South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande says the party leadership is under siege with leaders’ phones being bugged by “parasites” trying to paralyse the African National Congress and its alliance partners.
He made the claim in Pietermaritzburg on Friday during a Moses Mabhida memorial lecture organised by the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in KwaZulu-Natal.
“We know that conversations of our office bearers are being listened to by people who seek to drive a wedge between Cosatu and the SACP,” said Nzimande.
“They creep into the night in order to carry out this agenda in the hope that this will create fertile ground for their takeover of the ANC. We know them.”
He said the ANC had suffered losses in the 2016 local government elections because of factionalism and warned that if not attended to swiftly, this would cripple both the ANC and alliance.
“Factionalists and parasites are twin problems whose aim is to paralyse the ANC and alliance in order to enjoy free reign in accumulating wealth,” said Nzimande, who has had a torrid week after announcing the university fee structure for 2017 in his capacity as Minister of Higher Education.
Branch meetings in the ruling party, Nzimande continued, were no longer about the challenges facing communities, especially poor people.
“What is happening now is that people meet to discuss who should occupy which position and where a tender should go. People’s problems no longer take centre stage. Such a preoccupation is hurting and may cause further damage,” the SACP leader told union members.
Where were the workers?
He said while the ANC was to blame for the losses, alliance members in Cosatu and the SACP should bear some of the responsibility for the 2016 losses for failing to mobilise people to vote in numbers.
“Where were the workers when metros and other municipalities got lost to the DA? It is time to take a thorough look at ourselves.”
Nzimande called on SACP and Cosatu members to continue discussing whether the SACP should contest the elections alone in future without fear of being ridiculed by some in the ruling party.
“Maybe contesting the elections will help the ANC to become strong again and that is why we need to discuss the matter,” said Nzimande.
The SACP leader also made a veiled reference to the Gupta family who he said was intent on accumulating state wealth.
“We have this family that is not from this country whose name will not be mentioned but have been part of a discussion for such a long time now. They have a sense of entitlement on state resources. We wonder where they got that.”
Nzimande said the Mandelas, Sisulus and other families who had a prolific history of involvement in the struggle did not demonstrate any form of entitlement to the state.
He concluded by calling on workers to work toward unity, warning that important parastatals such as SAA, Eskom and Transnet “could be stolen” if workers were divided.