Jeremy Cronin comes to SACP's defence on e-tolls

Jeremy Cronin says the fact the party hasn’t opposed e-tolls doesn't mean it’s swallowed by Luthuli House.

Delegates at the SACP Special National Congress, taking at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus on 08 July, 2015. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Communist Party's (SACP) first deputy general secretary, Jeremy Cronin, says the fact the party has not opposed e-tolls in Gauteng doesn't mean it has been swallowed by Luthuli House.

On Sunday former planning minister Trevor Manuel questioned both the role and the legitimacy of the SACP after its congress last week.

In his stinging opinion piece, Manuel asked why the communist party appears to have a special status and boundless legitimacy when, in fact, there would be less ideological coherence among its members than any other group of people within the African National Congress.

The party's failure to comment publicly on the e-tolls issue, which has seen government roads semi-privatised, has also been questioned by other commentators.

But Cronin says that's missing the point.

"Those are secondary matters as far as we are concerned because one way or the other users are forced to pay, whether through a fuel levy or e-tolls, are being forced to pay for something that is not a priority in our country."

He says the party is playing an important role.

CRONIN AFFIRMS SACP BELIEVES IN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY

At the same time Cronin says the party does believe there is an important place for independent and impartial judges in South African society.

The former SACP first deputy general-secretary says the party does accept that judges are necessary.

"We value the role of the judiciary and the importance of an independent judiciary as one critical pillar of a democratic society."

He has dismissed much of Manuel's criticism as uninformed.

"Trevor Manuel is irritated for whatever reason and is simply not following what is going on."

Manuel had said the SACP appeared to believe it had a special status but that it was not necessarily legitimate.