Cronin accuses ANC of not being active on the ground level

2015-07-10 17:00
Jeremy Cronin

Jeremy Cronin

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Johannesburg - The ANC only interacts with people on the ground during election times, the SACP's deputy general secretary said on Friday.

"We don't find the ANC present on the ground in campaigns except [during] election campaigns. The ANC supports [us], but are not present with us on the ground," Cronin told reporters at the University of Johannesburg, where the SACP is holding its special national congress.

He said the ruling party needed to be more active and involved in the SACP's campaigns, especially on land reform and the financial sector.

"Being on the ground as part of the alliance will help solve some of their problems especially in branch level. We can't just be an alliance for elections," he said.

'There are times when we are arrogant'

Cronin praised ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, who addressed the hundreds gathered at the four-day congress on Thursday, for admitting that the ruling party was experiencing its own challenges and that it needed the SACP to help them reconnect with ordinary South Africans.

"There are times when we are arrogant, there are times when there is a social distance between us and our people. We have never seen members of the SACP being arrogant [or] boastful, they've always been selfless and close to their communities," Cyril said.

He said the SACP was the alliance's intellectual engine and that the ANC depended on them for innovative ideas.

The SACP announced earlier this week that its membership levels had grown to about 230 000, which made it the second largest political party after the ANC.

There have been calls by some inside and outside the party for the SACP to step away from its alliance with the ANC and Cosatu and contest the elections.

The party's general secretary Blade Nzimande and Cronin both downplayed the calls, saying it came from a group of frustrated members, mainly from the Mpumalanga region, who had a strained relationship with their ANC counterparts following a fight between the two parties earlier in the year.

Nzimande had also said those outside the party calling for the SACP to contest the elections were trying to weaken the tripartite alliance.

'It's not about positioning ourselves'

On Thursday, as Ramaphosa made his way to the podium to address the congress, delegates sang "Sifuna iState Power" (We want State Power). Ramaphosa joked that he was not sure whether they were speaking as the SACP or as members of the alliance, in support of the ANC.

On Friday, Cronin said: "When our delegates say 'we want state power, who is this we? The working class or the delegates? It is not just about what party flag is flying.

"Yes, the working class have significant influence in the state, the struggle is not to get people into government, the real power is inside and outside the state.

"It's not about positioning ourselves, but about servicing the people."

He said at the national level the ANC and the SACP did not have any tense relations, but that divisions and factions at lower levels would be dealt with.

Read more on:    sacp  |  anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  jeremy cronin  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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