Nzimande puts his hand up for Zuma

2012-07-13 00:00

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande has endorsed President Jacob Zuma’s leadership and hinted that his party would like to see its outgoing chairperson Gwede Mantashe in the ANC “for a long time to come”.

Nzimande made his endorsement of the current ANC leadership when presenting his political report at the party’s conference at the University of Zululand yesterday.

He said the SACP was “happy about many positive developments in government as led by President Jacob Zuma”.

Addressing Mantashe, Nzimande said the party had “not sold you to the highest bidder”, but will merely “give you space to go and do that job [ANC secretary-general], and hopefully for a long time to come”.

As he said this, some delegates raised two fingers, signifying their support for a second term for Zuma and his supporters.

Nzimande jokingly reprimanded them, and making the sign of the cross-bones and skull representing the soccer team Orlando Pirates, said he preferred other signs.

In a speech which took almost two hours to deliver, Nzimande also called for closer co-operation with labour federation Cosatu. “The two organisations are the socialist axis for this alliance. We must not allow anything to destroy this relationship between our organisations,” he said.

Cosatu had criticised Nzimande for accepting a cabinet position while holding the full-time position of general secretary, but Nzimande said the two organisations had talked through their differences about this.

Nzimande added that the SACP had outstanding issues with the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa, which wanted to see a leadership change in the ANC.

“A weak SACP is a weak Numsa and so there is a need to sort out our internal problems …”

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