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Proposal for PAC to withdraw from Parliament opposed

The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) could be embarking on a “suicidal mission” – that’s if some of its members have their way to pull the party out of mainstream politics, including not contesting elections at all levels in future.

This was one of the proposals to be tabled at the PAC election national congress to be held in Seshego, outside Polokwane, from Friday until Sunday. The proposers of the motion, comprising a small but influential group within the party, believe that as part of the PAC revival, the former liberation movement should withdraw its members from Parliament and municipal councils, including all coalitions it is participating in at municipal level.

They are agitated by the lack of progress since the PAC participated in the state institutions without benefiting from them and therefore feel it is better to leave. But their position is not supported by both the lobbies of PAC president Mzwanele Nyhontso and his deputy Lunga Mantashe who will be contesting each other for the president position at the congress.

Withdrawal from Parliament

A well informed insider said they had a problem with the position taken by the proposers of the radical position to exit Parliament, municipal councils and coalitions. The member said there was a general fear that if the PAC withdrew it risked suffering the same fate as Azapo, which was wiped out of Parliament and councils and subsequently became too weak as an extra-parliamentary party.

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“They have taken a super revolution posture that is not scientific to suddenly move abruptly away from these institutions. This is their knee-jack response to the way the PAC landed in the crisis it is in politically by saying they must not participate in these structures of the state. Yet we cannot start at the super revolutionary level in order to get out of where we are, but we need to get gradually out of the situation,” the member said.

Several sources in the PAC told The Citizen the radicals are of the view that as part of the revival programme, the party should start afresh by not participating in state organs, including elections which is a key factor to any political party aiming to attain power in the first place.

The PAC is currently represented in Parliament by Nyhontso and has members in a few municipal councils. But if the decision gets passed at the congress, albeit unlikely, those members could be withdrawn.

The proposal could extend to PAC members serving in the South African Police Service (Saps), the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and in the entire civil service, a move that could place the party in a collision course with its members.

Many members of the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army (Apla) served in the Saps and the SANDF by virtue of being members of the PAC’s former military wing. Other party members who obtained their civil service jobs through their qualifications could also be affected.

‘New proposal could kill PAC’

The move has been condemned by some within the party as “suicidal” as it would kill the PAC, which is already suffering electorally. The party parliamentary representation dropped from five MPs in 1994 to only one currently and indications are that it may not get a seat in future polls.

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“Some members want the PAC to be out of Parliament and they say it must be revived outside the mainstream politics, but this is suicidal and it will not get support from the masses. We have sober cadres who are saying let’s work hard to have numbers and be able to have a strong voice,” said PAC member Crosby Njwabule.

Njwabule said it was unfortunate that the proposal failed to consider the fact that former Apla cadres currently serve in the security forces including the army, police and State Security Agency and some PAC members are ordinary civil servants and would not want to lose their jobs.

“The PAC needs to close ranks and have a way of communicating its message to the people of our country. Delegates must be able to give clear message and take sober resolutions to remedy high unemployment, fight high food and petrol prices and exorbitant electricity tariffs and to ensure the provision of houses and healthcare,” Njwabule said.

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