THE South African Communist Party (SACP) yesterday defended its attendance of the unsanctioned ANC stalwart and veterans conference in Braamfontein, Johannesburg at the weekend and said it was not undermining the ANC leadership.
The conference brought together delegates such as former presidents Kgalema Motlanthe and Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki was scathing in his remarks of the current leadership, by saying the ANC had been captured by a dominant faction and is dealing with the rot that has infested the entire organisation.
“Those are the stalwarts and veterans of our liberation struggle, as the SACP we are a listening party hence we attended the conference. This forms part of our principle to always have our doors open in order to engage on issues that affect our country,” SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said.
When ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said the conference was unsanctioned by the ANC, this had prompted political analyst Sipho Seepe into concluding that groupings which were in attendance such as the SACP, Cosatu and the South African National Civic Organisation together with the stalwarts and veterans, were in fact undermining the ANC leadership.
“We were not undermining the ANC it was wrong for Seepe to make such conclusions. We as the SACP cannot be a party of the people and when people say let’s talk then you shut them out,” Mashilo said. “The movement is in crisis with the complicity of President Jacob Zuma.”
SACP first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila had said during the conference that the party regrets supporting Zuma. Consequently, Mashilo said the party had taken responsibility for that support through a resolution calling for Zuma to step down. The stalwarts closed their conference by urging an ANC renewal.
In a statement, the stalwarts said that in accordance with rule 11.5 of the ANC Constitution, the party should at its December elective conference agree to set up a committee that would oversee its processes aimed at renewing the party.