The South African Communist Party (SACP) is expected to elect new leaders on Wednesday as its fourteenth national congress continues in Boskburg, Ekurhuleni.
Delegates will nominate candidates for the central executive committee and later cast their votes.
First deputy general secretary, Jeremy Cronin is not standing for any leadership position, while second deputy secretary Solly Mapaila is not contesting for the secretary general position as had been widely speculated.
Incumbent secretary general Blade Nzimande is expected to be re-elected. He has been the face of the SACP since 1998.
The SACP national congress came at a time when relations have soured with the governing African National Congress (ANC), which leads the tripartite alliance that includes the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).
Alliance partners Cosatu and the SACP have banned ANC leader President Jacob Zuma from appearing at their events. The SACP is even contemplating contesting elections alone in the future.
The SACP has in recent times publicly criticised Zuma’s leadership, blaming him for the deepening crisis within the ANC, factionalism and rampant corruption that continues to rear its ugly head in government and state-owned enterprises.
Delivering his scathing political report on Tuesday, Nzimande called for government to stop doing business with the politically connected Gupta family, accused of having influence on the president and his government.
Nzimande, once a staunch Zuma supporter leading up to his election as ANC president at the 2007 conference in Polokwane, told delegates he felt betrayed by the Zuma leadership, which he said did not live up to its promises post Polokwane.
Nzimande said State capture by the Gupta family aided by the corrupt in government was on ”steroids” and that drastic action was needed as the ANC faced losing the 2019 general elections. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the congress on Wednesday.