Pretoria – South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande has strongly condemned demonstrations held outside his deputy Solly Mapaila’s home.
"We must really strongly condemn such actions, in fact they must be called what they are supposed to be called, its thuggery," he told journalists.
Speaking on the sidelines of labour federation Cosatu’s central committee meeting in Irene, Nzimande said protests at private homes of politicians should never happen, in spite of political differences.
On Tuesday, people purporting to be members of the ANC’s liberation army Umkhonto We Sizwe protested outside Mapaila’s home in defence of President Jacob Zuma.
Mapaila has been one of the president’s loudest critics, calling for him to step down as South Africa’s head of state.
The SACP raised concerns for Mapaila’s life in April, when it claimed that video footage, shot by News24 at the 24th year commemoration of its former leader Chris Hani’s murder, showed a gunman who was set to assassinate Mapaila.
The EFF’s Julius Malema also joined the chorus this week, asking the SACP, via his social media account, to beef up security around the leader.
"People must not start things that can take this country to a place we do not want to go to. No matter what the differences, we must respect private homes and respect families," said Nzimande.
Remaining defiant, Nzimande said acts like these would not stop the party from being vocal.
"We are not going to be intimidated as the SACP. If they want to march, they must come to the SACP offices, not to family homes."
“We need to stand up in order to prevent these things. That’s why we are calling upon all peace loving South Africans, irrespective of political affiliation,” he added.
On Monday, Nzimande addressed the gathering, saying some comrades were threatening them in meetings.
"The apartheid regime tried through, among other things, the Suppression of Communism Act to destroy the communist party. They are not going to destroy us. We are not going to stop or change on the cause we are in just because we are intimidated by thugs," he said.
Nzimande said Zuma had a duty to condemn the protests which were done under his name.
"If people would go, 'hands of Nzimande', and start intimidating private families, I would speak and say, 'not in my name'," he said.
Nzimande also lashed out at ANN7, which was the only media house at the protest.
"What also disturbs us is that these people who went to comrade Solly’s house were accompanied by a camera from ANN7, which means that they are complicit in this," he said.
He added that the television channel did not deserve to have a licence to broadcast in the country if they were going to be complicit with "thugerism".