Tension between the ANC and its alliance partner the SA Communist Party (SACP) escalated yesterday, with the SACP hinting that President Jacob Zuma must be removed from office before the end of his term.
The SACP, which played a role in the ousting of former president Thabo Mbeki nine months before the end of his second term in 2008, warned of repercussions if Zuma stayed until the 2019 general election.
“Unless we do something drastic, then we must kiss the whole country goodbye,” SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila told The Citizen in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.
“The ANC has to come out much more clearly, clean itself and clean the image of its leadership.”
The ANC lost power in most of the country’s powerful metros, including Tshwane and Johannesburg, to the DA following the recent local government elections. Mapaila said it had been a “mistake” for the ANC to campaign using Zuma’s image.
“Research and polls showed that he had the lowest ratings as president,” Mapaila said.
“The big issue is not so much about what we say, but it is about what the people perceive of the ANC under his leadership.”
The ANC is experiencing its worst crisis, ruptured by differences between factions aligned to Zuma and those calling for his removal, notably ANC stalwarts such as Sipho Pityana.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande warned the decline would continue and probably accelerate unless corrective measures were undertaken.
“Growing numbers of South Africans are tired of being taken for granted,” Nzimande said. “They believe ANC formal structures are inward-looking, preoccupied with factional battles and money politics.
“They believe the conduct of ANC politicians is often arrogant and aloof.
“All South Africans are deeply concerned about corruption.”
He made these comments at a media briefing in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, after a meeting of the party’s central committee at the weekend.
Nzimande said the manner in which the ANC campaigned by foregrounding Zuma and not local issues and mayoral candidates played straight into the hands of the opposition’s campaign.
“The opposition parties had very little to say about local policy content, focusing instead on our national leadership’s shortcomings – whether real or alleged,” Nzimande said.
The general secretary criticised the statement issued by the ANC following its recent national executive meeting, saying it did not touch many of the challenges and internal weaknesses confronting the ruling party.
He said recommendations of the ANC’s integrity committee were bypassed and corrupt individuals appeared to enjoy cover.