Hani drawn into tripartite alliance squabble

2013-04-10 17:41

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The solemn occasion to mark the 20th anniversary of struggle hero Chris Hani's death could not paper over cracks in the ruling tripartite alliance.

SA Communist general secretary Blade Nzimande took a swipe at his ally and Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi for suggesting that Hani would have opted to lead the SACP, rather than take up a cushy position in government. Hani was assassinated in 1993 in the driveway of his Boksburg home.

Nzimande, who serves as higher education minister in government, said his comrades should not “vulgarise” Hani’s life and the things he had said.

Some Cosatu leaders have voiced their unhappiness with Nzimande’s decision to take up a full-time post in government while he keeps his position in the SACP.

“Some in our ranks try to use the statement by comrade Hani that he was not interested in serving in joining government to try and rubbish SACP decisions about participating in our own government.

“They say what Chris said should have led the SACP not participate in government, including its most senior leadership. Where would Chris have been if he had lived post 1994 era? Frankly we don’t know, except that he would have gone to where the ANC and the SACP would have deployed him,” Nzimande said.

He said Hani was popular – the second most popular leader after Nelson Mandela – but said his popularity “was not won on the front pages of the print media”.

President Jacob Zuma weighed in on Nzimade’s side, saying he had taken the matter up with Hani during a trip, but said the communist leader had died before they had had proper discussions on it.

In what could be seen as veiled swipe at Vavi’s vocal criticism of the ANC, Zuma said Hani was “outspoken yet mindful of organisational boundaries”. Hani never used one organisation in the alliance against another, Zuma said.

“He knew what to say, how to say it, and where to say it.

“It would be sheer opportunism to use the name of Chris Hani to do anything contrary to the maximum unity of the alliance,” he said.

The commemoration service was also attended by Hani’s family.

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