Ahead of a crucial meeting with the ANC on Monday, the SA Communist Party (SACP) has warned the ruling party against disciplining Members of Parliament (MPs) suspected of voting against President Jacob Zuma in the recent no confidence motion. The communists’ calls appear destined to continue to fall on deaf ears. By GREG NICOLSON.
The consequences of Parliament’s August 8 vote of no confidence in Zuma, where an unprecedented number of ANC MPs voted against the president, continue to play out with the SACP on Sunday advising the ANC not to pursue disciplinary action against party members suspected of being errant.
The SACP has called for Zuma to resign but publicly said its MPs should back Zuma in the vote. Nevertheless up to 40 ANC MPs might have voted for the motion to remove Zuma and SACP MPs, along with dissenters such as Pravin Gordhan, Makhosi Khoza, Mondli Gungubele and Lindiwe Sisulu, who have taken positions against the president could face consequences within the party. The ANC has indicated it plans to take action against those it suspects of voting for the opposition motion.
The SACP’s central committee, which met over the weekend, said the ANC has the ultimate authority to decide whether to lay disciplinary charges, but “we urge restraint in this specific matter”.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that egregious ill-discipline, notably by certain ministers, in some cases amounting to treasonable sharing of cabinet information with private parties and for personal profit, is allowed to pass without the mildest rebuke, while others, out of concern for the ANC and the trajectory of our country, and without any personal profit motive, are pursued,” said the SACP in a statement.
The #GuptaLeaks have shown cabinet members shared confidential information with the Gupta family, which is against the law, but no action has been taken against the cabinet members, nor others implicated in widespread allegations of corruption against the cadres that worked with the Gupta family to capture the state.
“Selective, factionally-based application of discipline is wrong and will simply deepen disunity while encouraging the real miscreants. The comrades currently targeted for selective discipline should rather be engaged outside of a disciplinary process. We extend our solidarity with the comrades affected by these ill-considered disciplinary moves,” said the SACP.
This isn’t the first time the SACP has taken on its alliance partner, the ANC recently. After the SACP condemned the planned disciplinary action against MPs suspected to have voted in the silent ballot vote against Zuma, the ANC said: “We reject with the contempt it deserves the notion that acting against ill-discipline of the worst order in our ranks is factionalism.” The only defining element of the ANC and its alliance with the SACP and Cosatu, however, is factionalism.
The SACP and ANC will meet on Monday while the parties are at loggerheads. Both the communists and Cosatu have called for an alliance political council meeting, which would bring different leaders of the alliance to the same table, but the ANC has refused because of the SACP and Cosatu’s calls for Zuma to step down.
The SACP on Monday will have to raise its decision to contest elections independently of the ANC, but on more immediate issues it will need to raise its disgruntlement over the lack of action taken over the many allegations against the Gupta family. The SACP continues to support the call for an independent Judicial Commission of Inquiry based on the specific focus of the Public Protector’s report.
“While the ANC leadership has resolved on an urgent judicial commission of inquiry – there is still no movement on this matter. In the light of the avalanche of email exposures of the sheer scale of looting of public resources, we cannot passively await a long postponed judicial commission. Where there are clear-cut, prima facie cases of wrong-doing, the criminal justice institutions must move with urgency and determination, without which more billions of rands of public money will continue (to) be spirited out of our country to Dubai and other off-shore locations,” said the SACP on Sunday.
The party condemned the sale of the Gupta-owned media operations ANN7 and The New Age to Mzwanele Manyi and their mining company Tegeta to a Dubai businessman. “These dummy sales are brazen attempts by the Guptas to restore suspended banking services, to evade tax responsibilities, and to expatriate yet more ill-gotten wealth. The transparent crudeness of these ‘sales’ once more underlines the racist contempt in which the Guptas hold South Africa’s black majority government and the gay abandon with which they treat the national sovereignty of their supposed, adoptive homeland.”
Amid worry that SACP ministers might be removed from their portfolios, the party is likely to raise these issues in Monday’s meeting. Despite its recent outspokenness, the SACP remains implicated for its past support of Zuma’s administration and its recent protests have fallen on deaf ears within the ANC. For too long the communists have accepted their position as a junior partner, and it’s not going to change on Monday. DM
Photo: Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande briefs media on opportunities for Matric Class of 2016 in Post-School Education and Training system, 12 January 2017. (Photo: GCIS)