SACP in KZN furious with ANC for lack of consultation on new MECs
Daggers have been drawn between the SA Communist Party (SACP) and the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal following the exclusion of SACP members in the provincial cabinet that was recently announced by newly elected KZN premier Sihle Zikalala.
The SACP claims it was not consulted by the ANC about the appointment of the 10 provincial MECs, which excluded its provincial secretary Themba Mthembu, a former agriculture and rural development MEC. He was replaced by Bongi Sithole-Moloi.
Mthembu told a media briefing in Durban on Tuesday that the tripartite alliance, which consists of the ANC, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the SACP, in KZN was not working together.
PODCAST: Sunday Times Politics Weekly - “The President owes us an explanation”
He said while the SACP applauded inclusive deployments through consultation with the alliance in the national and provincial executive committees in provinces such as Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, the deployment in KZN lacked meaningful consultation.
“We’re saying that we were not properly consulted. In fact, we’re saying we were not consulted at all. We were informed of decisions that had already been taken. In fact, we felt being managed rather than being consulted.
“We’re managing each other now here in KwaZulu-Natal in the alliance rather than working together and consulting each other on issues pertaining to governance,” said Mthembu.
He said there was deep concern of a developing practice by the ANC where deployments were done to satisfy the expectations of factions than the need to address the quality of service delivery.
"We were excited to see even the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] delaying the announcement of his cabinet because he was busy with consultations. We wonder why are we failing here in KwaZulu-Natal. So that’s the situation. We engaged with the ANC very robustly but we told them that we’re not raising these things because we’re crying, because we’re so desperate to be in the executive.
“We’re raising this thing because this is what we were supposed to be doing. And we told the ANC that we’re not going to fight to be in the executive. That is going to be the last thing to do. It must come from their hearts. But we must not give an impression that we’re working fine together. It’s a different ball game together. We must not fool the masses. So if we’re in the alliance let’s be in alliance,” said Mthembu.
The SACP provincial leader said there was no need to ask the ANC why their members were left out of government because there were aware “there were some powerful people who were not happy to accommodate communists in government”.
“So we knew that was something that was going to happen. I think we need to be open. So we did not want to ask a question where we have answers. Coming from Nasrec [the ANC’s elective conference], we saw the whole national office bearers of the SACP being wiped out of the NEC of the ANC. That defined the alliance.
“Coming from this very same deployment in [KZN] government, we’re seeing a number of SACP leaders, whether nationally or provincially, being taken out of the government. That defines the relationship of the alliance. The issue of performance was never raised,” said Mthembu.
He also revealed that the SACP had written to the ANC, asking for a meeting for the alliance to evaluate the performance of the ANC in government in the last five years and those who were deployed.
“We could not find a response because we strongly believe there have to be appraisals. So there have been no appraisals. Who can ever says there have been appraisals will be a liar. So that’s why we’re saying the deployment is based on factional considerations. Finish and klaar,” he said.
SACP provincial chair James Nxumalo said the party was concerned about Mthembu’s exclusion from the provincial cabinet as he had come up with a turnaround strategy for the department of agriculture and rural development.
“We have to be fair in dealing with the issues of the alliance. The first thing we must do is to assess the performance of all the MECs and be able to come up with an understanding in terms of the performance of each department of each MEC. You cannot single out one MEC out of many.
“So that was our concern. And we’ve never discussed the issue of performance of MECs with the ANC. So our expectation was that we thought comrade Themba Mthembu, our provincial secretary, was going to be returned back to the cabinet understanding that he did not start the deployment of being the MEC from 2014. He joined cabinet in the middle of the term. We think it was unfair because he should have been given another chance to serve in the cabinet,” said Nxumalo.
ANC provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli was not immediately available for comment.