The ANC’s leftist partners, the SA Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), cannot influence ANC leadership succession effectively as long as they fail to change the party’s neoliberal approach to policy making, an expert says.
Cosatu affiliates, such as the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and some SACP structures, among them its North West branch and the Young Communist League, have pronounced their preference for ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Jacob Zuma.
But the ANC Women’s League, the youth league and the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association, want Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, outgoing chairperson of the African Union Commission, in the position.
Political analyst Zamikhaya Maseti said the call by some SACP structures and some Cosatu affiliates for Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma as ANC president and, subsequently, the country’s president was a glaring contradiction in view of their socialist ideology.
“Cyril is their ideological and class enemy as a capitalist. If they support him, what is their understanding of the class contradictions and dynamics that Marxist-Leninist theory talks about?” Maseti asked.
They had no reason to support Ramaphosa, he added. He also contended that the SACP’s influence on the ANC had been exaggerated as it had not persuaded the ANC to abandon neoliberalism. “My submission is that the party has no influence at all.”
He said the ANC always disregarded the left and came up with policies such as Gear and the National Development Plan, which were regarded as neoliberal policies.
“The SACP was not there to influence the ANC differently on these policies. NUMSA was shouting alone against these policies. “Students’ demand for free higher education is a socialist demand, but the minister [Blade Nzimande], a socialist and SACP general secretary, is unable to deliver on that.”
Maseti said the SACP and Cosatu alone could not change Zuma’s dominance of the ANC. “In Polokwane, all these trends of the alliance united under one individual, Zuma, to remove their common enemy, Thabo Mbeki. The SACP will not be able to work outside the alliance and hope to succeed in influencing the ANC.
If you don’t influence change in the ANC position, you have no reason to exist. All the left needs to do is to influence the ANC to demolish its liberal policy foundations.”