Home South African Jessie Duarte urges SACP to help end factional battles in ANC

Jessie Duarte urges SACP to help end factional battles in ANC


SACP leaders have also been asked to play a meaningful role in the affairs of the ANC including in top positions in all spheres of government.

Jessie Duarte. Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)

ANC ACTING secretary-general Jessie Duarte wants the SACP to help her party to strengthen debates and internal party democracy following the outbreak of factional battles within the governing party.

SACP leaders have also been asked to play a meaningful role in the affairs of the ANC including in top positions in all spheres of government.

Duarte made the call to SACP leadership and membership saying that the ANC was threatened by an emergence of a cult of leaders within it who are posing a serious threat to its renewal and unity.

She was speaking during the memorial lecture of Moses Kotane – the founding secretary-general of the SA Communist Party – which coincided with the SACPs centenary celebrations this year.

While Duarte did not mention the cult of leaders, she was outspoken in her call that such behaviour was posing a serious threat to the renewal and unity of the ANC.

Duarte’s comments come at a time when the ANC is plagued with deep divisions, with some senior leaders making disparaging remarks about other leaders on public platforms. According to Duarte, some ANC members have a tendency of following an individual saying, “we need to undo the cult of leader”.

In her address, Duarte told the Gauteng Communist Party that theory should draw inspiration from the teachings of Kotane and other SACP founding leaders who played a key role in supporting the ANC during the liberation Struggle.

“From this tradition and practice by the 1950s SACP, we are already able to draw a significant lesson, i.e. internal party democracy is as important and good as its form and content.

“Internal party democracy should therefore not be confused or reduced to the mere will of the majority, as such practice has the danger of inherently undermining both the quality of the debate and ideas that eventually prevail.

“This is in direct contrast to an emerging culture of hauling and disregard for the art of convincing one another while remaining open to be convinced,” Duarte said.

She said it was the quality and strength of ideas that came out of the SACP’s underground political machinery, not the size of its membership, that entrenched the party’s influence in the anti-apartheid movement.

“Another milestone that cements the bond between the party and the ANC is the historic and heroic role played by members of the party in the lead up to , during and after the drafting and adoption of the Freedom Charter at the 1955 Congress of the People in Kliptown.

“Prominent communist, Lionel Rusty Bernstein’s draft of the Freedom Charter was adopted by the Congress of the People with minimal changes. By 1955, once again, the influence of the SACP in the anti-apartheid struggle emerged through the quality and appeal of ideas it advanced,” Duarte said.

“The bond between the ANC, SACP and Cosatu must be jealously guarded at all material times. Given the depth and spread of the SACP’s DNA on the ANC, it should be difficult and indeed impractical for one of us to imagine and even flirt with the idea of the SACP leaving the alliance.

“That is to say, given its 100 years of investment in ideas, blood, sweat and tears, by leaving the ANC, the SACP would effectively be leaving a part of itself behind.

“Let the quality of ideas about the road ahead be what binds us together, not personal differences. None of the challenges we face today are insurmountable. In fact, the challenges we face today are not particularly new to our alliance,.”

She also launched an attack against the government’s failure to procure Covid-19 vaccines from countries such as Russia and China. According to Duarte, the continued sourcing of Covid-19 medicine from Western countries was “vaccine imperialism”.

Duarte also defended the use of Cuban engineers, saying they are in the country to help people have access to clean water.

Political Bureau

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