‘Being a vanguard is not a tender award’, says Blade

2011-06-28 13:35

SA Communist Party (SACP) boss Blade Nzimande has taken a swipe at the ANC Youth League, saying its call for mine nationalisation was meant to bail out black business, rather than help improve the lot of the poor.

Speaking at labour federation Cosatu’s four-day central committee meeting in Midrand, Nzimande also took a swipe at youth league leader Julius Malema who has accused the SACP and Cosatu of dereliction of duty towards workers.

Malema has accused the communists of turning the labour federation into a lobby group for positions and of forsaking their role of being the workers’ “vanguard”.

Without mentioning Malema by name, Nzimande told the meeting that “being a vanguard is not a tender award” which is declared in “ podiums”, but was something people earned by waging struggles on the ground.

“Perhaps this illustrates the extent to which tenderpreneurship mentality and practices have penetrated our ranks. The vanguard role we are hearing today is that of being a vanguard for tenders, and not for the workers and the poor of our country,” Nzimande said.

He said “well-resourced business people and well-connected politicians” were behind the populist demagogues — a phrase that is increasingly being used by the Left to refer to Malema and his ilk.

Nzimande also sought to speak against the rift that had developed between Cosatu and the SACP, saying the two organisations should “close ranks” to avoid becoming a laughing stock.

He also defended his own appointment in government as higher education minister—which has been criticised by the Cosatu leadership for weakening the Communist Party—saying the labour federation should respect constitutional decisions of the SACP.

“Publicly, the SACP has said that we accept the bona fides of Cosatu leadership who raised this point, and we accept that it is out of genuine concern for the well-being of the party.

“We have also stated quite categorically that this is a decision for the party and not any other formation to make, and this indeed is a decision taken by the party after long discussions and based on a very extensive party debate,” Nzimande said.

The meeting continues behind closed doors where Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi is expected to table his secretariat report which is critical of the ANC under President Jacob Zuma’s leadership.

It is also expected to discuss how it should approach the ANC leadership succession debate ahead of the ruling party’s elective conference next year.

The ANC’s national executive committee has imposed a gag on the debate, which it says will distract the party from delivering on its electoral promises, but there’s a growing clamour within the Tripartite Alliance for the discussion to take place.

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