ANC’s RET Faction Planned KZN Looting; Jeremy Spills The Beans
ANC’s RET Faction Planned KZN Looting; Jeremy Spills The Beans
Jeremy Cronin, a former deputy minister of public works and a member of the SACP politburo, has labeled the ANC’s radical economic transformation (RET) faction as a network of right-wing primitive accumulators facing jail time.
He accused the group of being behind the recent violent looting and destruction of property in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
“Unfortunately, very unfortunately, this was a plot developed within the ANC itself. And it’s a clear evidence of the ANC’s serious decline.
“It was also a sign of a weak and compromised state system, as well as the criminal justice system’s and crime intelligence’s capacity, and those factors demonstrated how weak we were in many ways,” Cronin added.
He was giving a virtual lecture as part of the SACP’s centenary celebrations, in which he discussed the party’s history and its ties with the ANC. He noted some of the SACP’s decisions in ANC leadership races, particularly in the run-up to the party’s watershed Polokwane national conference.
He claimed that the SACP’s political bureau and central committee concurred with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assessment of the recent violence, claiming that it was an attempted counterrevolutionary insurgency.
“Clearly, there are several aspects to it. Behind the scenes, there were the event planners. “There were arsonists,” as one comrade put it, “people who burned factories, warehouses, and trucks on the N3 without plundering but with the intent of causing disruption,” he claimed.
“Then there was widespread looting, which in some cases amounted to a food riot involving tens of thousands of people, many of whom were poor and working-class. It wasn’t only them; we also witnessed 4x4s and other vehicles looting.”
South Africans must recognize that the insurgency failed, at least for the time being, but they must not underestimate the hard-nosed nature of the conspiracy at work behind it, according to Cronin. It failed because a broad coalition of ordinary citizens banded together to defeat it.
He claimed there was widespread opposition to the looting and the attempted use or unleashing of these popular forces to wreak havoc and destabilize the ANC’s Ramaphosa leadership and government by forces who are themselves attempting to avoid jail.
“They’ve been enslaved by state-sponsored looting. This is how the conspiracy works,” he explained. Cronin said that this reflected the alliance’s and the ANC-led government’s failure to solve the capitalist crises of racialized, gendered poverty, inequality, and unemployment since 1994.
“As a party, we must ask hard questions of ourselves, of our alliance, and ask how this could have happened 27 years after a truly critical democratic breakthrough, and what are the implications of all of this for the future of the ANC, for the alliance or the party, and for the national democratic revolution strategy?”
Cronin argued that the so-called “nine squandered years” narrative about Jacob Zuma’s presidency in South Africa should be rejected. He dismissed the notion that the ANC was split into two factions: the RET and the CR, which backs Ramaphosa.
“If we must fight or at least nuance the narrative of nine years wasted, another story I occasionally hear is that we are dealing with two factions: the RET or JZ side and the Cyril Ramaphosa faction. We have to disregard this as a narrative,” he stated.
“It’s essentially the story of the RET faction, the masterminds behind the early-July events. They portray themselves as one wing of the ANC versus another wing, another ANC faction.”
The RET faction, according to Cronin, is made up of networks of right-wing primitive accumulators who pose as left-wing radicals in order to avoid going to jail.
He added of the faction, “There is no substantive political platform other than the kind of repetition of a couple of slogans.” “They are what one British politician once referred to as’resolutionaries,’ clinging to a few of resolutions and frogmarching through a conference with little serious consideration, debate, or discussion about strategy, tactics, or policies,” he said.
He set the SACP apart from both sides. He said it was unfortunate that the RET faction had seized the words [RET], because “we do need radical economic transformation in South Africa.”
“However, given how they have degraded the meaning of RET, we need to create other words to describe what we are talking about,” he remarked.
He claimed that while the SACP supported Ramaphosa and the ANC’s leadership collective, as well as the constitution and the rule of law, it was not a member of the Ramaphosa group, if one existed.
“We are also critical of President Ramaphosa’s leadership, particularly his hesitancy in the face of the need to reverse neoliberal austerity and the inability to discipline capital. We have our own point of view. We are not affiliated with any ANC faction, and we are not affiliated with any ANC faction,” he stated.
Cronin cited accomplishments of the Zuma administrations, particularly during his first term, to explain why the nine squandered years narrative should be disregarded.
“Whatever errors Cosatu and the party made, not everything was wasted,” he remarked.
Cronin maintained that there were numerous issues prior to Zuma’s presidency, ranging from the so-called 1996 class project, which he claimed was deepening, to deepening corruption, ANC factionalism, unemployment, and inequality, all of which he claimed were exacerbated by neoliberal economic policies.
He added, “Unfortunately, there was also the awful Aids denialism championed by Mbeki, which had genocidal overtones.”
According to Cronin, the first Zuma administration saw rapid and significant improvements and advances in terms of overturning Aids denial and implementing the world’s largest antiretroviral deployment. This was immediately followed by a significant increase in life expectancy in South Africa.
Because of Zuma’s concentration on undermining the criminal justice system and the SA Revenue Service, there was also room for the Left in government to focus on key advancements that saw state-led industrial policy implemented more effectively.
“We shifted away from our trade regime’s huge liberalisation. There was a massive expansion of tertiary education, TVET colleges, NSFAS, and student numbers skyrocketed. “Public employment programs have also been expanded,” he added.
Unfortunately, on the one hand, widespread state capture and theft of key state-owned firms, which were vital to the infrastructure-building program, impeded all of these accomplishments. He also cited the National Treasury’s and the Reserve Bank’s persistent neoliberal policies.
“That is something Zuma did not displace at all during his presidency, until he sought to deal with the Treasury late in the game.”
According to him, the liberal austerity had hampered SA’s capacity to extend its industrial policy agenda significantly.
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