shooting.
Blose’s funeral was also attended by former eThekwini metro mayor James Nxumalo, who is also the provincial chairman of the SACP, and SACP KwaZulu-Natal secretary Themba Mthembu.
“Not since 2007 have we seen such visible signs of division among the national leadership and the wilful bypassing of ANC and Cabinet-mandated positions on things like the SABC, SAA, digital migration, nuclear [energy], Marius Fransman, etc, etc. There is a climate of extreme recklessness in the ANC and in government and across many parastatals,” Nxesi said.
Although the problems often appeared to be recognised at various conferences involving the ANC and its alliance partners – the SACP, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, and the SA National Civic Organisation – there appeared little will in the national, provincial, and regional ANC structures to address the issues raised.
Blose’s killing could not and should not be seen in isolation. “It must be seen as a culmination of persecutions she endured since she witnessed the murder of comrade Philip Dlamini,” Nxesi said.
Blose, who was a witness in the case of five men accused of killing SACP supporter Philip Dlamini in January, was shot dead at a tavern last Sunday. The Sunday Tribune reported that she was at the tavern with Nxumalo’s son and her daughter when she was shot. Nxumalo’s son Wandile Nxumalo was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the two men had intended shooting him, but Blose had instead been shot.
“Comrade Nontiskelelo Blose fought for justice politically as well. She challenged the distortion of internal democracy in the ANC, including the election of councillor candidates,” Nxesi said.
Following Blose’s killing, members of the SACP went on the rampage burning a number of houses. It was during this rampage that Ngcobo was killed.
There was a heavy police presence throughout Inchanga, which falls in Durban’s embattled Ward 4.
Ngcobo’s funeral was attended by ANC eThekwini regional secretary Bheki Ntuli as well as ANC Youth League provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo and former Ward 4 councillor Boy Shozi, whose brother and another close relative are among the five accused of killing Philip Dlamini.
Ten eThekwini metro municipal buses were parked outside the Michael Gwala Hall along with a heavy police contingent.
Units of the eThekwini metro police were patrolling Inchanga along with SA Police Service units.
Ward 4 has been divided between members of the ANC and the SACP since the nomination of candidates to stand in the August 3 elections started last year. Earlier this year, two people, including Dlamini, were killed in the dispute. Since then tensions have been high despite visits to the area by several high-ranking SACP and ANC members trying to heal the rift.
SACP members claim they were blocked from participating in the branch nominations for councillor candidates. On August 3, SACP member Petrus Nxumalo, a cousin of the former mayor, stood as an independent and won the ward.
He was hugged and congratulated by many as he arrived at Blose’s funeral service on Sunday. Blose and Ngcobo were both expected to be buried later in the day.
– African News Agency (ANA)