The cold dispute erupted after the funeral of the struggle icon, in which Zuma was conspicuously absent. The Kathrada Foundation has contradicted suggestions that it had barred President Jacob Zuma from attending the struggle veteran’s funeral on Wednesday.

During the service at the Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg on Wednesday‚ Cosatu’s Bheki Ntshalintshali and executive director of the Kathrada Foundation Neeshan Balton both took to the podium and highlighted that all those who had attended had done so out of their own accord to pay homage to the late anti-apartheid activist.

Zuma said on Wednesday he would stay away from the funeral of Ahmed Kathrada out of respect for the family’s wishes. But speakers at Kathrada’s funeral suggested that no one had received an official invitation to the event.

Zuma had instead sent deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to lead a government delegation to the special official funeral‚ which he had declared.