Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan deserves the support of the South African Communist Party (SACP) because he is "holding the line" against corruption and cronyism, says Jeremy Cronin.
"You could see South Africans across the political spectrum respond to his efforts last week in Parliament, where he received support from everyone, whether a communist, liberal, neo-liberal . . . the only persons that did not support him were those that refused to stand and who seemingly refuse to understand what's at stake," Cronin, second deputy general secretary of the SACP and Deputy Minister of Transport, told HuffPost SA.
The SACP's central committee on Sunday warned against rhetoric about "radical economic transformation" which means little in practice. The party also said it's clear the Gupta family — the controversial family close to President Jacob Zuma — "lurks in the background" and that populist talk merely serves as a deflection.
Cronin said remarks by the leader of the African National Congress (ANC) youth league Collen Maine, that "something must be done to Gordhan" and reminding supporters how informers were dealt with during the struggle, are "shallow, juvenile and dangerous".
"The ANCYL are opportunists, now all of a sudden jumping on the bandwagon about banks and collusion, something we have been championing since the early 2000s . . . we've never had any support from them, now all of a sudden when a certain family's bank accounts are closed they jump in?" Cronin said.
The SACP are convinced that the assault on Gordhan and National Treasury isn't merely a factional or ANC conflict, but one in which wider society has major interests.
"The problem is that office bearers are so busy campaigning for their preferred candidate for the ANC's elective conference later in the year, or appearing next to this person or that person, that governance is starting to suffer. Palace politics have taken over.
"Look at what's happening at the Department of Social Development, where millions of people's social grants are under threat, or what's happening at the South African Revenue Service with the drop in revenue collection or in the intelligence environment . . . we're just dropping the ball too many times," Cronin added.
"There seems to be zero commitment (to governance)."
Despite this, Treasury is still focused: "They are under siege but are getting on with the job and remain focused. The minister is very clear on fiscal consolidation and while we as communists might not agree with it, we also live in the real world."