President Jacob Zuma Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP
The SACP in KwaZulu-Natal has temporarily shelved its differences with President Jacob Zuma and has agreed to share a platform with him during the unveiling of a statue of its late leader, Harry Gwala, in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday

Zuma is being boycotted by ANC partners in the tripartite alliance. They want him to step down due to his allegedly corrupt relationship with the controversial Gupta family.

The SACP banned him from addressing its national congress in June. Cosatu’s May Day rally in Bloemfontein had to be called off when its members booed Zuma and prevented him from delivering the keynote address.

SACP KwaZulu-Natal secretary Themba Mthembu said on Saturday Zuma is to speak at the unveiling organised by Premier Willies Mchunu, since he had been Gwala’s political student. He said all provincial executive members of the SACP would attend the event.

“I don’t know why Msholozi (Zuma) cannot address the unveiling of the statue of his comrade. He was a student of Gwala. I don’t think we have the right to decide for Gwala’s family. And we don’t have a right to decide for the premier who to invite to such an historical event.”

Delivering a memorial lecture on Gwala in Caluza village, Pietermaritzburg, on Friday night, Mchunu said it was Gwala’s family who had insisted that Zuma attend as the main speaker.

“The ANC and communist party saw fit that Zuma should be present.”

He said the ANC and SACP had directed the provincial government to erect the statue of Gwala because of his role in the struggle against apartheid.

Affectionately known as the Lion of the Midlands, Gwala led the ANC and SACP during the height of political violence between the ANC and IFP, which claimed thousands of lives in KwaZulu-Natal in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Weekend Argus Sunday