South Africa – Blade says replacing Mbeki with Zuma did not solve problems like factionalism

Mail and Guardian

Blade Nzimande (pictured) says the tripartite alliance failed to deal with factionalism when former president Thabo Mbeki was recalled. (Gallo)
Blade Nzimande (pictured) says the tripartite alliance failed to deal with factionalism when former president Thabo Mbeki was recalled. (Gallo)

South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande has said they made a mistake by believing replacing former president Thabo Mbeki with President Jacob Zuma would solve the problems they saw in the Mbeki presidency.

Mbeki was recalled in 2008 as the country’s president.

“We are back where we were 10 years ago. We dealt with the symptom and not the fundamental problems,” Nzimande said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of Cosatu Gauteng’s provincial council of shop stewards.

ANC alliance partners SACP and Cosatu led the vigorous campaign for Zuma to ascend to party presidency ahead of the 2007 elections.

They are now leading calls for him to step down, following his Cabinet reshuffle that saw five ministers fired, including former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Failure to consult
In an unprecedented move, Zuma changed his executive without consulting the ANC leadership and its alliance partners.

Nzimande said while they want Zuma to go, launching an anti-Zuma campaign would be a mistake.

“The issues that make Cosatu and the SACP take these decisions is deeper than an individual. Though we say we think it will be appropriate for the president to step aside, we can’t turn it into a personalised anti-Zuma campaign. It would be a mistake,” Nzimande said.

He said they were witnessing some of the issues they had with the Mbeki presidency, including the failure to transform the economy and consult the movement on key decisions and the abuse of state organs.

Nzimande said they failed to deal with factions when Mbeki was recalled, taking a veiled jab at the “Premier League” that has been Zuma’s support base.

“What we never dealt with are factions that captured the organisation. You now have what are … provincial king makers going around controlling the organisation and causing lots of problems. We never dealt with that,” Nzimande said.

He said they would now consult the alliance on the way forward as Zuma has said he would stay in power until 2019. – News24

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