Tomorrow’s highly awaited vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma might expose the leaders of the South African Communist Party to be political chess players in the Zuma camp within the ANC.
The SACP has failed to correctly apply its tools of analysis in recent years. It seems historical materialism has been forgotten, especially about the party’s views on Zuma and its resolution to contest state power.
The SACP’s failure to understand that the removal of Zuma from office will be a serious blow if the party tries to contests elections in 2019.
In Mpumalanga, the provincial SACP once called for the removal of the Premier David Mabuza. This was followed by the Democratic Alliance tabling a motion of no confidence in the premier.
In a master stroke of genius, the ANC mandated its deputy chief whip in the legislature and also provincial secretary of the SACP Bonakele Majuba to defend the premier. It was the same Majuba (in his SACP hat) who had pronounced and vowed to make sure that Mabuza was recalled. Are such contradictions not confusing society?
The ANC Youth League in response made a mockery of the SACP and its leadership, calling them “angriest” who are only interested in being appointed to the provincial executive.
Nationally, the SACP threatened to resign en masse if Zuma recalled then finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Zuma the political chess player removed Gordhan and appointed more SACP members to his Cabinet and there were no resignations. Was it checkmate for the SACP? Maybe the perception of the youth league about the SACP was correct.
The SACP taught us that historical materialism is important in analysing society and events and I hope that this time they will apply their tools correctly.
The ANC will assembly its best cadres to counter the motion against the Zuma during the debate and, reading from the previous trends, SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande will lead the charge in defence of the president. What message will he send to society about the SACP?
In Parliament they defend Zuma but on public platforms they call for his removal.
These contradictory messages – in Parliament and in public – will form part of the 2019 campaign by the oppositions to show the inconsistencies of the SACP.
Majuba always says the SACP is the political party of power and indeed its the ultimate goal of every political party to be elected to run government. Therefore, the SACP cannot suspend its programmes and resolutions on state power and wait for the December factional victors of the ANC to accommodate them.
The current political terrain needs the SACP to save and defend the national democratic revolution and the post-1994 democratic gains by leaving the corrupt Zuma administration and leading the struggle on the ground, mobilising society and all progressive left forces for the 2019 elections.
If nothing is done now, it would mean the resolution was taken to please the majority of the 14th Congress – who wanted Solly Mapaila to be the general secretary and lead them to contest state power.
The ANC has a right to whip and discipline its members if they vote against the party position. It is hypocrisy of the highest order to expect the ANC MPs to use their conscience while the rest will be voting according to their political party position.
What would happen if there are members of the opposition who feel that the vote of no confidence in Zuma is an agenda for undemocratic regime change that will bring political and economical instability in South Africa?
We know that the Economic Freedom Fighters threatened its councillors in Tshwane and Johannesburg and recently in Mogale City to toe the party line. Those who held a different view, like its former treasurer Magdalene Moonsamy, were isolated.
The DA even conducted or wanted to conduct a lie detector test for its councillors after a vote which saw it lose its mayoral position in Mogale City.
As for the ANC MPs who want to vote against the party position and become heroes for the opposition, are they doing it for the ANC and the 62% majority of South Africans or they are building their own careers for the post-2019 elections?
People must remember that the problems with Zuma’s presidency were already in the public domain in 2014 – including the Nkandla scandal and the Guptas landing at Waterkloof Airforce base – but yet they opted to work under him. Where was the individual conscience or it was just politics of the stomach?
Heroes are those who refused to work with or under Zuma post-Mangaung and the 2014 election.
• Maviyo Ndinisa is the former Youth Communist League of South Africa spokesperson in Mpumalanga