Former President Jacob Zuma has said the alliance led by the African National Congress (ANC) exists only in name.
In the latest segment of his Zooming With Zumas conversations with his son Duduzane, Zuma was especially critical of ANC alliance partners – the SA Communist Party (SACP) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
He accused the two organisations of being more interested in government positions than in fighting for socialism and the working class.
Alliance ‘at its weakest point’
Zuma said, “If Party [SACP] cadres are then participating more in government, who is fighting for the new change to kill capitalism? You end up with Party cadres who become involved in capitalist society, who must go and be ministers.
“Some people wanted to push the ANC to implement what otherwise should be done by the SACP party. There was an eagerness to get into government rather than to proceed with the struggle for socialism.
“In my view, the alliance at this point in time is at its weakest point. All of them, they will have to sit back and re-plan. The alliance needs to meet and say how do we distribute our work? What is the job of the ANC today?
“At times, it just exists in name. Even when they meet, the kind of issues they discuss leaves a lot to be desired.”
From friends to foes
COSATU and SACP were staunch Zuma supporters when he ran for ANC President against former President Thabo Mbeki in 2007. They believed at the time that Zuma was the right candidate to undo what they termed as the “1996 class project” engineered by Mbeki.
However, relations between them and Zuma soured a few years later when they began voicing concerns about his scandals. They were particularly vocal about the controversy surrounding security upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla residence and his relationship with the Gupta family.
They also publicly called for his resignation in 2016. The situation deteriorated to the extent that Zuma was unable to address COSATU’s May Day rally in 2017 after a hostile crowd booed him.
The labour federation and SACP also supported Cyril Ramaphosa for ANC Presidency against Zuma’s preferred candidate, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, at the ANC’s 54th national conference at NASREC.
ANC comrades ‘were bought’
However, Zuma told his son that the SACP’s disciplined approach “loosened” after it was unbanned in 1990, adding that political education is no longer applied as strictly as it was before.
He explained, “That is why, if we talk about NASREC, people will tell you about comrades being bought, and even if the Party’s people noticed that there was something wrong, they were helpless.”