JOHANNESBURG - The South African Communist Party (SACP) says the party will only give details on it contesting the elections independently later this year.
On Saturday, SACP general secretary, Blade Nzimande said the party will contest the 2019 general election under its own banner. However, when pushed for more detail on the SACP’s plan to participate in the elections on its own, Nzimande told a media briefing the future of the alliance will play a role in their plans.
"I suppose the challenge in South Africa is that we are not yet used to the changing realities that are facing all of us. That is why we want to put things in black and white if I can start with the last question. Our resolutions say we may or may not contest separately in the context of a reconfigured alliance. That's why we are talking about a road map which also will be informed by the times of engagements we have. So allied formations contesting independently doesn't necessarily make an opposition. That's not where we are in this point in time," said Nzimande.
Mazibuko Jara, Spokesperson and Chief Strategist of the SACP until his departure in 2010, says people are prematurely celebrating and misreading the SACP Congress Resolution to contest elections.
"Indeed, the resolution explicitly and directly says the SACP will contest elections. This is not new. And the text of the whole resolution makes the contestation subject to how far the ANC will renew itself (meaning whether Zuma loses in December), engagement with the Alliance, and a reconfiguration of the ANC," says Jara.
In his closing address at the party's 14th Congress, Nzimande emphasised that while the tripartite alliance is under strain, the party still believes its needed.
He calls the situation "fluid", and says while the SACP has made its decision, it's not done talking about it just yet.
"We haven't engaged Cosatu seriously on this... we can't just say we are running elections on their own. It is not a threat to anyone." said Nzimande.
On the Gupta family's relationship with the President, Nzimande says the party is clear.
"One thing is the relationship with these Guptas. It's embarrassing, it's infuriating to have this immigrant family come here. That is why we have lost faith in the President."
Commentator Gunnet Kaaf has said the SACP's announcment on the elections is confusing and shows the party lacks courage.
Nzimande says he wants members of the tripartite alliance to engage as equals. Both Cosatu and the SACP have for years complained that the ANC takes decisions without consulting them.
According to Nzimande, the rules of engagement for his party's alliance with the governing ANC need to change - or the alliance could disintegrate.
"While the alliance remains strategic the manner in which it functions is outdated. The alliances mode of operation is incapable of holding the alliance together any further."