With the 2009 elections in sight, the South African Community Party (SACP) is set to question its members about the possibility of breaking with the African National Congress and presenting its own candidates separately. The motion was posed at the party’s Central Committee meeting last weekend, due to growing concern at its larger coalition partner’s economic policy.
Blade Nzimande, SACP Secretary-General, considers that the growing ties between government officials and business means that the democratic revolution is compromised. The SACP and COSATU (Trade Union Congress) have recently criticised the ANC for an absence of direction in policy, outside consulting with big business for advice.
Any decision to break away from the ANC will not be taken until next July, at the party Congress and until then, officials have stressed, the commitment to the coalition will be total. The ANC itself highlights the importance of the SACP discussing matters with its affiliates and pointed out that President Thabo Mbeki himself has raised the same concerns, to be approached by the African National Congress.
A fundamental issue being addressed at present is that of land reform, where white farmers are being offered market prices for their land, which will be restituted to black Africans forced off these lands decades ago. So far the restitution process has met with great resistance from the farmers, provoking National Land Claims Commissioner Tozi Gwanya to state that “If these farmers continue to reject the offers, the expropriations will begin in October”.
The Land Reform programme came into being upon the ANC’s election in 1994. The programme aims to return property to black Africans who were forced out of their ancestral homes under decades of colonial rule and racial discrimination, resulting in only four per cent of the country’s farm land being owned by black Africans today.