The road ahead will be a difficult one. People are going to have to make choices. Will they choose the ANC or the SACP? This was the question posed by the SACP’s Eastern Cape secretary, Xolile Nqatha, as the ANC heads to its national and provincial elective conferences with the tripartite alliance at its weakest in years.
The SACP is mulling over the possibility of pulling out of the alliance and contesting elections on its own. It will take a decision next year. But with some of its senior members holding leadership positions in the ANC, it has raised questions about whether or not they would be forced to choose.
Nqatha believes they would have to.
“The issue of dual membership is going to be reviewed.
“People will have to make choices. It is going to be difficult for the party going forward,” Nqatha said.
With the ANC provincial elective conference to take place at the end of the month, the two top contenders for the chairmanship, Phumulo Masualle and Oscar Mabuyane, are both also members of the SACP.
Masualle plays a leadership role in the SACP and sits on its central committee.
Neither Masualle nor Mabuyane would be drawn into saying what they would do should they be forced to choose between the two.
Masualle declined to comment at all, but Mabuyane said any move to split the ANC and SACP had to be avoided at all costs.
“Both parties will suffer, but the ANC will suffer the most,” he said.
“The ANC cannot turn a blind eye to the issues that the SACP is raising – it is raising genuine concerns. We must find a way of resolving them.
“The communists in the ANC have a role to play – that role is to shape the ANC to be able to produce the right cadres.”
But SACP provincial spokesman Siyabonga Mdodi believes the alliance has to be reconfigured to remain relevant.
“It is going to be very difficult to work effectively in the current alliance modalities, which we believe are outdated,” Mdodi said.
“We would want to see joint decision-making in major policy issues that affect the direction of our revolution rather than one alliance partner making decisions that affect all of us.”
He blames the ANC for the predicament the alliance finds itself in.
“Part of the challenges that confront our alliance is a lack of commitment from some leading sections of the ANC, the politics of factionalism and greed, among other things,” Mdodi said.
With the alliance at its most fractured in years, is it still a viable body to deal with the challenges facing the country?
Political analyst Zamikhaya Maseti believes the alliance has run its course and accomplished its revolutionary mandate.
“The struggle led by the ANC was to make sure that the general population, or blacks, do vote as citizens, to integrate the South African economy into this global economy and deliver basic services such as water, basic sanitation, RDP houses and social grants,” he said.
“All these objectives have been achieved.”
He believes that ideological differences and the “capture of the ANC” by a corrupt few will see the SACP and Cosatu split from the alliance. “At this stage, without any doubt, it has been captured by this comprador in conjunction with the most vulnerable political elites.
“Most of these guys want to accumulate – they are hungry.
“It is never enough, it is a class contestation,” Maseti said.
He believes the SACP and Cosatu will form a broader alliance with other leftist movements.
“Those from the left have now realised the contradictions between the comprador bourgeoisie, captured by the Guptas. These are irreconcilable if you are a communist,” Maseti said.
Cosatu provincial chairman Mzwandile Toyis said the labour federation remained committed to the alliance and advancing the interests of the working class.
He said Cosatu had seen gains through social programmes, but wanted to see more workers owning the economy.
“There has been a lot of noise about radical economic transformation, but we have not seen the specific proposals,” Toyis said.