The SACP says it has not been consulted about an approaching Cabinet reshuffle, but rather hopes to have President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ear before a declaration is made.
The SACP held a media briefing on Monday following its central meeting over the weekend. General secretary Blade Nzimande told journalists the party had yet to be consulted on any pending changes to the national executive.
Nzimande was booted out of Cabinet by former president Jacob Zuma in October 2017. The SACP claimed his axing was because he had been vocal about state capture and the party’s demand for Zuma to be recalled.
“We are aware certainly that the president is consulting within the structures of the ANC.
“We hope that before he announces, we would also be consulted because we do have our own views, not just on names, but on certain urgent things we think should be done,” said Nzimande.
His deputy, Solly Mapaila, reiterated this view but added a warning that the SACP would “express [itself] seriously” should it not be consulted.
Nzimande, who said he had not been approached or asked to take up his old position as higher education minister yet, said he would cross that bridge when he came to it.
Mapaila, however, said there was a party position on this matter.
“He [Nzimande] was unceremoniously removed from Cabinet by president Zuma. Even leaders of the ANC were just informed that he had taken the decision, but we rejected that… and said comrade Blade must remain a member of Parliament,” said Mapaila.
Defending the party’s general secretary, Mapaila said Nzimande was not removed because he was incompetent, but for his views on state capture.
He also said those who supported the SACP’s stance, including former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas, were victimised.
The SACP also decried a false closing of ranks in the ANC. Calling on the organisation to not put up a “phony ceasefire in the name of ANC unity” ahead of the 2019 general elections, he warned that this would not only betray the struggle but also be rejected by the masses.
‘The poor don’t live on pap and bread alone’
Although the SACP said it believed South Africa’s new president, Ramaphosa, was serious about fighting state capture, the party was still worried that some leaders and state organs still had links to those implicated in the state capture project. The project is said to have resulted in the theft of millions from the country through a relationship between Zuma and his close friends, the Gupta family.
“A reconstructed and revitalised criminal justice system must be allowed to pursue its responsibilities.”
The party also took the opportunity to express its dissatisfaction over Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s announcement of a VAT increase during his budget speech last week.
“The SACP is extremely unhappy with the VAT. It marks the possible beginnings of regressive creep. While some basic foodstuffs are zero-rated, the working class and poor do not live on bread and pap alone,” said Nzimande.
It also refuted claims by Gigaba that the poorest of the poor would not be affected by the increase.
“Other indirect taxes, like the increase of a fuel levy, will further impact on the cost of living for the poor.”