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Policy first, leadership second - SACP

The SACP hopes to focus on policy, not leadership issues, at its national congress this week.

SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Communist Party (SACP) hopes to focus on policy, and not leadership issues, at its national congress this week.

About 2,000 delegates will attend the party's 13th congress, which will unfold in Richards Bay, are expected to discuss policy papers discussed at the ANC's policy conference in Midrand two weeks ago.

SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande appears to be unopposed, but its chairperson Gwede Mantashe is expected to step down.

Nzimande has been in the SACP's top job for 14 years. This week, he is expecting confirmation that he will stay on until 2017.

But they party's national secretary Solly Mapaila says the SACP is in the process of replacing Mantashe, who is stepping down ostensibly because of his other role as ANC Secretary General.

"The nominations are with provinces, they're finalising that. They should be able to nominate a new national chairperson [soon]."

Eyewitness News understands that National Union of Mineworkers President Senzeni Zokwana is up to succeed Mantashe.

Meanwhile, the SACP is also expected to change its constitution this week - to allow it to change the way the party is run.

Proposed changes to the SACP's constitution include beefing up the party's head office, amid criticism that having both Nzimande and Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Cronin in government, has left it organisationally weak.

Mapaila says changes to the constitution come in the context of criticism, but says it is not unusual for changes to be made to its constitution.