JOHANNESBURG – SA Communist Party (SACP) secretary general Blade Nzimande on Tuesday, decried the deepening crisis in the African National Congress, rampant corruption, state capture, and wondered whether South Africa was still a functioning state.
”We did not fight [to] liberate the country only to hand it over to the Gupta family. We are concerned that some of our institutions are being eroded, I know that you comrade Jessie [ANC deputy secretary general Duarte] and comrade Gwede [ANC secretary general Mantashe] do not like it when we talk about this…but we will. There are burglaries at state organs…the intelligence, the [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] Hawks, the [National Prosecuting Authority] NPA,” Nzimande said as he delivered the SACP political report at the party’s 14th congress in Ekurhuleni.
“We should not underestimate all these. The question is, do we have a state? What is to be done?” he asked. Delegates replied with ”contest elections.
Nzimande downplayed their response, adding that commission discussions were yet to start. In a scathing speech that frequently quoted communist leaders such as Vladimir Putin and ANC leader Oliver Tambo, Nzimande said the time of keeping quiet has passed.
He said South Africa has a parallel state, and that in the face of exposure of corruption and state capture allegedly by the Gupta family, there has been a ”parasitic patronage network” seeking to downplay this exposure through propaganda media, singling out Gupta-owned ANN7 television news channel and The New Age newspaper.
”The [SA Broadcasting Corporation] SABC, under [former COO Hlaudi] Motsoenenghas been taken to the dogs…I wonder how many decades it will take to fix it, it is dead. ANN7 is a joke, The New Age newspaper was promising at the beginning, then there is a group of thugs who go around disrupting ANC and SACP meetings they do not like…these are some of the things that should concern us and their diversionary ideological platform,” Nzimande said to a loud applause.
Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama is a “political mercenary”. The high court interdicted the BLF from harassing journalists the organisation accused of targeting the Gupta family.
“Mngxitama came with a group and disrupted our march to AgriSA in early 2000 when we launched the land campaign as SACP, we want to tell him to stop using the name of black people for aggressive behaviour. He is paid by the Guptas…we have our differences with the media, but we must not tolerate such attacks on media, they do not to be treated this way.”
Turning to the ANC Polokwane conference where President Jacob Zuma emerged victorious, Nzimande, once a staunch Zuma supporter, said he personally felt betrayed for what the ANC turned out to be. Everything changed post-2014 as state capture “is on steroids”, he said.
“We note that there has been some advances during the first Zuma administration, but post 2014 the picture is changing…state capture is on steroids, as bourgeoisie democratic networks degenerate into parasitism. That is the immediate threat we are facing,” he said.
“We want to say as the SACP including myself personally…we feel betrayed in terms of the understanding we had in Polokwane. That has been betrayed…our trust has been broken, and we must learn a lesson as the SACP — that unless we root ourselves within our people, we cannot just freely give out trust, which, when broken, leaves things go haywire…that is how I feel personally as Nzimande.
Unlike in some parts of the world, the #GuptaEmails, which reveal the extend of the influence of the family on state affairs and public enterprises, no arrests have been made. State capture “is brazen”,’ he said.
“Nothing is happening…where is that gonna end? This state capture is brazen, unashamedly so. And we must not only blame the Guptas, but also blame those inside our movement who have allowed this to happen.”
Nzimande said the first step towards reversing the damage caused by state capture is for the state to stop urgently doing business with the Guptas. This he said, would ensure that governance is rapidly restored, more so at state-owned enterprises.