South African Communist Party (SACP) secretary-general and former minister of higher education Blade Nzimande says he is not concerned that he was excluded from the ANC's national executive committee (NEC).
On the sidelines of a Christmas party for the elderly at Dambuza in KwaZulu-Natal, Nzimande told the SABC, "No, I am not concerned about that [being dropped from the NEC]. We respect the decision of the conference of the ANC."
It was a sentiment not shared by the SACP in that province, which said it was disappointed in the conference outcomes. SACP KZN chairperson Themba Mthembu told reporters, " Many resolutions taken were revolutionary and progressive –– however, we are disappointed that many leaders of the communist party were excluded from the NEC of the ANC."
Nzimande was fired from the cabinet during President Zuma's most recent reshuffle. While he was not happy about it, Nzimande, who has become one of Zuma's critics, told Eyewitness News that he was not surprised.
"One must respect how the president chooses to deal with that, but I just found it completely out of order, and that's why I was not surprised that I was fired. All the signs were there," Nzimande said at the time.
None of the SACP's top leadership made the cut during the election of the ANC's NEC earlier this month. SACP chair Senzeni Zokwana and his deputy, Thulas Nxesi, were also excluded from the list, despite having served in Zuma's cabinet.
The SACP had previously banned Zuma as a speaker at its events.
At the ANC's elective conference, Nzimande called for introspection within the tripartite alliance. According to eNCA, he said, "We must not deny the challenges that are facing us as a country and as a movement. We want to say, as the SACP: it is not automatic that after 20 years, liberation movements falter.
"We must look at ourselves and say, 'Are we not making mistakes that will be used by our enemies to effect regime change agenda?'. That is very important that we do that. That is why in our own language we talk about the need for criticism and self-criticism," Nzimande said.
Speaking to the Sunday Times on the sidelines of the ANC conference, SACP first deputy general-secretary Solly Mapaila called Zuma's assessment of the state of the alliance during his final speech as ANC president "pathetic".
"He was the champion of a dominant faction in the ANC. His speech was just an abuse of platform, because during his leadership he failed to rise above factions. There hasn't been accountability and honesty, and he has been at the helm of dishonesty himself. He was extremely pathetic dealing with the issues of the alliance. He did not indicate what forced us to speak outside of the alliance –– because he avoided us for over a year‚" he told the Sunday Times.