Blade Nzimande (left) with president Jacob Zuma


PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s chances of surviving a vote of no confidence in the South African parliament have taken a significant blow after ANC stalwart, Blade Nzimande, publicly called for him to step down on Sunday.

Nzimande, the secretary general of the South African Communist Party (SACP) was scathing in his criticism of the current state of affairs in South Africa during his keynote speech at the Chris Hani Memorial Lecture in Boksburg yesterday.

He said: “The SACP has come to a difficult decision to say the president must step down. It’s not personal.”

Furthermore Nzimande said Zuma leaving office would be “necessary but not sufficient” as things were now far worse than they were leading up to Polokwane in 2008 when president Thabo Mbeki was recalled.

If things continue as they are now‚ the ANC will eat itself. What will replace the ANC if it goes to conference and tears itself apart?” he asked. “Since 1994 we have largely said because the ANC leads‚ we are going to campaign for an ANC victory. Therefore the ANC has a licence to do as it wishes. But when wrong decisions are taken are we expected to defend them because we are allies? No. The time for that now‚ has ended.”

Calling for a massive‚ militant mobilisation of the working class to fight monopoly capital, Nzimande said: “If the workers of our country do not stand up now‚ our revolution will be gone‚” he said‚ explaining that trillions of rand tied up in the Public Investment Corporation were the pension and provident funds of workers.

Furthermore, he said: “If the Johannesburg Stock Exchange crashes‚ it crashes with the workers’ pension funds. Therefore it is reckless to say ‘let the rand fall’. These people are playing with the lives of workers. The time has come to say go and build a big communist party. Not because we are in competition with anyone‚ but for the sake of our country.”

Alluding to the rich Gupta family which is close to president Zuma and is widely believed to be influencing his decisions in the appointment and sacking of government ministers, Nzimande said: “The Guptas and their behaviour has become the most immediate thing to deal with in order to defend our capacity to engage or fight monopoly. You can’t say the Guptaas are an alternative to monopoly capital.”

Addressing the same audience, former Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele said members of the South African parliament are facing a serious challenge ahead of the debate on a vote of no confidence against Jacob Zuma. He said: “The Gupta issue is a national question. A sensible political party must find a programme of clarifying it to the nation.”