President Jacob Zuma will not attend the funeral of ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada‚ in accordance with the family’s wishes‚ the presidency said on Wednesday.

Kathrada passed away in the early hours of Tuesday after spending the past month in hospital‚ recovering from brain surgery to remove a blood clot. Kathrada was a strident critic of Zuma and last year wrote an open letter‚ calling on the president to resign after the Constitutional Court found that Zuma had violated the constitution.

Zuma on Tuesday declared a special official funeral for Kathrada and directed that flags be flown at half-mast until the evening of the memorial service.

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the government delegation to the funeral and memorial service.

“President Jacob Zuma has again expressed deep sadness and extended his heartfelt condolences to former Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan and family on the passing of one of the most respected struggle stalwarts and former Member of Parliament‚” the presidency said in a statement on Wednesday.