SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.   Picture: JASON BOSWELL.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande. Picture: JASON BOSWELL.

On Thursday, the SA Communist Party (SACP) said it has not endorsed any candidate to take over as ANC president — this despite the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), throwing its weight behind Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The party denied that it had endorsed any candidate to succeed President Jacob Zuma, claiming that local and international media had suggested that it, too, would back Ramaphosa. The party said it had taken a principled decision on the ANC succession at its augmented central committee meeting in December, at which it decided that "rather than simply focusing on names of those who should be elected as ANC president, other office bearers and national executive committee members, there has to be a consideration of the criteria for effective leadership".

According to the SACP, a key consideration would be the capacity of a leader and the leadership collective to avoid factionalism and unite the ANC and the governing tripartite alliance.

At the same meeting the SACP expressed concern about the ANC not having a clear policy on leadership succession. It urged the ANC to develop such a policy and implement it as soon as possible. The SACP is also mulling going it alone in future elections. The decision is to be made at its national congress in July.

"The SACP will contribute to the debate on the principles and leadership qualities required to take not only the ANC but also our shared national democratic revolution forward and lead our alliance successfully," the party said, and reiterated its policy position that it will nevertheless "leave the election of ANC leadership to ANC members within the framework of ANC rules and processes."

Its statement comes as the ANC unsuccessfully seeks to quell the public debate on succession. Following Cosatu’s endorsement of Ramaphosa, the ANC Women’s League has endorsed outgoing AU commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Zuma.

On Wednesday, Zuma said the country was ready for a woman president, implying that he supported Dlamini-Zuma’s rise to the presidency — this despite ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe saying the ANC would have to ask itself difficult questions if it did not elect deputy president Ramaphosa to succeed the president.


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