The tripartite alliance between the ANC, the SA Communist Party (SACP) and Cosatu is – for all practical purposes – over. And if the SACP is to survive it will have to get into bed with “other Reds”, like Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
That’s the writing on the wall for the party after President Jacob Zuma fired higher education minister and leading Communist Blade Nzimade from Cabinet on Tuesday.
The SACP, which was formed in 1921 and was one of the first Communist parties outside the Soviet Union, may face a struggle for its very survival.
According to political analyst Dumisani Hlophe, the SACP has no future now that the tripartite alliance is no more. The party will have to forge new partnerships with civil society and current “enemies”, such as Malema, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim and Zwelinzima Vavi of the SA Federation of Trade Unions.
Nzimande’s dismissal would not have an impact on the country because the Communists did not represent the interests of the poor, only their personal interests, in the ANC government, he added.
“SACP members in Cabinet implement ANC policies, not SACP policies.”
Nzimande was not in the ANC government carrying the red flag of his party, but was “carrying his little bag”, as were other SACP members including Thulas Nxesi, Buti Manamela and others, he said.
Hlophe also believed the party wouldn’t pull out of the ANC-led alliance because the SACP needs the ANC more than the ANC needs it.
Since the alliance was not based on ideology but on personal interests, the SACP did not advocate the agenda of the poor in government.
The tripartite alliance had become an “alliance of individuals” in the dominant faction of the ANC led by Zuma, he added. There was no attempt to persuade the ANC to move towards socialism.
“Even if the alliance breaks up, I don’t think there is enough capacity to persuade the ANC [to move] away from capitalism. Even those who are talking about breaking away are doing so without an ideological basis. They base it more on discomfort with the current leader rather than on hard-core ideological persuasion,” he said.
He said that regardless of how the EFF came about and the fights SACP and Cosatu members have had with leaders like Irvin Jim and Vavi, the SACP should work with them. Another analyst, Sipho Seepe, said the alliance should break up.
“The ANC must have the courage to say to its partners ‘thank you for walking with us, but we realised we can no longer continue to work together. Let us part ways’,” Seepe said.
Seepe, whose views often reflect the inner thinking of the Zuma camp, said apartheid had glued the liberation forces together, resulting in the alliance, but circumstances had changed. The alliance had served its purpose and it was time for it to be disbanded, he added. – firstname.lastname@example.org