SACP knows it can never win an election – Mmusi Maimane

SACP knows it would never get elected

Mmusi Maimane

Today marked the start of the South African Communist Party (SACP) National Congress. And as is always the case, the SACP is likely to submit a list of demands to government once the Congress is completed. The SACP’s resolutions from this Congress are likely to amount to demands for increased state control of the economy.

Interestingly, senior SACP officials are on record saying that they are preparing to stand for election under their own banner if their demands are not heard by the ANC in government.

Of course, this is highly unlikely ever to happen. The SACP has been making such threats since 2006, but never actually acts on it.

The fact of the matter is that the SACP knows that it can never hope to win an election and its leaders therefore won’t risk going it alone. They are hiding behind the ANC as a means to hold on to what little influence they have left.

Blade Nzimande is also unwilling to sacrifice his position as Higher Education Minister in Cabinet and would therefore never act on these threats to leave the tripartite alliance.

Instead, the SACP will stay in the alliance, as it always has, and will attempt to extricate as many government positions as possible from the ANC. It is clear that the SACP values positions in Cabinet much more highly than its own principles as a supposedly socialist movement.

In effect, “socialists” like Blade Nzimande are serving in a government that has distinctly different views. If the SACP really cared about its policy platform, it would run for election and seek a popular mandate for its ideas.

The SACP’s continued presence in the tripartite alliance, and its presence in government, is the perfect example of how personal material interests and political ambitions trump principles and the interests of the country.

So at the conclusion of this week’s congress, the SACP is likely to submit another list of demands to government. In the past these demands have included calling for state-led industrialisation, the renationalisation of large industrial companies in South Africa, such as SASOL and Mittal, expropriation of land without compensation, requiring private pension funds to invest in public investment corporations and reforming the financial sector for “developmental purposes”.

And as is usually the case, these demands will be ignored by government and the SACP will be content to stay in the alliance as long as enough of its members are employed in government positions.

The bottom line is that if the SACP wants to dictate the country’s economic policy, it must stand for election in 2014 and win votes.

Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane, DA National Spokesperson, July 11 2012

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