Former president Jacob Zuma has lambasted the leaders of Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP) for, what he calls, their eagerness to get into government instead of focusing on the struggle for socialism.
Zuma was critical of his former allies who had propelled him to the ANC top job in 2007, describing the ANC-led alliance as an entity that exists only in name.
Zuma was speaking in a conversation with his son Duduzane in a series of web interviews dubbed “Zooming with Zumas”.
“If party cadres are then participating more on government, who is fighting for the new change to kill capitalism? You end up with party cadres who become involved in a capitalist society, who must go and be ministers,” he said.
The appointment of SACP leaders like general secretary Blade Nzimande to the executive was rampant under Zuma, and he defended it in the past.
In the 36-minute video, Zuma criticised his former allies in the SACP and Cosatu for having adopted capitalist ideals.
“In my view, the alliance at this point in time is at its weakest point. All of them, they will have to sit back and re-plan. The alliance needs to meet and say how do we distribute our work? What is the job of the ANC today?
“At times, it just exists in name. Even when they meet, the kind of issues they discuss leaves a lot to be desired,” the former ANC president said, adding that many within the SACP and Cosatu were now worried about government positions.
Zuma told his son that shortly after the country’s liberation, the SACP moved away from its core ideals.
“The Communist Party fell in the hands at that time of people who had just joined the party. Some of them who joined it as we were unbanned. It loosened the manner in which it would stick to its discipline,” he said.
Zuma fell out of favour with Cosatu and the SACP after he was found to have flouted the Constitution by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela after hundreds of millions went into the building of his homestead in Nkandla.
His woes continued when ANC allies spoke publicly against him, calling from his resignation in late 2016 shortly before the ANC’s watershed Nasrec conference.
SACP and Cosatu leaders had rallied behind him during his fight to gain control of the party from former president Thabo Mbeki, his rape trial and corruption allegations.
Zuma called into question the legitimacy of members of the SACP, saying its members no longer had the deliberate teachings of Marxism–Leninism political philosophy.
“The party was like any mass party, you come you join, if there is a public meeting they issue out forms to join. You have people there who did not understand exactly the Marxism–Leninism theory. That itself would be a weaker point,” he said.
He said the lack of political education among SACP and Cosatu leaders began to undermine the continuity of the alliance.
“Some people wanted to push the ANC to implement what otherwise should be done by the SACP party. There was an eagerness to get into government rather than to proceed with the struggle for socialism,” Zuma said.