Nzimande: SA is becoming a 'securocrat state'

Johannesburg - South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande has warned that the country is becoming a "securocrat state".

The former minister of higher education and training launched a scathing attack against President Jacob Zuma.

It comes at a time when the two former allies met for the first time - since Nzimande was booted out of Zuma's Cabinet - with alliance partners at Luthuli House.

Troubled relations

Relations within the tripartite alliance (ANC‚ SACP and the Congress of the SA Trade Unions) hit an all-time low when Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet last week for the second time in seven months, without any consultation.

Nzimande is of the view that the country is in the early stages of a "securocrat state", where "the political elite, brazenly use state institutions to ruthlessly acquire wealth and crush whoever stands in their way".

His scathing criticism of Zuma’s leadership is contained in the SACP’s online newsletter Umsebenzi, in a piece titled a "Tribute to Oliver Tambo", who was the ANC’s longest serving president.

"The existence of rogue intelligence activities, including smear campaigns and concocted criminal charges, primarily directed at leaders inside the movement, is a sure sign of the emergence of a securocrat state that relies on factionalist use of institutions of the criminal justice system," Nzimande wrote.

He also cited Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s alleged sex scandal and the political violence gripping KwaZulu-Natal as other examples of the emergence of a securocrat state.

The ANC, he said, is on the brink of collapsing.

"Our revolution and movement has entered [uncharted] waters, more or less in a whirlpool, such that it is on the verge of imploding."

Nzimande said they would work to "rescue the ANC from itself".

Tense times

A tense political alliance council meeting is underway – with Zuma and Nzimande sitting just a few seats apart. The alliance council comprises of six national officials from the ANC‚ SACP‚ Cosatu and the South African National Civic Organisation.

During a photo opportunity for the media – there was little engagement between the two.

Nzimande put on a brave face, smiling as Zuma joked with the media.

Seated next to the SACP leadership was Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali, who on Wednesday told News24 that they would seek answers from Zuma and the rest of the top six about Zuma’s unilateral Cabinet reshuffles.  

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said, an hour into the meeting, that all crises facing the alliance were up for discussion, including the call by the SACP and Cosatu for Zuma to step down.

She said the leaders were listening to each other, and raising issues honestly.

"It’s a meeting to look at the problems that we have. It's not a meeting to dismantle the alliance," Duarte explained.

In March, in an unprecedented move, Ramaphosa, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize criticised Zuma's removal of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, as a decision made "elsewhere", and a sign that the "party was no longer at the centre".

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