South African Communists Party (SACP) General Secretary Dr Blade Nzimande has called on the Young Communists League (YCL) to help stop the destruction of property at tertiary institutions which he said was carried out by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
He was delivering the Moses Mabhida memorial lecture in Imbali Township on Sunday where he said it pains him to see universities getting torched. Nzimande was previously the minister of higher education.
The SACP general secretary said in 2015 and 2016 during the height to Fees Must Fall campaign the cost of damages at universities reached R800 million.
Nzimande said while the reason behind the protests was genuine, they had now been taken over by formations with different agendas, including the Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF).
“We know that the EFF is doing this because they know that they will never govern, progressive youth formations should protect institutions of learning and not compete with others in destroying properties, and I am challenging the YCL to deal with this,” said Nzimande.
The lecture was attended by Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association provincial chairperson Crosby Mavundla and KZN Congress of South African Trade Unions chairperson Sthembiso Mdlalose.
Nzimande said protesting was a constitutionally recognised right, but he insisted that discipline was important as this had been a guiding principle in the revolution.
“Even during the most difficult times under apartheid rule, there was no destruction like we see today because Comrade Oliver Tambo reminded us that we would govern one day and there was a need to preserve institutions when protesting. The EFF knows they will never govern,” said Nzimande.
The SACP general secretary appealed told members that as alliance partners they remained convinced that factionalism would lead to the destruction of the ANC alliance.
“Ideological differences are one thing, but it is another when a comrade is said to belong to a certain comrade. This thing is starting to emerge in the SACP and we must deal with it,’ said Nzimande.
He appealed to the party faithful to campaign for the ANC in the coming elections and said they were hoping other alliance partners would be recognised for their role in the elections by the ruling party.
“By campaigning, we are not giving the ANC a ‘blank cheque’ but still insist that the alliance needs reconfiguring,” said Nzimande.
He also pleaded with members to be part of the movement to clean areas in which they live, especially Pietermaritzburg, which has come to be regarded as one of the filthiest cities in South Africa.