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South Africa’s Communist Party Cautions Mbeki’s Government

South Africa’s Communist Party (SACP) Tuesday said some political activities being undertaken by President Thabo Mbeki’s ruling African National Congress Party could potentially plunge the country into a leadership crisis. The SACP, which has been in alliance with the ANC since 1994, said the abuse of power, corruption and fierce rivalries in the government would not only be detrimental to the country as a whole but also undermine the alliance between the two parties. The ruling ANC, however said although the SACP has a right to express its reservations about things in the country, the allegations are unfounded.

Some political analysts believe sharp differences over economic policy have strained relations between the African National Congress and its crucial allies the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the powerful COSATU trade union federation.

Meanwhile, the ANC has reportedly been plagued by infighting since Mbeki dismissed Zuma as his deputy president in 2005.

Blade Nzimande is the General secretary of the SACP. From Johannesburg in South Africa, he tells reporter Peter Clottey his party is concerned about certain operations of the government.

“What I was saying is that we have made a lot of progress as a country, but we need to look at ourselves as a leadership and to what extent have we behaved in such a manner that matters that should be discussed politically within our organization, are now being discussed in the media, and also using state organs to actually settle internal political differences. And that if we continue in this way we are going to tear our originations apart,” Nzimande noted.

He warned the alliance between the SACP and the ruling ANC could potentially be compromised if concerns the SACP has raised are not dealt with.

“We would not like the alliance to be disturbed, we still believe in the alliance. But if as leadership, we are outsourcing our own political responsibility to discuss matters inside our own organization that is the main thing that is actually likely to undermine the alliance. That is why I was talking about the dangers of “palace politics” that actually doesn’t incorporate the issues that affect the overwhelming majority of our people,” he said.

Nzimande said public officials doubling into private businesses while in government should be frowned upon.

“What we are saying is that we must watch the danger of public representatives being entangled in private business interest because the two do not go together. And we are saying that the authorities, when it comes to corruption, they must actually be able to act on that without fear or favor. But what is of concern to us is that there is actually selective prosecution of people, and we must not do that because that would actually discredit our institutions of the criminal justice systems,” Nzimande pointed out.

He cited the corruption case against former South African deputy President Jacob Zuma as an example of political prosecution.

“Well, we are basing this on the fact that, we think that in some instances there has been following up of people, persecuting some people, but not actually looking at the totality of the problem of corruption. That would relate to for instance the case of comrade Jacob Zuma, who has been investigated for the last seven years, but with nothing concrete that has been brought to court. And we are saying that we must not burden our criminal justice system with what appears to be factionalist differences or battles inside our organization,” he said.