The South African Communist Party (SACP) commemorated the 25th anniversary of the passing of its late Chairperson Joe Slovo in Soweto on Monday.

But the celebrations were without the biggest ally present, the African National Congress.

The ruling party’s leadership were a no show at the event at the Avalon Cemetery, raising the ire of alliance partners.

Slovo died in January 1995, while serving as the first Housing Minister in the first democratic government.

He’s been praised for his exceptional leadership. The memorial of one of South Africa’s revered leaders quickly turned into a platform for the crisis facing the country.

The Cosatu president wouldn’t let the ANC’s absence at the commemoration be the elephant in the room. He addressed the matter and sent a message to those who didn’t honour the event.

Cosatu General-Secretary Bheki Ntshalinthali says, “The SACP took a decision and said there won’t be any SACP commemoration without ANC national leadership but they are not here. This is wrong. The ANC has 18 leaders. If they can’t send one here then our movement is in danger comrades.”

But the SACP has again reaffirmed its support for the governing party.

SACP General-Secretary Blade Nzimande says, “When we say our role is to build the ANC some say when are we building the SACP. SACP has never been alone. We build the party; we build the ANC; we build Cosatu.”

Perhaps the biggest test for unity of the tripartite alliance will be the ANC’s upcoming national general council with speculation rife that there could be calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s removal.

Cosatu has already issued a warning to those it says want to divide the party.

“Those who want to kill the ANC must go and form their own parties. They must not use the AGC to kill the movement. So, they have been taught by the ANC.”