Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Ramaphosa says ANC remains committed to alliance with SACP, calls for reconfiguration talks to conclude

Ramaphosa says the tripartite alliance has stood the test of time over many decades.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the longstanding alliance between the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP), hitting back at critics who say the partnership remains outdated and irrelevant.

SACP national congress

Ramaphosa on Friday addressed the SACP’s 15th national congress in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, in his capacity as the president of the ANC.

While Ramaphosa said the ANC remained firmly committed to the tripartite alliance with the SACP and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), he said discussions around the reconfiguration of the alliance needed to be concluded soon.

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He said this would ensure that the organisations shared a common view on crucial areas of social and economic development in the country.

“The ANC and the SACP have had a tightly interwoven relationship that spans many decades and we remain firmly committed to our alliance with the SACP, and we remain convinced that the role of the SACP, in advancing the fundamental transformation of our economy and our society, is very key to the future of our country,” Ramaphosa said.

The ANC-led alliance has in the recent past been fraught with challenges over decision-making and government’s policy direction, with calls for the reconfiguration of the partnership.

The SACP had also threatened to withdraw its support for the ANC at polls and contest elections independently due to corruption and state capture scandals bedeviling the governing ANC.  

Relevance of tripartite alliance

Ramaphosa slammed critics who had called the tripartite alliance outdated and irrelevant, saying the alliance had stood the test of time over many decades, and would continue to do so.

“As many have called for the dissolution of the alliance [and] as many have called it an outdated and irrelevant alliance – we have continued to work together to advance the interests of the people of South Africa, in particular, the poor and the working class,” he said.

The ANC president said the governing party fully supported the SACP’s determination to build a powerful socialist movement of workers and the poor in the country.

“We recognise, however, that it is not enough to state our commitment to this alliance; we need to work for it. We need to work hard and continuously ensure that this movement remains united, cohesive and effective.”

Weaknesses, lapses and shortcomings

Ramaphosa admitted that there were “weaknesses, lapses and shortcomings” in the partnership, adding that the channels of communication between the organisations had not responded effectively to the challenges faced by the movement.

“I can say as the president of the ANC, I do support that we should have a thoroughgoing discussion on the reconfiguration of the alliance.

“We must discuss in-depth precisely what our roles and responsibilities are as we chart the way forward,” he said.

Nzimande bows out

Ramaphosa also heaped praise on outgoing SACP secretary-general Blade Nzimande after 24 years at the helm of the party. Nzimande endorsed his deputy, Solly Mapaila, to take over from him.

Ramaphosa said Nzimande ensured that the message of communists in South Africa was “spread around effectively” even during difficult and trying times.

“I think you are to be applauded for continuing to lead the party over the many years and to have seen it grow into the organisation that it is today.

“I take off my hat to you and applaud you for the excellent work that you have done,” he said.

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