The South African Communist Party on Thursday took a firm stand against what it calls “gangsterism” within the state‚ but would not be drawn on questions whether President Jacob Zuma was still a worthy president.
The party’s second deputy secretary‚ Solly Mapaila‚ was scathing of state security organs‚ saying certain “rogue elements” kept themselves busy with “irrelevant” things to “hype up the president’s decisions”.
He was speaking at a press briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday and amid fevered speculation that Zuma plans to axe finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
Zuma‚ he said‚ had based his decision in an intelligence report‚ whom he would not confirm the author of‚ and had informed the SACP on Monday of his intention to reshuffle cabinet.
The briefing was called in an effort by the SACP to “set the record straight”‚ after leaks to the media made it seem the party was responsible for leaks to journalists over Zuma’s intentions and had supported the president’s plan.
“The SACP and the ANC have been engaged in political discussion in bilateral sessions‚” the statement read.
“This last Monday‚ those discussions continued. At the core of our discussions are the strategic questions facing our revolution broadly and our movement specifically.
“The SACP wishes to state that as the norm‚ the President informed us of his intention to effect a cabinet reshuffle‚ replacing both Minister and Deputy Minister of Finance‚” the statement read.
“We recorded our objection to the intended reshuffle. However‚ after the meeting an unfortunate selective leak to various media houses has distorted the facts‚ sought to create a public impression the SACP is firstly responsible for the leak but secondly has agreed to the intention (to replace the finance minister).”
The party said it acceded that Zuma had the powers as constitutionally appointed to him‚ and the responsibility to appoint Cabinet‚ but at the same time he was an ANC deployee and had to implement ANC mandates.
The statement continued‚ saying the SACP had grown gravely concerned over the “growing abuse of state security organs and their meddling in daily political life”.
“We are aware of a rogue intelligence unit that in our view gathers data illegally‚ produces false reports and feeds them into the political and public domain to smear comrades.”
“We have a responsibility not to allow ourselves to be run by gangsters nor degenerate into a gangster state wherein public office bearers and officials cannot discharge their responsibilities without fear or favour.”
Mapaila described the intelligence report Zuma relied on to motivate the axing of of the finance ministers as “nonsense” and partly the reason why the party objected to the president’s plans‚ adding that he personally believed Gordhan and Jonas had served the movement with distinction.
“How can you believe that a minister with a delegation of business and trade union leadership organised an investment trip to go and look for people to come and invest in our country… how can you believe that such a trip is a trip against the country?” Mapaila asked during the press briefing in Johannesburg.
“We should not be treated like children.”
“That intelligence report that was given to us‚ we are not happy with it‚ that is what we can safely say at the moment‚” he continued.
He said the SACP supported Gordhan because he ran a clean ministry and has done a good job.
“That’s why we felt there could have been a further process before decisions based on it are taken. The big issue is that‚ maybe‚ we have reached a time where we need a real restructuring in that sector. Because at the moment I don’t think it’s really useful‚” he said‚ referring to the security cluster.
“I don’t think it’s really useful‚ it is more political intelligence. We need intelligence that can create safety among our people.”
Mapaila said the SACP objected to the sort of intelligence that has public servants looking over their shoulders constantly.
“Our belief is that the president cannot use outside intelligence information for any action that he has to exercise‚ he must use state organs‚” Mapaila said in response to questions of who penned the so called “Operation Check Mate” report.
“We have state organs that are really preoccupying themselves with irrelevant things. Over 21 schools were burnt in Vuwani. Where were these security state organs that could have prevented that?” he asked.
“When university buildings are destroyed almost [at] a cost of R1-billion‚ where are these state organs to prevent that from taking place‚ or to alert the state that this can happen?”
He said the state security cluster was wasting huge resources on matters that are “insignificant” to “hype up the president’s decisions”.
“It is that rogue element that we seek to remove from our state institutions.”
“It’s corruption on steroids‚ abuse of state organs on steroids. We reject that as a communist party.”
The SACP said it had written to the Inspector General and the Minister of State Security in a bid to have an investigation into the allegations of this “rogue unit”‚ but the complaint was treated “flippantly”.
They also said they believe the ANC should investigate the Tegeta coal deal to determine what exactly Brian Molefe’s role was and that the Gupta families’ South African citizenship should be revoked‚ as any relationship with them was “toxic”. – TMG Digital