The SA Communist Party (SACP) has criticised arrogant leaders in the ANC, saying it wants to shift the focus of the alliance towards intensive mass campaigns so that utterances that the ANC is not interested in so-called dirty votes of the masses will no longer arise.
“The SACP is opposed to leadership arrogance and will therefore not respond by denying the fact that there is always room for improvement on its campaign fronts,” SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said.
The SACP said outside the elections the ANC was, since the democratic breakthrough in 1994, anonymous in mass campaigns and it had also admitted, “albeit leniently”.
“It is very important to build an inviolable bond with the masses, to be where the masses are, to form part of and develop revolutionary leadership from within and therefore in the daily struggles of the masses,” Mashilo said.
He said the ANC’s Thuma Mina campaign should be deepened to build an unbreakable bond with the masses and to address their issues.
“It has the potential to be one of the best ANC campaigns if it is not abandoned.”
The SACP wanted to refocus the alliance towards mass campaigns.
Once this becomes effective and intensified, Mashilo said, “there will be no need to label the struggles around the issues of the masses as oppositionist”.
The communist party is sticking to its guns, saying alliance partners want to be consulted before all major policy, deployment and accountability decisions are made in government.
This has been a serious bone of contention between the ANC and its alliance partners – the SACP and trade union federation Cosatu, as well as the SA National Civic Organisation.
“For instance, there are moments when the other alliance components are attacked in Parliament and the current configuration and modus operandi fails to produce any defence,” Mashilo said.
Cosatu general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali says the alliance has to be consulted before key decisions are taken.
“You can’t have an alliance where naked decisions are taken. For example, on the appointment of the Cabinet the ANC says it is the prerogative of the president. Our view is that the president has to consult. The alliance has to be consulted,” Ntshalintshali told City Press this week.
An alliance political council was held last week at Luthuli House, ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg, to resolve areas of disagreements.
According to Ntshalintshali, decisions taken by the council must be binding.
“The alliance political council must be able to take decisions. Once we have a decision in the alliance political council that decision must be binding.”
This comes after the ANC told its alliance partners that “no alliance leader or anyone in the ANC must be guaranteed or feel entitled to a leadership position either in the ANC or in the state”.
In its document, the ANC said questions should be asked about the role of the SACP, particularly the extent to which it had been playing its role as the vanguard in “building the working-class consciousness and unity in action”.
The SACP said it was not a mature response to accuse the SACP and Cosatu of seeking to convert the alliance into an “arrangement representing only an agreement of leaders”.
“This accusation is further impugned by the historical facts of the call and absolute necessity for a reconfigured alliance.”
Since the ANC came to power in 1994, the alliance has been beset by divisions.
The SACP notes that the 1994 democratic breakthrough did not arise from the stand-alone efforts of the ANC, “but also from the efforts and vital support of the SACP and the other alliance components”.
“We worked very hard, jointly and severally, to build the electoral support and unity of our historical constituencies. However, new organisation contradictions emerged and developed with a negative impact on our electoral and broader political support,” Mashilo said.
Ntshalintshali said there had to be secretariat meetings twice a month for the alliance to work.
The ANC has made a slight concession that its list processes to nominate candidates for public posts after elections need to be strengthened to ensure active participation by alliance partners.
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