The SACP in Gauteng always purports itself as a political formation that upholds the highest pedigree of political correctness, revolutionary morality and leadership virtue. Regrettably, the party that claims to be vanguard of the working class and the poor has reduced itself into an apron string for sectarian and divisive interests within the African National Congress (ANC) headed Alliance. Despite its pious platitudes about “building working class unity”, “respect for independence of alliance components”, and “non-interference in ANC electoral contests”.
At its joint bilateral statement with Cosatu, threw a plethora of slanderous insinuations, tacitly directed towards MEC Lebogang Maile and Emfuleni Mayor Lehana Khawe. The two are former leaders of the ANC Youth League in the province, and they are both vying for key positions ahead of the scheduled ANC Gauteng Provincial Conference early next month July 2018.
The so-called two Left and socialist formations are allegedly “deeply concerned that (these) Gupta-type forces have hijacked, and therefore dressed themselves in a revolutionary costume known as “generational mix”, meaning a dialectical fusing of the experienced old and young leadership in our broad movement”. It is public knowledge by now that Maile and Khawe are enjoying groundswell support to be elected to the positions of Deputy Chairperson and Provincial Secretary, respectively. The two enjoy popular support from the league of the ANC, in line with their principled calls for “generational mix” in the leadership collective of the ANC.
In a cynical way, both SACP and Cosatu charge that their will “directly contest against any tendency towards a Guptarised generational mix”. This charge is problematic because it insinuates that both Maile and Khawe are “Gupta family” proxies in Gauteng, and they represent a “Guptarised generational mix”, hell-bent on milking the State coffers to benefit their cronies or allies. This absurd and self-created imaginary narrative by SACP and Cosatu is not only destructive but seeks to sow divisions within the ANC and Alliance as a whole.
In their joint statement there is not even a single mention of the conditions faced by the working class and the poor in Gauteng. There is no whiff of how these Left axis are going to attack employer’s big-headedness for wanting to give workers 0% wage increments, or fights against the escalating cost of food, struggles against ailing public transport system or crisis of youth unemployment and casualization of workers. We don’t see any efforts on their parts to build alliances with other Left-minded formations to make sure that the “New Dawn” puts the interests of workers and poor people first, as opposed to big business.
This week’s attacks are not new nor surprising, but reawakened old and painful memories. In 2012, the then Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced new Members of the Executive (MEC’s), and the late former SACP Provincial Chairperson Nkosiphendule Kolisile, was appointed MEC for Economic Development. The ANC Gauteng then had to contend with the wrath of the current SACP Gauteng leadership personnel bullying shots to remove the late Kolisile as a Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) and even reverse his appointment as an MEC.
Unfortunately for them, Paul Mashatile's leadership collective did not cave in to their tantrums. The ANC took a principled stance and defended its decision to deploy the late Kolisile to the Economic Development portfolio. This exposes the current opportunism and behavior of party leadership, since its sees itself as the only crop capable to lead; possess highest form of organizational discipline and incorruptible.
If you read the statement carefully, you will see that there was nothing of substance that was discussed in the bilateral. The principal genesis of their statement is to make false impressions that the imminent capitulation of Maile and Khawe will result into “extreme difficult to reconfigure the Alliance with forces prone to a Gupta-type and all forms and manifestations of corruption and maladministration”. This an extreme attack on the credentials of these young, dynamic and people centered emerging leaders of the ANC. They are being painted as “forces to a Gupta-type” as a strategy for them to be isolated from their constituencies and key membership base support, including the ANC itself.
Because the SACP leadership in Gauteng lacks a political connection with working class struggles - thanks to it relentless destruction of internal radical energies - its political survival rests entirely on hanging on to the coat tails of those they deem powerful in the ANC and in the state.
It is an opaque politics that sees leading members of the party aligning themselves with certain perceived powerful political figures within the ANC in order to be rewarded with parliamentary perks or fat deployments in SOEs. This in turn guarantees them upward class mobility, whilst their constituency, the working class and poor, is reeling under poverty and squalor.
As we commemorate Karl Marx’s bi-centennial – let’s repeat “God save us from these Marxists”. Like Marx we are appealing to the celestial powers to save us from our own 21st century Communists in Gauteng! We need a Communist party that is rooted at popular struggles of the workers and the poor. Gauteng being the belly of South African capitalism, the vanguard should be much more militant in galvanizing the working class behind an alternative and just path.
Castro Ngobese works for the Gauteng Provincial Government; former National Spokesperson of Young Communist League (YCL); former National Spokesperson of Numsa. Writing in his personal capacity.