South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande has said they made a mistake by believing that appointing Jacob Zuma as president would solve the problems in the Thabo Mbeki presidency.

Mbeki was recalled in 2008.

“We are back where we were 10 years ago. We dealt with the symptom and not the fundamental problems,” Nzimande said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of Cosatu Gauteng’s provincial council of shop stewards.

ANC alliance partners SACP and labour federation Cosatu led the vigorous campaign for Zuma to ascend to party presidency ahead of the 2007 elections.

They are now leading calls for him to step down, following his Cabinet reshuffle in March that saw five ministers fired, including former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.

Failure to consult
In an unprecedented move, Zuma changed his executive without consulting ANC leaders and its alliance partners.

Nzimande said although they want Zuma to go, launching an anti-Zuma campaign would be a mistake.

“The issues that make Cosatu and the SACP take these decisions is deeper than an individual,” Nzimande said.
“Though we say we think it will be appropriate for the president to step aside, we can’t turn it into a personalised anti-Zuma campaign. It would be a mistake.” 

He said they were witnessing some of the problems they had with the Mbeki presidency, including the failure to transform the economy, consult on key decisions and the abuse of state organs.

Nzimande said they failed to deal with factions when Mbeki was recalled, taking a veiled jab at the “Premier League” – provinces that have been Zuma’s support base.

“What we never dealt with are factions that captured the organisation. You now have what are … provincial kingmakers going around controlling the organisation and causing lots of problems. We never dealt with that,” Nzimande said.

He said the alliance would be consulted, given that Zuma has said he will stay in power until 2019. – News24