This comes as the SACP is holding its 14th National Congress this week where it will elect new leadership to take the party forward for the next five years.
Cronin told the media that he had made a “difficult choice” to step down in a bid to strike a balance between injecting fresh blood into the movement and to see its continued stability.
He said that he was proud to be leaving the party when its leadership was “easily unified and most stable”, unlike its alliance partners.
General secretary Blade Nzimande said he wished he was joining Cronin to step down, but “do you change leadership when the truck is going downhill at a speed?
“We are in a very difficult political situation in this country. The next six months are extremely unpredictable. We do not know who will be left standing after all these Gupta leaks. If I had my personal preference, I would be joining comrade Cronin and retire,” Nzimande said.
The SACP Congress begins in earnest today and will end on Saturday.