Uhuru-Spirit News


April 01, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

From Left to Right: SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande, ANC Secretary General and SACP Central Committee member Gwede Mantashe and SACP National Chairperson Senzeni Zokwana during the party’s Special National Congress at the University of Johannesburg (Soweto Campus) in July, 2015. photo by UHURUSPIRIT

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has called on President Zuma to resign following his dismissal of former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan during a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday.

The decision to call for Zuma’s resignation was taken during a meeting of the party’s politburo on Friday.

“The recall from an overseas trip of comrades Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas while on a promotional tour in South Africa’s interests, and now the firing of these comrades and other well-performing ministers is more than regrettable. It is frankly outrageous, particularly while the worst performers in cabinet continue to enjoy presidential protection and even, in some cases, promotion,” the SACP said in a statement that was released on Friday.

“This recklessness has provoked widespread concern and anger within the ANC itself, and across all sectors of our society. We have reached a decisive moment in which, in the considered view of the SACP leadership, Zuma must now resign.”

The SACP played a prominent role in bringing Zuma to power – first as the president of ANC in 2007 and then as the president of South Africa in 2009. But in recent times, the SACP has become very critical about the state of the nation and that of the ANC under the Zuma leadership. The communist party has also been vocal in its criticism of the relationship between President Zuma and the Gupta family. The party is among those who believe that the Guptas exert undue influence on the Zuma government. Among other things, the communist party has gone as far as calling for the revocation of the Guptas’ South African citizenship.

The SACP is of the firm belief that the recent cabinet reshuffle by Zuma is linked to the Gupta saga.

“The coincidence of the dramatic cabinet events with the desperate application this week in the Pretoria High Court by the Gupta-linked Vardospan company should not be missed. Vardospan brought an urgent application to force the Reserve Bank, the Registrar of Banks, and the Minister of Finance to allow it to take over ownership of the obscure Habib Bank. The current owners had given them a deadline of today, 31 March, to settle the matter. Vardospan’s desperation is clearly linked to the closure of Gupta-related bank accounts by the major South African banks, the Bank of China, and now reportedly by their last remaining banking facility, the Indian headquartered Baroda Bank. The Reserve Bank opposed the Vardospan application on the grounds that it has a responsibility to ensure the financial sustainability of the proposed deal. According to the Reserve Bank, Vardospan has failed to provide clarity on the source of their funding and to provide transparency on other Gupta-related companies, including the notorious Tegeta mining company involved in a dodgy deal with former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe,” said the SACP statement.

“The timing of Zuma’s cabinet reshuffling and the deepening banking troubles faced by the Guptas is not, therefore, fortuitous. Once more it lays bare a disturbing reality. Increasingly our country is being ruled not from the Union Buildings, but from the Gupta family compound. More and more, critical ANC decisions are being decided not by elected and collective structures in Luthuli House but in Saxonwold.”

Amid rumours that President Zuma had informed the ANC top six leaders as well as the alliance partners of his decision to fire the former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, the SACP went public on Wednesday (30 March), to confirm it and to say that they were opposed to it.

"The SACP wishes to state that the president informed us of his intention to effect Cabinet reshuffle to replace both minister and deputy minister of finance. We objected to the reshuffle," Mapaila told reporters in Johannesburg.

"Comrade Pravin (Gordhan) has run that ministry with absolute cleanliness, and that's what is impressing us, it's one of the best-run departments."

Zuma had also tried to justify his decision to dismiss the ministers on the basis of an intelligence report that the then finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy were trying to use some investor roadshows in Britain and United States to mobilise prominent people (including bankers) to act against the state.

But SACP leaders were unconvinced about the authenticity of the report.

"The President cannot use outside intelligence information for any action he wishes to exercise ... we have state organs that occupy themselves with irrelevant things. Where were these security state organs when 20 schools burned down in Vuyani? It is these rogue elements we want to remove," said Mapaila.

"Gordhan has fought for his country, him and Mcebisi would never sell this country...we do not think that they should be harassed and removed from office...they should be supported," he added.

Meanwhile, the politburo has asked SACP leaders serving in Zuma’s cabinet not to resign contrary to speculations before the cabinet reshuffle. The reason could be that any mass resignation would mean deeper socio-economic crisis for the country.

“Inevitably, SACP members who serve in executive positions in government are now being asked if they will resign. The PB’s instruction to these comrades is: Remain at your posts. This is not because there is any individual entitlement. You are serving in various capacities because of the support you enjoy across the ANC movement, because of your struggle credentials, and because of your performance in government. You have a responsibility to serve a massive constituency and the country at large – now more than ever. If you are fired at the behest of the Gupta network because of the SACP’s stand on these matters - so be it,” said the statement.

Among the SACP leaders in Zuma’s cabinet are: General Secretary Blade Nzimande who is the higher education minister; First Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Cronin, who is the public works deputy minister; National Chairperson Senzeni Zokwana, who is the minister of agriculture and Central Committee members Jeff Radebe, a minister in the presidency, Rob Davies, the minister of trade and industry, and Buti Manamela, a deputy minister in the presidency, among others. The party’s deputy national chairperson, Thulasi Nxesi was moved from the public works ministry to head Sports and Recreation, while Ben Martins, another central committee member, who has served in various ministerial positions in the past, was appointed by Zuma as the deputy minister of public enterprises on Thursday.

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