SA Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande was spitting fire at trade union federation Cosatu’s central committee meeting yesterday, saying with the ANC going downhill, it may be time for his party to contest elections in its own right.
In his address – in which he highlighted state capture, the Guptas and both Cosatu and the SACP’s call for President Jacob Zuma to step down – Nzimande said a number of factors made the SACP pose the question of contesting elections.
“We are going to our 14th congress to discuss all these matters I have raised. We will discuss whether it’s about time for the SACP to contest elections in its own right,” he said.
Nzimande, who is also higher education minister, said many people were saying they were not going to vote ANC and had put pressure on the SACP to contest elections.
An “uncomfortable question” that needed asking was whether the ANC had acted in a self-correcting manner between August 3 last year – when it lost the big metros during the local government elections – and now.
“Or is just going down one way?
“Is the ANC still capable of rescuing itself?
“If the ANC is incapable of playing this role, what must be its substitute? There may be a need to play this role because the ANC is unable to,” Nzimande said.
It would be untruthful if it were not admitted upfront that the revolution faced enormous threats and challenges at present.
“Failure to overcome these threats may lead to a reversal of what we’ve achieved since 1994.”
He highlighted struggle icon Oliver Tambo’s words: “’Let us tell the truth to ourselves even if the truth coincides with what the enemy is saying – let us tell the truth’.
“It’s important to remind ourselves of these pearls of wisdom.”
Parasitic networks – with the Gupta family at the centre – was an issue. A shadow parallel state and parallel movement have developed, he said.
“Let your investment vehicles not be used to capture some of us as leaders of this glorious organisation. Down with state capture. Down.”
Nzimande called for Cosatu to be an independent and militant federation to assist the ANC.
“There is a cancer that is consuming our movement, and only the workers can deal with that.
“We can’t celebrate the problems. The ANC is in big trouble.
“The trouble stemmed from there being an open faction in the ANC that does what it likes,” Nzimande said, adding later that he would not be silenced.
“The ANC is not owned by those who are leaders. It’s the people’s movement. We have a right to talk about it.
“There is also some growing authoritarianism – some of them are threatening us in the meetings…
“We are being threatened because we are supposed to keep quiet – we are not going to keep quiet. This is our revolution,” said Nzimande.
“We are going to be honest as a communist party.”
The last Cabinet reshuffle, which saw the axing of Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas and minister and deputy minister of finance, occurred outside the alliance and was an abuse of prerogative by individuals, Nzimande said.
“When you have powers to appoint people … that’s not an individual’s prerogative – it’s a prerogative that belongs to the movement.”