Johannesburg – South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande has said they made a mistake by believing that removing President Thabo Mbeki and replacing him with President Jacob Zuma would resolve the problems they saw in the Mbeki presidency.
Mbeki was recalled in 2008 as the country’s president.
“We are back where we were ten years ago. We dealt with the symptom and not fundamental problems,” Nzimande said.
He was speaking on the side-lines of the Cosatu Gauteng’s provincial council of shop stewards.
African National Congress alliance partners SACP and Cosatu led the vigorous campaign for Zuma to ascend to party presidency ahead of the 2007 ANC elective conference.
They are now leading calls for him to step down, following his Cabinet reshuffle that saw five ministers fired including Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.
Failure to consult
In an unprecedented move, Zuma changed his executive without consulting the ANC leadership and the alliance partners.
Nzimande said while they want Zuma to go, launching an anti-Zuma campaign would be a mistake.
“The issues that make Cosatu and the SACP take these decisions is deeper than an individual. Though we say we think it will be appropriate for the President to step aside, we can’t turn it into a personalised anti-Zuma campaign. It will be a mistake,” Nzimande said.
He said some of the concerns they had with the Mbeki presidency was now happening again including failure to consult the movement on key decisions, abuse of state organs, failure to transform the economy and the use of the state by parasites to loot it.
Nzimande said they failed to deal with factions when Mbeki was recalled, making a veiled jab at the so called Premier League, that has been Zuma’s support base.
“What we never dealt with are factions that captured the organisation. You now have what are… provincial king makers, going around controlling the organisation causing lots of problems. We never dealt with that,” Nzimande said.
He said they would now consult the alliance on the way forward as Zuma has said he will stay in power until 2019.