Cut ties with the Guptas, or ANC will lose 2019 - Jeremy Cronin

SACP DGS tells NPC that, though originating earlier, state capture had gone on steroids after Zuma's election in 2009

Cape Town - The ANC is "dreaming" if it thinks it can still win more than 50% of the vote without immediately cutting ties with the Gupta family, SACP deputy secretary Jeremy Cronin says.

Cronin, fresh from the ANC's national policy conference in Gauteng, told members of the Cape Town Press Club that the ANC needs to be proactive in restoring its image ahead of the 2019 general elections.

"We must say, those of us in the ANC and the alliance, that government must immediately cut ties with the Guptas. Even if it's just for narrow ambitions," he said on Wednesday.

"If the ANC thinks its gonna get more than 50% on the current trajectory, locked in so visibly and manifestly into a Saxonwold family, then it's dreaming.

"It makes sense to say cut ties."

Cronin continued the Communist Party's anti-Gupta stance, saying the family's hold over key decision makers in the ruling party is destroying state-owned enterprises.

The idea of state capture did not start with the Zuma administration, but it had unquestionably "gone on steroids" since his election in 2009, he said.

'Zuma must step down'

Cronin believed there were a few things that needed to happen to arrest South Africa's governance decline, but repeated that none would be achievable without President Jacob Zuma going first.

"What the SACP, Cosatu, and many provinces of the ANC have said, is that Zuma must step down," he said.

"It won't solve all the problems, but we can't begin to make serious progress until he steps down."

Thereafter, South Africans should support the call for an independent judicial commission of inquiry into state capture.

He said the SACP had been the first to call for the judicial commission, even before former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommended it as remedial action in her State of Capture report.

"But beware, some people have said, 'okay, let's have a judicial commission, but let's look at Absa, and Bankorp bailouts...

"They've been forced to retreat, and have come back with diversions, like white monopoly capital.

"But a commission will address the problem of a looting public."

'It can't be a whitewash'

It was also important that the judge was independent, credible, and that its mandate is not so diverse that it spends 15 years deliberating broad themes.

It must not be a whitewash in the way the Seriti Commission into the Arms Deal had been, in his opinion.

He also said a commission must not suspend investigations into criminal actions for those who are found to have blatantly committed treasonable crimes.

"For instance, it's illegal to provide a top secret Cabinet document to a private party. It sounds treasonable to me."

The #GuptaEmails had pointed to evidence that even before Cabinet has seen a document, "other parties" are aware of it and may even have drafted it, he said.

"Those of us sitting in Cabinet committees think we are making decisions, meanwhile the decisions are supposedly being made elsewhere, at a so-called shebeen near Zoo Lake," he remarked.

Democracy 'under threat'

South Africans also needed to fight against the nuclear procurement deal.

"What we are looking at is something we can't afford and don't need. As South Africans, pro-nuclear, anti-nuclear, we really need to campaign for this."

Other things needed was also a de-concentration of fundamental needs, such as broadband access and other state-offered utilities.

Spatial poverty needed to be reconsidered, where the ANC was "reproducing poverty" in areas on the outskirts of cities, rather than providing low-income housing in city clusters, which would fall under land reform.

There also needed to be an upliftment of skills, starting at school level.

Ultimately, South Africans can win the fight against state capture, but only if it unites in its diversity, as it did in 1994.

"Whether you're a communist, socialist, liberal, as South Africans, we recognise the danger we are in, and that unite at least on a minimum programme of defending our Constitutional democracy.

"It's under threat. That huge achievement of 1994 is being eroded, undermined and parasitically looted."