Zuma reducing protests to racist is a cheap shot - SACP's Solly Mapaila

Second deputy general secretary of the South African Communist Party Solly Mapaila talks to Redi Thlabi about the late Chris Hani. Today is the 24th anniversary of the slain SACP and Umkhonto we Sizwe leader.

Mapaila says one of the critical lessons learned from the man as a leader, is that he always uphold revolutionary principles.

He engaged with those who were deviating or violating basic principles of the organisation. That is why when things went wrong he was not afraid to raise up his voice and say comrades let us attend to this particular problem.

Solly Mapaila, SACP second deputy general secretary

Mapaila says this is a key lesson relevant to South Africa today.

That's one of the things that we need to embrace today because today when you speak there is too much intolerance that is meted out to those with different opinions and I think it shouldn't be like that.

Solly Mapaila, SACP second deputy general secretary

He says there are self-serving leaders that cannot listen to any advice, and so SACP activity is gravitating much more towards the public space.

We see our resolutions slipping away from our hands all because we can't confront each other comradely, robustly and actually ask some of the comrades to correct their ways.

Solly Mapaila, SACP second deputy general secretary

Read: Solly Mapaila booed at Chris Hani memorial.

He says they knew the heckling was planned and had hoped leadership would have prevented it. But this did not succeed and Mapaila himself was booed and ended up not speaking at the Chris Hani Memorial.

Also read: Tensions apparent between SACP and ANC at Chris Hani memorial.

Yes, there was a small crowd that tried to boo me. It's ok, I can take that, it's not a crisis. But going forward it will become difficult if it becomes a culture of how we conduct ourselves.

Solly Mapaila, SACP second deputy general secretary

Mapaila says SACP cadres were disciplined and did not boo the president when he addressed the memorial.

He says while of course racism exists in the country, Zuma's address at the memorial was uncalled for.

To reduce the recent marches into a racial march is an extremely cheap shot. In fact, at that march, there were a lot of ANC cadres and old former UDF cadres...people who fought for the liberation of this country. And we participated in that and we are not racists.

Solly Mapaila, SACP second deputy general secretary

Read more: Zuma calls protests racist

Mapaila says the SACP has told their members who are ANC MPs not to be afraid to raise their position regarding Zuma within the ANC caucus. But they serve in their own right as ANC members.

A cornerstone of the alliance is this duel membership...we have no control over them as ANC members.

Solly Mapaila, SACP second deputy general secretary

They must fight ideologically withing the ANC caucus that President Zuma must step down.

Solly Mapaila, SACP second deputy general secretary

Time is of the essence to get Zuma to step down he says.

Listen to more from Solly Mapaila:

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