Blade casts doubt on SACP contesting elections

Blade Nzimande (File, City Press)
Blade Nzimande (File, City Press)

SA Communist Party (SACP) boss Blade Nzimande has for the first time admitted that contesting elections separately from the ANC will wreak havoc for the party, and may even cause a split.

Nzimande used the SACP Gauteng congress on Friday to also throw a curve ball to delegates, saying that another important factor that had to be considered was that the party could not forge ahead leaving the workers under Cosatu behind.

Cosatu does not support the SACP resolution to contest elections independently from the ANC.

“Let’s face it, were we to contest elections separately outside of the alliance, we must know we are not going to move with everybody who is inside the party, okay. What would that mean? I don’t know.

“This doesn’t change our resolution, but [Russian communist revolutionary] Lenin said the most stupid thing that the communist party will do is to throw the vanguard into a battlefield alone without the rest of the working class. You are heading for a slaughter house,” he said to thunderous applause from the more than 500 delegates attending the congress in Benoni, east of Johannesburg.

“I don’t want comrades to say Nzimande is reinterpreting our resolution, I’m not. But also as [general-secretary] I have a duty to engage you as a party to say this.”

Cosatu is set to sit for its congress in September, where the matter will be considered.

The SACP leadership has been under fire over the past few months for what appears to be its reluctant posture in implementing the resolution to contest independently.

Nzimande said at the same time the SACP needs to fight for the reconfiguration of the alliance and explained that engagements will take place with its allies.

He said the ANC had been spoilt in the past years, when the SACP campaigned for the ANC, but was never party to critical decisions – including those on deployment.

“That’s unacceptable, it can’t continue and is not viable.”

Nzimande said the party was not a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) and as such should be engaged in deployments.

“People must not treat deployment as if it’s unimportant. We are not an NGO, we are a political party and we are interested in who wields state power. We can’t try and be revolutionary, [but] say we are not interested as to who the ANC deploys. We are interested because wrong people get deployed and they cause us problems [by] not advancing the roles we want to advance.”

Nzimande said he did not know how to describe the outcome of last year’s elective conference, saying it needed a “very deep Marxist and Leninist” analysis.

While the SACP accepted the exclusion of communists from the ANC national executive committee, he hoped that it was not a sign that the ANC was degenerating into an anticommunist bloc.

Nzimande pleaded for unity inside the SACP, saying there were people in the movement with an agenda to cause divisions inside the party.

This was in reference to a rebellion that was said to be simmering inside the party over his long stay in office, reluctance about contesting elections and that a group wanting his deputy Solly Mapaila to take over when the party sits for its delayed special congress.

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