The SACP, which forms part of the tripartite alliance with the ANC and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, has joined the resounding chorus of those – among them opposition parties and civil society organisations – calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
The calls, which have culminated in nation wide anti-Zuma marches, were ignited by the President's midnight reshuffle that saw finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas fired. Soon after that the country was downgraded to junk status by ratings agencies and the rand went into freefall.
Although the SACP did not take part in the anti-Zuma marches to the Union Building on Wednesday that drew thousands of protesters, it said it would not be coerced into changing its stance by the use of "hired thugs".
The anti-Zuma march coincided with the Zuma's 75th birthday, which he celebrated in Kliptown in Soweto.
The SACP said in would not be intimidated into changing its stance citing the attempted assassination of its 2nd Deputy General Secretary Solly Mapaila, which was captured on video. A man was filmed pointing a gun at Mapaila as he went to the podium to speak during the commemoration of slain struggle hero Chris Hani on Monday.
"We were not surprised that these elements might use the sombre occasion to heckle or even boo SACP leadership. However, the release of footage showing an unknown gunman pointing a pistol towards our 2nd Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Solly Mapaila, and then retracting has truly bewildered us all," said the SACP.
The communist party said it remained behind its politburo’s call for Zuma to step down and for an independent judicial inquiry be established to investigate any financial links and dealings between public entities and the Gupta family and companies associated with them.
It also wants lifestyle audits for all ministers, deputy ministers, Director Generals and board members of state owned companies and the revoking of the citizenship and residential rights of the Gupta family.