“No one among us here is serving by force,” Nzimande said at a media briefing on Monday.
The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that Nzimande was under pressure from delegates at the SACP’s special national congress – which gets underway on Monday evening – to choose between leading the party and continue serving in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet as higher education and training minister.
“We, including myself, are serving the SACP with pleasure,” Nzimande said at the media briefing.
The SACP’s special national congress is expected to continue until Thursday and is aimed at reviewing the implementation of resolutions taken two years ago at the party’s previous national congress.
Several key matters will be on the agenda, including the state of the Tripartite Alliance, the ailing economy and state-owned entities.
Tripartite Alliance under spotlight
The SACP maintains that it is on good terms with Tripartite Alliance partner the African National Congress. (ANC). The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) makes up the third partner of the alliance.
The list process, carefully analysed in the February and June 2019 central committee meetings, has reflected the provincial specifications of dynamics in the alliance, the extent of the fightback groupings, and has also reflected a lack of any sense of a reconfigured alliance,” the party’s discussion papers read.
The alliance seemed to have already been on shaky ground in the build-up to the ANC’s elective conference in December 2018, which saw Ramaphosa take over the party’s leadership from former president Jacob Zuma – of whom the party has been extremely critical.
Both the SACP and Cosatu accused Zuma and the ruling party of not consulting them when making key cabinet appointments.
Zuma gave Nzimande the boot in his 2017 cabinet reshuffle – a move which was seen as being the result of the crumbling relationship between the parties.
SACP set to contest 2021 elections
The party has also indicated that it will be contesting the 2021 local government elections, while emphasising it still believed in the alliance and its necessity.
“SACP’s support for the ANC was not a reflection of being opportunistically blinded by the “Ramaphoria” cult motivated by a narrow set of electoral calculations,” the papers further read.
“As the SACP reflects on the implications of 8 May 2019, the events of February 2018 – when far more than an electoral outcome were at stake – cannot be far from our minds and nor can the self-critical reflection on the role of the SACP in the alliance over the past decade.”