SACP goes in alone: Will they survive?

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has announced its decision to contest future election on its own. This is a breakaway from its usual strategy of acting as a parasite in the Tripartite Alliance, relying on its more successful cousin (the African National Congress) for...

775 9
775 9

Logo of the SACPThe South African Communist Party (SACP) has announced its decision to contest future election on its own. This is a breakaway from its usual strategy of acting as a parasite in the Tripartite Alliance, relying on its more successful cousin (the African National Congress) for appointments and power.

The decision is allegedly due to the SACP’s view that the Tripartite Alliance is broken. It comes as more of an ultimatum, as the party stated that they will remain in the alliance if it is “reconfigured” to allow equal power between its members. This must, of course, be equality in name only, as the pitiful SACP could never truly be politically equal to the gargantuan ANC or even the fading trade union COSATU. If the demands are to be more than in name, then this ultimatum will result in the SACP going alone in the future.

Freeing the ANC

This decision is ultimately good for freedom-lovers.

The SACP represents a bloc of the ANC that continues to espouse disastrous policies that wreck our economy. If there is a genuine fight between the SACP and other ANC blocs, the left-wing economic policy so strong in the ANC may weaken and potentially be replaced with more pragmatic policy, friendlier to the free market.

As is the case with all splits, the move will be disruptive. Voters may become split between the SACP and ANC. It will be an easy choice for most, however, as the vast majority will continue to vote for the ANC as they always have. Where disruption may become noticeable is in the leadership echelons, where the likes of Blade Nzimande and others may find their relations strained with their ANC counterparts.

This could result either in the complete breakdown of interrelations within the leadership structures of government, or just a breakdown in the left-wing bulwark in what was the Tripartite Alliance, allowing a more reasonable block to fill the gap.

Their odds

SACP electoral oddsAs for electoral performance, I don’t have high hopes for the SACP doing well, and that is a good thing. Communism is abhorrent. I don’t want any party claiming to support it to gain an inch politically.

From the numbers, SACP membership as of 2015 was around 220 000. Many of these are no doubt also members of the ANC. It is not clear how many would cross the floor and maintain membership with the ANC. For now, let’s be charitable and pretend that all of them will remain with the SACP and then vote for them.

A seat in the National Assembly requires roughly 47 500 votes. If all SACP members voted for them, that would give them around 4-5 seats. This would be above the minority parties, but below the ANC, DA, EFF and the IFP and NFP. It would be relegated to a role as a minority party.

How much power does COPE, Agang, the PAC and similar smaller parties have? Not much. If the split from the ANC is truly a split, and SACP leaders lose their connections with ANC appointees, then the SACP will go from a fat parasite to a weak party with no reasonable ability to enforce its ideology.

And that’s just what we want.

But, many SACP members are ANC members. No doubt many of them will remain with the ANC. Non-member voters who vote along ANC lines also tend to be ANC loyalists for reasons other than ideology, so will remain. I doubt the SACP will be able to garner enough votes even for 4 seats.

On the contrary, however, hype may allow the SACP to wrest more seats. COPE was initially quite popular and the EFF managed to cinch 25 seats despite their niche nature. If the SACP markets well as an alternative to the corrupt ANC and a true representative of the struggle, they may be able to garner more votes.

While this will result in Communists gaining more power in the legislature, they will no doubt still have less power than the other parties, and be relatively toothless. On the bright side, they may also take a large chunk of EFF and ANC voters with them, weakening both those parties.


Overall, I find this a welcome move by an unwelcome party. The SACP does well because it doesn’t have to do anything. Becoming independent will probably break them. Above this, without a strong communist bloc within the ANC, more reasonable members may be able to enact logical change from within. So, take this as my blessing for the SACP’s secession. I wish them luck.

In this article

Leave a Reply


  1. Tim Bester Reply

    Just imagine! A communist free cabinet.

    1. Nicholas Woode-Smith Reply

      Sounds glorious! But I am pessimistic that the SACP cadres will truly split from their ANC overlords.

    2. Harald Sitta Reply

      and without shooting 🙂

  2. Harald Sitta Reply

    son on the hard left we have the ANC ( partly), SAPC, EFF, BLF and other marginals.Quite overcrowded.And we all know what happens to overcrowded places under Bolshie management. Starvation ::-)

  3. Paining Reply

    SACP are like football supporters who pitch up to a final supporting both Chiefs and Pirates. They can’t lose. And they refuse to admit the irony. All about the money and power in reality. They will change their minds just before elections with some BP-type justification. All those juicy cabinet posts gone? Not on your nelly.

  4. Eugene Coetzee Reply

    Interesting then that EFF who is according to their own policy documents “Marxist-Leninst” and also virulently anti-white racist should now be described as “niche” despite their obvious alliance with the DA.

  5. Phelamanga Reply

    The SACP are behaving like a spoilt child throwing a tantrum because they were not included in the Gupta birthday party. But, their flip-flopping about going it alone will be the best move for South Africa, and hopefully they will go it alone. They will have to campaign on their ideology and explain how communism will be beneficial for the country. Their parasitic existence within the Tripartite Alliance has not been covered with glory. Their revolutionary policies and the rabid promotion of the theory of the National Democratic Revolution has resulted in a ruling party that is unable to transform itself from a revolutionary liberation movement to a party of government. This has turned a promising country into one that will soon become a basket case.

    No sane person would want to invest in a country that is dominated by Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism, knowing that their investments stand a strong chance of being nationalized. That’s like giving large sums of money to a known theif.

    Of course, the SACP won’t be able to campaign using Marxism-Leninism, but will resort to the same racist ideology that the Zuma faction is using. Whites will be scapegoated and meaningless leftist slogans such as White Monopoly Capital, White Supremacy and other discriminatory slogans will be used to rouse the masses.

    But, let’s support them in their liberation of themselves from the ANC. They have been given far too much airtime according to their numbers. For ordinary South Africans, it will be most liberating and a further step toward freeing ourselves from the ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries. Communism deserves to be buried along with apartheid.

  6. Willem Liebenberg Reply

    Would the SACP survive on it’s own? No. Have you ever seen a head walking alone in the street. The head need a body to function. If and that is a big if, if they part from the ANC they will latch onto another communist / socialist partner like the EFF to be the brain for the net phase of the NDR. The whole reason for the existence for the SACP is revolution. This is sole reason for the existence of communism, to be at war at the different classes in society. And how long is that going to be? For as long as there will be different classes. For how long is that going to be? Forever, because we will never have a society with absolute equality.
    So good luck to populists who are ever ready to believe the lies of the SACP and their wonderful ideals of a perfect equal society without any classes. Unluckily there are too many evidence in the world that their philosophy nor their governments have succeeded. They all failed dismally. Yet there are still populists who believe that the right program has not been implemented to make communism work. Good luck to these fools.

  7. Paul Chinchen Reply

    SACP goes in alone: Will they survive? No, if the SACP goes it alone they will not survive. If the SACP stays with the anc it will not survive. If the SACP goes with the EFF it will not survive. 5 years from now there will be no SACP.

Rational Standard