With about 16 days to go into the 54th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP) says it will not be endorsing any aspirant among the ANC presidential candidates in the upcoming elective conference.
In a statement issued during a briefing on the outcomes of the communist party’s meeting, former Higher Education Minister, who doubles as SACP general secretary, Blade Nzimande, said the tripartite alliance partner has resolved not to invest in one particular candidate.
The party, nevertheless, called on ANC delegates to carefully elect a leadership structure that will help revamp the ruling party and also save it from its current crisis and scandals.
Although the ANC is yet to officially comment on SACP’s shocking decision, many are of the opinion that the decision may hit hard at the ruling party, considering that the communist party forms part of an alliance with the ANC and the Congress of Trade Unions of South Africa (Cosatu).
Furthermore, the party also called for the next ANC leader to try to deal with corporate State Capture, establish a judicial commission of inquiry into State Capture, prosecute those involved in the alleged crimes linked to the Guptas and remove incompetent ministers.
“Firstly, the leadership must be prepared to take forward the struggle against the capture of the state, other forms of corruption and general leadership arrogance, the establishment of an independent judicial commission into state capture, support for the criminal prosecution without fear or favour,” Blade Nzimande said.
The ruling party is due to hold its elective conference from the 16th to the 20th December 2017 in Gauteng, where delegates are expected to choose President Jacob Zuma’s successor, the deputy president, party chairperson, the secretary general, deputy secretary general and treasurer.
Delegates are also expected to elect members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) as well as other major party officials during the crucial conference.
Likely candidates for party leader and consequently also the party’s candidate for president are Cyril Ramaphosa, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Mathews Phosa, Baleka Mbete, Jeff Radebe, Zweli Mkhize and Lindiwe Sisulu.
Dlamini-Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa are seen as frontrunners in the race to the top post. And while the Free State, Northen Cape and Mpumalanga have nailed their colours to the Dlamini-Zuma mast, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng are supporting Ramaphosa.
Other key supporters of Dlamini-Zuma include the ANC Youth League and the ANC Women’s League. COSATU, however, had since announced it would support Ramaphosa’s presidential bid.
The SACP, with its 200,000 or so members the party, was once a strong vocal supporter of President Zuma until his administration was put in a bad light following allegations of corruption and unhealthy influence by the Gupta family. The party’s strong opposition to Zuma was widely seen as the main reason SACP’s Blade Nzimande was axed during the president’s last cabinet reshuffle in October.