By NEO GOBA and OLEBOGENG MOLATLHWA
SA Communist Party bosses yesterday said the ANC was grappling with how to deal with the controversial Gupta family while in the meantime there did not appear to be any appetite within the ANC to rescue itself from its challenges.
Delivering his party’s political report on the second day of the SACP congress in Boksburg‚ east of Johannesburg‚ SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande strongly suggested that some ANC leaders had no firm grasp of the challenges facing the ANC and South Africa as a whole.
“You know‚ when you hear some of our leaders say they will pick up the rand when it falls‚ you just despair‚” he said to laughter and applause.
He rejected the tendency of bringing up white monopoly capital as a counter-argument to accusations levelled against the Guptas.
“Don’t come and tell us‚ the SACP‚ that we have done nothing about corporate capture. We waged that struggle [against the financial sector] so that the banking sector could benefit millions more people.
“The Guptas are not an answer to monopoly capital; they are two sides of the same coin,” Nzimande said.
Responding to an accusation that the SACP was obsessed with the Guptas‚ Nzimande said: “If you weaken [state-owned companies] we have no weapon with which to roll back the effects of monopoly capital.”
Meanwhile, outgoing first deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin said on the sidelines of the congress that the party’s alliance partner, the ANC was grappling with how to deal with the business family.
Cronin said the issue went to the very heart of the ruling party.
“The ANC is clearly hamstrung and paralysed in confronting the issue of the Guptas because it goes deep into the ANC itself.
“We have a very important responsibility as the SACP to help to provide a voice to many in the alliance but who find for one reason or the other that the structures themselves are not working‚ they are disabled by the factional problems that they have. We need to make the link between the problems of state capture and the persisting problems of unemployment‚ poverty and equality‚” said Cronin.
The party veteran said state capture had “bled dry” key state entities.
“What the Gupta faction has done is that they have preyed upon the more effective delivery structures in the state‚ whether it’s the social grant payment system‚ which has worked amazingly‚ whether it’s Eskom and Transnet‚ which have their own challenges‚ which in previous years were critical arms of delivery in terms of infrastructure and logistics. What has happened with state capture is that those critical points of delivery and professional capacity have been bled dry and parasitic looting‚” Cronin said.
The SACP was the first member of the ANC-led tripartite alliance to call for a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.
Cronin added that divisions within the top leadership of the ANC were the root cause of the party’s failure to deal with the Guptas‚ who continue to milk the country dry‚ he said.
“The challenge we have as the Communist Party and at this congress is to defend our Constitution and democracy‚ but to also identify the issues that are blocking an effective address of the social crisis‚” said Cronin.
The SACP will use its six-day conference to discuss the divided state of the ANC-led tripartite alliance and how it can be reconfigured.
The party will also assess whether the deployment of its leaders into the government has weakened or strengthened the communist organisation.
It is also expected to discuss whether to cut ties with the ANC and contest elections on its own. — DDC