Jeremy Cronin: 'I was never happy with Zuma cult'

Former SACP deputy general secretary wishes he had pushed his views more strongly in 2007

16 July 2017 - 00:00 By RANJENI MUNUSAMY

Veteran SACP ideologue Jeremy Cronin has stepped down after 22 years as deputy general secretary with a major regret - that he failed to oppose the party's backing of President Jacob Zuma more forcefully.
Cronin said he had serious misgivings about the SACP's support for Zuma ahead of the ANC's 2007 Polokwane conference and tried to "pull back".
He said it was a principle of the SACP, strongly espoused by its former general secretary Joe Slovo, that the party should not support personalities.
But both the SACP and Cosatu, led by Blade Nzimande and Zwelinzima Vavi, "invested excessive expectations" in Zuma, Cronin said.
"Looking back, perhaps I should've been firmer in my views. I expressed them in the party but perhaps not as forcefully as I should've done," he said.
While Cronin remains in the SACP's central committee, he did not make himself available for re-election as first deputy general secretary. He said the baton should be handed to younger generations.
"I will be 72 by the time of the next congress. It is better to make way before you are kicked out," Cronin joked.
He joined the SACP in 1968 and served seven years in prison from 1976 for contraventions of the terrorism and internal security acts. He was elected onto the SACP's central committee in 1989 in Cuba and was on the party's negotiating team at Codesa.
Cronin said he was privileged to have served the party under Slovo and Chris Hani, and as a writer and theorist contributed to shaping key moments in history.
He revealed that the controversial "sunset clause", which led to the first government of national unity and granted concessions to the National Party, was actually "invented" by former president Thabo Mbeki and not Slovo, as is widely believed.

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