On Sunday, both the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent reported that there are growing calls for SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande to decide if he wants to stay in cabinet or be full time at the SACP headquarters.
According to the quoted source(s), it is detrimental for the SACP to have a general secretary who is occupying a position in the cabinet.
What these two newspapers and the said sources failed to comprehend is the fact that it is immaterial whether Nzimande is in cabinet or not.
The SACP has a central committee that can make the organisation achieve what it wants to regardless of its general secretary’s deployment.
What these newspapers suggest is that the party is a non-democratic organisation and only Nzimande decides on the direction that the party must take. In other words, they suggest that the SACP is an autocratic organisation.
What they again fail to understand is that for any organisation to function well, it must have branches that are a living organism to the organisation.
If branches as the basic unit of the organisation fail to play their roles, Nzimande’s return full time in the headquarters will not make any difference.
The SACP has two deputy general secretaries and its first deputy general secretary, Solly Mapaila, is responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation. Does this suggest that these deputies are not capable of doing their duties and they need the general secretary to babysit them for the party to implement its programmes?
These views must be looked at objectively because if not, they will only serve one purpose, that is to divide the organisation.
It is also not true that there are five provinces pushing this view and they failed to prove this in their publications. This seeks to suggest that this is nothing but a lie that only seeks to cause division at the congress and the party in particular.
This is what SACP members should be wary about, that faceless individuals exist only to cause divisions in the organisation during congresses.
There are also those who believe there will be some changes of leadership in this congress. The chances of this happening are slim; members of the party understand very well that this is not an elective congress and it is a special congress to make assessments of what the party has achieved since its last congress.
Yes, possible constitutional amendments may be made but only a national congress (elective) can make the final decision.
However, perhaps the biggest decision that this congress can make is to decide whether the SACP must contest elections or not. State power is an ultimate goal for any political party.
This will change how the party changes the course of history in this country and not whether Nzimande is full time in headquarters or not. In fact this is what is occupying the minds of the members of the SACP and the public in general.
The congress should deliberate thoroughly on this matter. The current reconfiguration of the alliance (though it has some positives) will not change the economic situation of the country. The neo-liberal policies of the government are also really not assisting in dealing with the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
The government has in the past 25 years failed to change the lives of the majority of the people. Those who are lucky enough happen to be those who are in leading positions in government, their cronies and their families. Hence some of them had no shame in telling us that they did not join the Struggle to be poor.
The SACP must therefore not waste the time of this congress by discussing Nzimande. This gathering should not be about him but progressive policies that will change the lives of the people of SA for the better.
The country is waiting for the SACP to fully understand that it cannot be a bystander in the struggle, not the SACP that will rely on the so-called reconfiguration of the alliance to play its meaningful role in the future of this country.
- Mhlanga is a member of the SACP
OPINION: Tom Mhlanga