Outgoing SA Communist Party chairman Gwede Mantashe on Thursday (12/07/2012) urged SA Communist Party members to join the African National Congress to advance the SACP's agenda.
"Our ability to influence and advance our agenda will be determined by our immersion in the structures and programmes of our alliance partners,” he told the SACP elective conference near Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal.
"The reality facing the party today ... is that of communists who are not even members of the ANC.” Mantashe said there were several SACP members at national level who held top positions in the ANC and Cabinet.
But there was a lack of "cross-pollination” between the two parties at a provincial level, with the exception of the Eastern Cape.
Mantashe said his decision to step down as chairman of the party was not newsworthy.
"This (decision) is born of practical consideration that one is doing a disservice to the party by being an absentee chairperson.”
Earlier, axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni featured in songs sung at the start of the conference.
"Malema hates this party but we don’t care, Yengeni hates this party but we don’t care (asinandaba uMalema uyayizonda le party, asinanda uYengeni uyayizonda le party)”, delegates sang.
Yengeni is a member of the national executive committee of the African National Congress. He lost his position of chief whip after accepting a discount on a luxury car during the tendering process for the country’s arms deal. At the time, he was a member of a Parliamentary committee reporting on the arms deal. Yengeni went to prison in 2006, and was released on parole after serving six months of his sentence.
Malema was expelled as president of the ANC Youth League in April.
In another song, some delegates advised him: "Malema don’t be in a hurry to fight in a war, because it kills (Malema ungayijahi impi ngoba iyabulala).” A song in support of President Jacob Zuma was also sung.
"The enemy is near but MK is ready to fight for Msholozi [Zuma’s clan name] (izinja zilele kufokhona emzini kaMsholozo kodwa amagerilla abuyile).”
SACP secretary-general Blade Nzimande and KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize were also scheduled to speak. - Sapa