South African Communist Party (SACP) spokesperson Alex Mashilo had some scathing words for ANC president Jacob Zuma, saying he adopted an authoritarian leadership style towards the end of his term as head of the party.
"The president is conflicted because the call for him to step down is directed to his leadership. He is not speaking from an objective point of view, he is speaking from a self-defence point of view using a platform where the people making that call cannot make their submission," he said.
Mashilo was speaking to HuffPost SA on the sidelines of the ANC national conference at the Nasrec Expo Centre on Sunday.
"You have a person here who talks about unity, but who in practice conducts himself in such a way that doesn't really give credit to the ANC. On the contrary, that behaviour repels support from the ANC as the last local government elections indicated."
Zuma launched an attack against the ANC's alliance partners during his final speech as ANC president on Saturday, saying Cosatu especially was wrong to call for him to step down.
"He [Zuma] says the alliance partners must speak in alliance meetings... the last alliance national summit was held two years ago in 2015... The person who should be ensuring that alliance partners meet avoids such a meeting... Under the president, especially in his second term, more and more he shut down space for engagement," Mashilo said.
"We hope that this conference will become successful and stop the wars that Zuma declared against the alliance... The engagement for Zuma to be recalled is not over. That engagement will still continue. Alliance partners that announced that position have not rescinded that position; they are still pursuing it."
Mashilo said Zuma adopted an authoritarian leadership style towards the end of his tenure.
"Clearly towards his end of term as ANC president, Zuma decided to adopt an authoritarian and unilateral leadership style where he made decisions without consulting let alone the alliance but with the ANC itself," he said.