By Bheko Madlala
The stand-off between the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party nationally has spilled into KwaZulu-Natal, with the provincial SACP leadership reportedly
angry after a senior ANC leader allegedly publicly denigrated them.
The allegations that the provincial minister of housing Dumisani Makhaye made the "vituperative" remarks at a memorial service of an ANC stalwart to the SACP leadership has coincided with reports that he (Makhaye) on Sunday mounted a bid to force SACP leader Jeremy Cronin to apologise for his criticism of the ruling party.
It is believed that the move to extract an apology from Cronin at the ANC's National Executive Committee, which ended on Sunday, was also backed by the ANC youth league president Malusi Gigaba.
Cronin has weathered a barrage of assaults from the ANC recently after it emerged that he had chided Mbeki for his perceived centralisation of power.
Makhaye's attack was by far the most vitriolic when he referred to Cronin as "a white messiah and a factory fault".
The alleged attempts to force Cronin to apologise has further strained relations between the two allies amid reports that the tensions had also spilled into the province after Makhaye allegedly recently likened the provincial leadership of the SACP to "dogs" at the memorial service of Justice Mpanza.
He is alleged to have said: "There are dogs who are biting the ANC and these dogs are calling themselves our friends. The ANC would not be defeated, the ANC is strong. Some of us are prepared to die for the ANC and to kill for the ANC."
An SACP leader who spoke to The Mercury on condition of anonymity said: "There is no doubt that the attack was aimed at us. It is unfortunate that this thing has spilled into the province because until then we have had good relations."
He emphasised: "We will not allow some ANC leaders to import national problems into the province."
He said although they believed that Makhaye did not have a mandate to launch his "tirades, what angered us is that it was clear that he had the support of the some elements within the provincial leadership".
"He is being allowed to just shoot from the hip and no one has called him to order or to sanction him."
Makhaye conceded that he had used the word "dogs" in his speech but vehemently denied that he was referring to the SACP leadership.
"Whoever said that is mad. There are many people who are our enemies, including NGOs, and I was referring to them and not the SACP."
Makhaye also denied that he had attacked the SACP as an organisation, saying "Cronin is not a party but an individual".
He also dismissed as a lie that he had tried to force Cronin to apologise.