The opening day of the 14th national SACP congress constituted the ultimate fence-mending/backpedalling exercise in South African politics. Apart from the dizzying ironies and about-turns in SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande’s political report‚ there was also a deliberate effort by the party to show President Jacob Zuma the proverbial middle finger. The SACP not only uninvited Zuma from its congress but also extended the olive branch to those it shunted to back him in the ANC’s two previous succession battles. Former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe were invited‚ although only the latter was seen at the opening session on Tuesday morning. It is not known whether the bad blood between Nzimande and Mbeki has now dissipated — Mbeki once referred to Nzimande as being "extraordinarily arrogant". The SACP also extended an invitation to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa)‚ the union that was expelled from Cosatu for‚ among other things‚ being critical of Zuma’s...

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