Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
SACP members at a congress. Picture: MASI LOSI
SACP members at a congress. Picture: MASI LOSI

The South African Communist Party (SACP) wants an equal say in the hiring and firing of political appointees in the government, according to a paper the party presented to the alliance meeting last week.

The tripartite alliance almost collapsed during Jacob Zuma’s time as ANC president, with the allies complaining of being left out of key decision-making.

The SACP presented its paper on the overhaul of the alliance at a political council meeting this week, warning again that it would contest elections on its own should it not get a greater say on appointments of premiers, mayors and MECs.

Most of the SACP’s top leaders were sidelined from the ANC’s top leadership structure, the national executive committee, at its Nasrec elective conference in December. There was also deep unhappiness in the SACP in 2017 when Zuma axed their leaders from his Cabinet in March, including general secretary Blade Nzimande.

The document on the overhaul will be discussed at an SACP central committee meeting, which starts on Friday.

"The perspective of alliance partners must find expression in our approach to government policy content at all levels, and the face of the alliance must be clearly visible on key deployments," the paper said.

Selection process

"The ANC and the SACP are the primary political formations within the alliance. This must find expression in the selection process, which should no longer be an ANC-only process or a lone ANC process. There must be an SACP process, as well as a process of the alliance as a whole," it said.

Accountability should also be an alliance process, implying the partners should also be party to decisions to recall or fire individuals. Business Day understands there are differences in the party over the minimum threshold for the SACP to hold an "independent selection" process of its own, or a list process in which its members do not need to appear on an ANC list.

However, the paper called for the SACP to have a greater say in the list process. The view around this in the document has yet to be further refined.

An overhauled alliance would also include regularised political council meetings.

The SACP again warns in the document that should the process for a reconfigured alliance fail, "there will be no other alternative but to eventually contest state power through elections through a popular left front outside of the umbrella of the alliance in its untransformed form and style of work".

After the political council on Tuesday, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said the document presented at the political council would be used as the basis for further consultation on the reconfiguration of the alliance, set to culminate in an alliance summit later in 2018.

SACP deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila at the time said the party was not deviating from its congress resolutions. He said the party would still go it alone should the process to reconfigure the alliance fail.

He said, for now, the SACP was participating in all ANC elections programmes.