The South African Communist Party (SACP) called for a review of the process under which government contracts are awarded and demanded that leaders stop using state resources to amass personal wealth.
The comments came after media reports that Julius Malema, the youth leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), had used his political influence to win multi-million rand infrastructure contracts. Malema has denied the allegations.
“We need to ensure that public resources are used developmentally and not misdirected into private accumulation,” said Blade Nzimande, cabinet minister and secretary general of the SACP, after a two-day meeting of the party in Johannesburg.
The party’s decision making body resolved to put pressure on President Jacob Zuma’s government to review how contracts are tendered.
“More and more we run the danger of having state departments tendering out almost all of their activities,” Nzimande said. “We need much greater transparency around the tendering process.”
The communists are part of a tri-partite ruling alliance led by the ANC and also including leading trade union federation COSATU. If the government ignores their demands, President Zuma risks alienating poor South Africans who continue to struggle 16 years after the transition to democracy.
The SACP has supported a call by COSATU for a lifestyle audit of the country’s top politicians which aims to expose leaders who gain wealth through corrupt means.
It is the latest in a series of issues pitting the unions and communists against the ANC-led government. The left helped Zuma become president in last year’s elections and have subsequently demanded a change to the country’s pro-business economic policies.
Pic: President Jacob Zuma of South Africa