Nzimande the ‘anti-communist’

2011-03-21 07:16

Two left-leaning student bodies have torn into Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, calling for his head and accusing him of anti-communism and anti-working class behaviour.

In a scathing attack on the South African Communist Party (SACP) boss (Nzimande), South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) secretary-general Lazola Ndamase charged that his department was moving at a snail’s pace to ensure there was transformation in tertiary institutions and implementation of free education.

“This is the worst form of anti-communism and a crime against the sons and daughters of the working class and is a betrayal to the struggle,” he said.

Speaking to City Press, Ndamase (who is also a Young Communist League member) said Nzimande was a “coward” with a lack of decisiveness.

“He is not running the higher education correctly. He has not made any fundamental changes as one would have expected from a revolutionary communist.”

The South African Union of Students (Saus) has called for a vote of no-confidence in Nzimande.

“Minister Nzimande is proving to be an obstruction to progress on government’s goals regarding education. We will sit-in at the offices of the minister to show our discontent and utter disappointment,” read a statement by the Saus national executive committee.

Saus and Sasco said they were ignored by Nzimande when they marched to his Pretoria offices yesterday to complain about the lack of implementation of free education.

“Despite the fact that we notified the Department of Higher Education and Training on time, there was no one to receive our memorandum of demands and we had to settle for anybody we could find to accept this important memorandum,” said Ndamase.

Ministerial spokesperson Nqaba Nqandela said it was unfortunate that the two student bodies had opted to go public before discussing their concerns with Nzimande.

“The minister’s door is always open to them. We will not be deterred. We believe we are on track. We have had great achievements,” he added.

SACP spokesperson Malesela Maleka said Sasco was being “mischievous”.

“Sasco does not have a manual on what constitutes communism or not. They cannot expect him to go there and behave like a maverick as if there were no constraints,” he added.

He said the real issue was that there was a concerted agenda to portray Nzimande as an “incapable leader of the SACP”.

A former senior Young Communist League (YCL) member from KwaZulu-Natal said it was very clear that Nzimande could not cope with the pressure of being simultaneously the minister and SACP boss. Debate in the alliance has been raging about Nzimande’s two roles. Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has urged him to quit as a minister.

The Nzimande matter has led to tensions in the SACP.

Politburo member and former YCL chairperson David Masondo has been suspended. Masondo is seen as close ally of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Malema and Nzimande do not see eye-to-eye, especially on the controversial issue of nationalisation of mines.

The YCL has expelled Masondo allies Phindile Kunene and Patrick Makape. Some see this as a purge of anti-Nzimande elements.

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