Jeremy Cronin is a South African member of Parliament and a member of the ruling ANC’s National Executive Committee. He is also Deputy General Secretary of the South African Communist Party and edotor of the SACP’s publications, Umsabenzi and the South African Communist.
Cronin joined the underground Communist Party as a student in the early 70s and was arrested by the South African authorities in 1977.
Cronin is a veteran of the anti-Apartheid struggle and is one of the half dozen most influential politicians in South Africa.
The South African Communist Party holds at least seven cabinet positions, several deputy ministerial posts and dominates the ruling African National Congress at every level.
In a 2002 interview, Jeremy Cronin reveals that at the highest levels of the ANC, many of its leaders are former SACP members who still generally support the aims of the party.
The sociology of the debates was quite interesting. Half of the (Communist)party leadership quietly resigned. Half the central committee membership resigned quietly from the party in 1990 and they constitute basically the core of the ANC leadership at present. Their reasons for resigning at the time were, I was at that central committee meeting in Johannesburg when they announced, and they had clearly had discussed it among themselves as a faction, that they were going to leave the party.
They said that they had remained broadly committed to what the party stood for, but they thought that, now that the party was no longer an underground organisation, they would need to announce publicly who its leadership was and they were not prepared publicly to do so. They thought that it would compromise the ANC, if so much of the key leadership of the ANC was also being shown publicly to be the party.
Those of us who were of a different view also had a different view on that, but we agreed that we couldn’t stop them. So there would be in any case an agreement that that would happen and we wouldn’t say who it was. It wasn’t supposed to be said at that time.
So here we have the open SACP controlling several key posts in the South African government and the covert supporters of the SACP controlling much of the rest.
I would contend that South African President, Thabo Mbeki probably falls into this covert category.
Any of my socialist readers still like to challenge my contention that South Africa is effectively ruled by the South African Communist Party?