This is my amateur video of the reaction of delegates to the Congress of the South African Communist Party last week to their unanimous decision to reconfigure their relationship with the ANC. The singing and dancing lasted at least 15 minutes. My impression, as a guest at the congress, is that they are disgusted with the corruption in the ANC and are fed up with having to defend the indefensible because of being in government as part of the ANC.

 

Normally the president of the ANC (who is also president of South Africa) is invited to attend the SACP congress and to address it, but this time President Jacob Zuma was pointedly not invited. I was glad to see, also, that the dead of Marikana were included in the minute of silence for the dead at the beginning of the congress. As I saw the outbreak of singing and dancing shown in this video, in response to the new policy, I felt that I was witnessing an historic turning point.

Also, I was impressed by the sense of responsibility shown by the delegates. They want to manage change without plunging the country into chaos. Many South Africans have a deep loyalty to the ANC because it was the instrument of their liberation and they may see the SACP's change of policy as a betrayal. The congress was very united and it gave the leadership lots of space to implement the new policy with sensitivity and caution, recognising the dangers. The SACP is growing rapidly and now has almost 285,000 members in over 7000 branches.

Ken Keable

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