CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The South African Communist Party, often dismissed as a Cold War icon, is stronger than ever and manipulating the ruling African National Congress from behind the scenes, according to observers.

The SACP and its “trilateral allies,” the ruling African National Congress and COSATU, the 2 million-strong Marxist trade union – 80 percent of whom are ANC voters – are a formidable force, South Africa watchers say.

In recent years, membership in the ANC has declined radically as the emerging black middle class has become discouraged by crime and the slide of the nation’s currency, the rand.

COSATU and the SACP are angry at the ANC’s privatization of apartheid-era state assets. This week, the SACP held its annual conference under the banner of the old Soviet Union to announce opposition to globalization, privatization and the direction the ANC is leading the country.

During major international events held in South Africa, such as the Durban World Conference on Racism – an anti-Western event boycotted by the U.S. – COSATU members took to the streets to protest against the ANC’s privatization plans. Similar protests can be expected later this month at the Rio Plus 10 Summit in Johannesburg. This is expected to anger the ANC.

“The SACP is stronger than ever, manipulating the ANC from the shadows,” Mary Anne du Toit, a conservative Freedom Front activist in Pretoria, told WorldNetDaily. “Yes, there has been some privatization, but this is only a smokescreen for Western consumption.”

“Many ANC leaders have HIV and are addicted to drugs,” she asserted. “There is a lot of corruption. The fact that the black masses are growing more dissatisfied with the ANC means that the SACP will be able to use its leverage more fully to influence ANC policy.”

South African policewoman Henriette Botha said that “traditionally, the ANC, Pan African Congress and black conscience groups stood shoulder to shoulder against the apartheid regime.

“Backed by massive amounts of Western aid, arms from Cuba, the former Soviet Union and mainland China as well as liberal Hollywood propaganda, these groups were able to launch a revolution against the white, pro-West South African government,” said Botha.

Since 1994, South Africa has moved away from the West and embraced Libya, Cuba, China, Iraq, the PLO and other anti-Western regimes.

“The SACP has senior ministers in place at the top levels of the ANC government, yet these ministers have thus far been unable to implement their socialism economic agenda,” said Garth Snow, a former South African Defense Force Military Intelligence official. “However, the confiscation of white farm land, either by outright murder of white Boer-Afrikaner farmers, or new legislation aimed at confiscating white farms is proceeding with lighting efficiency.”

Snow said that “cultural Marxism,” meaning the control of television, film, plays, school curriculum, and the “effort to eradicate the Afrikaners’ language and cultural heritage is already a fait acompli.”

Apartheid provided cohesion for South Africa’s Marxist-Leninists, however since the demise of white rule, the SACP, ANC and COSATU often find themselves at one another’s throats.

For example, the SACP recently published a document that was extremely critical of the ANC’s HIV/AIDS policy, the ANC’s bid to host the Olympic Games and South African President Thabo Mbeki’s New Economic Program for African Development, or NEPAD, aimed at transforming the whole continent of Africa.

The SACP attacks capitalism with old Marxist critiques, decrying the “systemic reproduction of Africa’s peripheralization and development.” The communists also applauded Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe’s murder and seizure of white farms in that nation and blamed the white farmers and United Kingdom for the problem. The SACP stated that pragmatic communists are critical of Mugabe’s actions in order to falsely assure the international community that “we will not behave like that here [in South Africa].”

The ANC countered by claiming that the SACP, which is the oldest communist party in the world outside of the former Soviet Union, was “run by whites.” In the 1920’s the SACP was formed under the banner “Workers unite to keep South Africa white.”

The SACP’s deputy general secretary, Jeremy Cronin is a white man who has come under criticism from the ANC ranks. Cronin recently blasted the ANC for its “concentration of power,” “Stalinist currents” and the “bureaucratization of the liberation struggle.”

Cronin’s whiteness has put him on trial in the eyes of South African blacks. The fact that he served in the apartheid-era navy also has been mentioned, despite the fact that he actively opposed the former pro-West regime.

The former intelligence official Snow said the “SACP’s best tactics are covert. That is how they were trained to operate by the Soviets.”

“To the face of the international community, they fly the flag of so-called ‘democracy’ to attract foreign investment, tourism, NEPAD dollars and politically-correct sympathy,” Snow said. “But when Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan come to South Africa and meet with the Marxists here, do you think they are only having a cup of tea? They are formulating their international strategy.”

Last week, SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande said that there is a possibility that the SACP will take over the ANC “from within,” and that the “working class must dominate ANC policy.”

“The African nationalism of the ANC has always been revolutionary, but it doesn’t mean you don’t find backwards elements,” Nzimande said.

He also believes that a coming crisis in the capitalist West will provide an opportunity to further the communist cause.

“A new type of global robber baron is emerging – look at what has been happening with all these companies in the United States,” Nzimande told the South African media.

“For us [the SACP] this is not a deviation – it’s inherent in the system,” he said. “The relevance of communist parties worldwide is that they represent an alternative society, an alternative to capitalism. When the Soviet Union collapsed there was a neo-liberal triumphalism that said: it’s the end of history, there is one route for countries to develop. But poverty is widening. At our congress we are going to reflect on how we link up with this mass creative expression of anti-capitalist sentiment.”

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