South Africa’s Political Tensions Heat Up

Tensions between South Africa’s ruling alliance partners continue to sharpen over the growing calls for President Jacob Zuma to resign. On August 16, the governing African National Congress attacked the South African Communist Party, after the SACP complained of a “witch-hunt” against rebel MPs. In the strongest criticism of its alliance partner to date, the ANC slammed what it called the “extremely ill-advised and gravely unfortunate statement” issued earlier that day by the SACP.

Zuma survived an opposition no-confidence vote in Parliament on August 8. But while the SACP urged MPs to vote against the motion, it has also called on the President to resign, or else for the ANC to recall him over his corrupt links to the billionaire Gupta family which exercises immense political influence over the government and the state apparatus. The Party has also taken part in protests for Zuma’s resignation, in the wake of the President’s firing of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan last March.

The funeral earlier this year for veteran ANC and Communist leader Ahmed Kathrada was a catalyst for criticism of corruption around President Zuma.

In the wake of the parliamentary vote, the ANC has moved to discipline MPs who have admitted voting with the opposition. The SACP calls these measures a “myopic campaign clothed in the name of discipline” and in pursuit of a “factionally charged agenda.”

The statement which drew the ANC leadership’s anger says, “The South African Communist Party rejects a witch-hunt against MPs. The myopic campaign clothed in the name of discipline is nothing but a factionally-charged agenda. Revolutionary discipline is consistent. It would have long ago decisively acted against the rot of corporate capture of the state and sections of our movement and its leaders. Revolutionary discipline would have long ago acted without fear, favour or prejudice against corruption. It would have long ago acted against deployed office bearers, including President Zuma for making decisions without consultation. Such poorly considered decisions, taken in violation of the democratic, revolutionary discipline of our movement, plunged our country into a financial crisis.

“Our country has lost a massive amount of capital due to widespread governance decay and siphoning of public money through illicit tenders and tender practices, corruption and maladministration. This is the money South Africa direly needs to uplift the quality of life of the workers and the poor and deepen democratic transformation and national development.

“The SACP has nothing in common with credit rating agencies. But as the Party we are not oblivious to the deleterious consequences of their downgrading decisions. Our country should not be pushed into such decisions the way President Zuma has recklessly done and without being held accountable. For example other ANC officials did acknowledge after the last cabinet reshuffle that the President acted unilaterally from elsewhere, that is outside our shared revolutionary discipline, Luthuli House and the Alliance as a strategic political centre that must guide the conduct of the ANC-led-alliance government.

“Our country was plunged into recession. The cost of borrowing has shot sky-high. National debt has become worse. Inequality, unemployment and poverty remain persistently high. Meanwhile the President`s friends, the Guptas are smiling all the way to the bank and Dubai because of their proximity to his person. One of them has become South Africa`s top black billionaire. It is inconceivable that this happened without the relationship, and associated with it, funds from developmental finance institutions of the state, tenders from state owned entities and decisions made in government and the public sector by the Gupta-captured network of officials, public office bearers and executives.

“All other discipline that turns a blind eye to these glaring realities is nothing but factional discipline! All other democratic centralism that does not act against the rot is nothing but factional centralism!

“The SACP reiterates its call that President Zuma must resign, failing which the ANC must recall him. Holding the President accountable will show that the ANC is consistent on discipline. The recall of the President alone will not solve the many systemic and structural problems facing our movement and country, but it will go a long way in building the basis for solving the problems associated with his failed leadership.”



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