SACP contesting elections doesn't necessarily mean we will oppose ANC - Nzimande
Ekurhuleni – The South African Communist Party has resolved to contest future elections, with or without its alliance partners.
The party, which is in an alliance with the ANC, labour federation Cosatu and Sanco, reaffirmed a 2007 decision to go at it alone, but is still unsure about the "modality" of such a move, and has not indicated which year it would want to compete for state power.
SACP leaders made the announcement at the closing of the party's 14th congress, which took place throughout the week in Boksburg.
"On our side, we did not come here to break up the alliance," said its re-elected general secretary Blade Nzimande.
He also said he felt that the SACP contesting elections, while remaining in the alliance, did not mean it was going into opposition against the ANC.
"Allied formations contesting elections independently does not necessarily make allies opposition," he said.
Nzimande said the party would meet and discuss its resolutions with alliance partners, but that it was not a contradiction for it to remain within the alliance whilst contesting independently for power, adding that they "were not seeking permission from anyone".
Eight commissions sat and deliberated over the issue of state power, and all resolved that winning state power was important.
"There’s a strong feeling within the SACP that, too often, the SACP is used by the ANC during election campaigns," reads one of the resolutions taken by the delegates.
"Our resolution says we may or may not contest separately in the context of a reconfigured alliance," said Nzimande, adding that a roadmap would guide the process as far as "modalities" were concerned.
Some delegates questioned the removal of a date, claiming that during the commissions there was a strong feeling for the SACP to contest the upcoming general elections in 2019.
At least three delegates told News24 that they wanted the augmented central committee meeting, which sits in December, to be turned into a special congress, as this would allow it to make constitutional amendments, and allow the party to make a play for state power at the polls as soon as possible.
The congress resolutions speaks of a road map, with clear timelines, which will be adopted by the augmented central committee meeting.
The timeline should include a programme of active engagements with alliance partners, the working class and progressive forces, a common platform for a left popular front - which must be developed by the SACP - and an audit of the party’s capacity, which will all go into a report on the roadmap process to be handed to the Special National Congress.
Nzimande also admitted that the party should have implemented its 2007 resolution.
"All that this resolution does is strengthen the 2007 resolution, where we gave ourselves two options: contest elections under an ANC list, or contest through separate lists with an aim of maybe setting some sort of coalition," explained Nzimande.
He added that they had failed to fully implement that resolution
"Maybe we had the Polokwane hype, to be honest," he continued,
SACP deputy chairperson Thulas Nxesi said the resolution adopted at this year's congress was different from that in 2007, because this time they had asked for a roadmap towards contesting elections.