South Africa

ANC should consider changing its now 'dirty', 'vulgarised' RET conference resolution — Nzimande

The ANC conference resolution calling for radical economic transformation has been so vulgarised by a certain grouping that the governing party should consider renaming this resolution.

Delivering the SA Communist Party's (SACP) 100th founding anniversary message, its general secretary Blade Nzimande tore into the anti-Ramaphosa faction in the ANC calling itself the RET forces.

He said that this grouping, which supports former president Jacob Zuma and his allies, including the suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule, has tainted and turned dirty a noble conference resolution.

The RET forces’ most vocal members are Carl Niehaus and Ngrayi Ngwenya who have since been suspended from the ANC.

“These forces have, unfortunately, so vulgarised the words 'radical economic transformation' that, although we do need economic transformation that is radical, it would be best to find different terminology,” Nzimande said on Sunday.

Nzimande also said it was wrong to simply characterise the grouping as a Zuma faction that is at odds with those sympathetic to Ramaphosa.

Referring to the RET forces as “resolutionaries”, this grouping, according to Nzimande, is led by criminal elements who have no sound political programme but are united in protecting criminality.

“We reject this utterly simplistic characterisation. The so-called or self-styled grouping is really and largely networks of corrupt and opportunist elements, themselves facing the prospect of jail time, and relying on war chests accumulated through the looting of public resources,” Nzimande said.

This is the grouping that made the loudest noise against the incarceration of Zuma who is currently serving his 15 months' imprisonment at Estcourt correctional facility in KwaZulu-Natal on a contempt of court conviction for refusing to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture despite a Constitutional Court judgment compelling him to do so.

Zuma was given a few days to hand himself over failing which the police were ordered to bring him in.

The RET forces and the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) gathered at Zuma’s homestead in Nkandla vowing to never let the arrest of Zuma happen.

Chaos erupted a day after Zuma was arrested and taken to prison which started with the blocking of the N3 highway where several trucks were torched.

This unrest got out of control when looters took advantage of this and ransacked malls and warehouses in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Nzimande said that this unrest, which has been characterised as an insurrection, was a well-orchestrated plan by the very same RET forces who lost control over it when the poor saw an opportunity to loot.

They did not anticipate the widespread looting, Nzimande contends, but those behind the insurrection wanted to cripple the economy by torching trucks on the N3, to cripple major transport arteries, to block the Durban harbour and take out electricity, oil pipelines and communications infrastructure and burn food depots.

Without mentioning him by name, Nzimande said Niehaus’s 14-day ultimatum for Ramaphosa to release Zuma was an indirect admission that this grouping was behind the unrest.

“They were hoping to present a freed Zuma as the only person capable of restoring peace. But with the mass looting in KZN halted by the combined efforts of the security forces and community self defence, this card, too, was not viable,” Nzimande said.

“If the release of Zuma became the immediate demand, the medium term objectives were (and remain) the displacement of the Ramaphosa-led ANC and therefore of a Ramaphosa state presidency, reversing progress being made within the ANC to clean up, and to halt the slowly gathering momentum of the criminal justice system in dealing with state capture crime and corruption. Although this conspiracy has lost serious ground in the course of July (but at huge cost to our country, and particularly to the working class and poor), we must remain extremely vigilant and united in the defence of democracy, the constitution and the rule of law.”

Nzimande said the SACP was not in the CR17 faction but fully supported the Ramaphosa-led ANC which is, among other things, trying to renew the party and uphold the rule of law.

“We support it and work with it in the struggle to reconfigure the Alliance as an effective force on the ground. But we reserve the right to be critical, and indeed we are critical, especially of the persisting timidity in breaking the shackles of a self imposed, neo liberal austerity, which, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the mass destruction of lives and security effected by the failed insurrection of early July, deepens poverty, inequality, unemployment, and community safety.”

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