SACP leaders are seemingly making a U-turn on the party's 2017 resolution to contest elections independently from the ANC.
This is expected to be one of the talking points at its special national congress (SNC), which will be attended by 750 delegates.
Speculation has been rife the SACP leadership will face tense questioning from delegates over its failure to contest elections.
Speaking to the media during its opening day on Monday, the party's general-secretary, Blade Nzimande, and his deputy, Solly Mapaila, were firm the party would not contest elections outside of the ANC.
"We are not retreating from any resolution of ours. Yes, we will contest elections. Our resolution says we still believe in the relevance and necessity of the alliance. However, we need to reconfigure the alliance: contest as part of an ANC list, but in a reconfigured alliance.
"We will still like to contest under one list. If that doesn't happen, it doesn't happen," Nzimande said, adding the SACP - with less than 400 000 members - was not scared of going at it alone.
This is in direct contrast with the party's discussion document that detailed a clear plan to gain more traction in communities in its preparation for the next local elections.
In the document, the SACP concedes it will need to look into broadening its support base among communities if it plans to survive beyond its alliance with the ANC.
Part of the document reads: "It is absolutely clear the 2021 local and 2024 national and provincial elections will not give a mandate to the ANC to remain in government unless the service delivery weaknesses as well as corruption and looting have been eradicated. And the financial and economic situation of each family has significantly improved. The prospects of achieving this, faces serious challenges".
The mid-term review will receive numerous reports and updates indicating whether these goals have been achieved. The congress also comes amid attempts to push for the ousting of certain leaders, including Nzimande.
SACP members, who wanted Nzimande removed as general-secretary in 2017, would attempt to bring that bid back into sharp focus, News24 earlier reported.
Failed attempt for elective congress
Some have attempted to turn the special national congress into an elective sitting where the face of the organisation could possibly change or result in Nzimande choosing between serving in Cabinet – as minister of higher education, science and technology - or the party on a full-time basis.
Mapaila said only one province had raised a suggestion the SNC should be turned into an elective congress, however, this failed when it was not seconded.
Only one province had raised a suggestion that the secretariat should serve on a full-time basis, according to Mapaila.
The Sunday Times reported this weekend that the gathering, which was meant to be dominated by the party's bid to contest for state power, was now likely to be dominated by discussions around Nzimande.
"This is a matter that has been discussed for a long time in the SACP. The last congress finalised on this matter on the basis that it will depend on challenges at the point in time the central committee will decide. The resolution indicates that one or all may be full-time.
"There is a province that has made propositions that says all members of the secretariat should be full-time as well as members of the provincial secretariat. It will be subject to discussion by the national congress. Even if that decision should be taken today, it will not be implemented immediately, that is not how it works," Mapaila said.
In the past, the SACP has advocated for a reconfigured alliance that would see it, civic organisation Sanco and trade union federation Cosatu given more pronounced powers and responsibilities by their perceived big brother, the ANC.
'We can't simply walk away'
In the past, to demonstrate its frustration, the SACP has sought to contest elections in some ANC-governed wards. Several years ago, it indicated its ambition to contest certain municipalities during the 2016 elections, but it abandoned its plans after consulting with the ANC’s top brass.
Despite indications the ANC is moving at a snail's pace to reassess its marriage with its alliance partners, Mapaila said the SACP do not have plans to leave the tripartite alliance.
"We can't commit ourselves to that task and simply walk away. We must attempt all avenues possible, to strengthen the movement.
"That is why, in 2019, we said our main task was to ensure that our national democratic movement does not lose power, instead it should consolidate power to advance the interest of the country."