The SACP is considering going it alone in a number of municipalities and wards in the 2021 local government elections, particularly those administrations that have collapsed under the control of its alliance partner, the ANC.

The proposal is made in an internal discussion document drafted by the SACP ahead of its special national congress in December. It says the party will not give the ANC another blank cheque in 2021 if it fails to improve governance at municipal level.

The party stands firm on not being undermined, and plans to embark on a campaign that would see them become more visible in embattled communities ahead of the 2021 local government elections. 

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has reiterated its wish to discontinue supporting the ANC. 

The party first voiced its decision in 2016, which was reiterated in 2017 in light of leaked Gupta emails, which general secretary Blade Nzimande strongly condemned. Nzimande also pushed for the blame to be placed squarely on the shoulders of former president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane. 

Deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila revealed to the Sunday Times on Friday that the party is still considering picking up the slack of municipalities and wards that have failed under the ANC, on its own, if administrative failures at the ANC do not improve. 

Mapaila said the party cannot be “taken for granted” by the ANC any longer, and will not be observers in the ruling party’s imminent collapse. 

Not contesting the 2019 elections was a decision made at the party’s 14th National Congress in July 2017, where it faced calls from some of its structures to separate from the ANC.

Although it did decide to back the ruling party, it did not dismiss the possibility of the SACP becoming its own separate party in the future. 

However, this decision is now resurfacing in full force, with Mapaila telling the publication that although the party remains committed and cautiously optimistic to an overhaul of the ANC, it is keeping its options open for the 2021 local government elections and the 2024 general elections, should this not occur. 

Rejuvenation is key to “hasten the pace of our revolution,” Mapaila explains, adding that the SACP would be able to facilitate in rebuilding the country by bringing said rejuvenation. 

The party stands firm on not being undermined, and plans to embark on a campaign that would see them become more visible in embattled communities. 

Mapaila explained that monthly door-to-door “blitzes” focussing on key challenges, such as housing, poverty, the environment and gender-based violence, will assist the party in becoming more involved with its future voters. 

One municipality that will garner much visibility and community aid initiatives would be the Metsimaholo municipality in the Free State, which is currently being run by SACP mayor Lindiwe Tshongwe, and has been identified as a focus point come 2021.  

Tshongwe’s tenure, however, is based on a coalition, which is reportedly currently shaky and plagued by no confidence votes, which Mapaila says is because of the mayor’s critical view of corruption, as well as instability within the ruling party. 

Work still needs to be done to successfully contest the upcoming elections, which depends on the SACP’s ability to contribute to clean government, gain support of a left front, ensure that its community is mobilised, and ideological maturity, Mapaila emphasised. 

The party has long lost faith in the ANC, making the long-anticipated move to stand on its own purposeful and far more serious than when calls were first made to do so in 2016. 

(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)

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