Zuma's comment on Kathrada shocking - Barbara Hogan

Widow and former minister also says she'd prefer Ramaphosa to win race for ANC presidency

Hogan rejects 'shocking' Zuma comment that Kathrada letter was faked

Johannesburg - Former ANC NEC member Barbara Hogan has rejected suggestions by President Jacob Zuma that her late husband Ahmed Kathrada's final letter to him had been faked.

Zuma on Friday told the SABC that Kathrada's final letter‚ which was critical of his presidency of the country and the party, has been "influenced" by others.

Kathrada would "not have written such a letter to me", Zuma claimed, adding that "even the language" suggested that others had influenced him in his "advanced age".

Hogan, a non-voting delegate at the party's national elective conference in Nasrec, told journalists on Monday that Zuma's statement was "shocking".

"A prophet is never heard in his own country, and I reject [the allegation] with absolute contempt.

"In the last draft, if you look at the emails, Kathy said to his Foundation: 'This is my final draft, I'll leave it to you and you change it where you will.'

"When you look at the final draft, it was actually what appeared."

'It's shocking'

Her late husband and famed struggle veteran had decided, "quite a long time ago", to write the final public letter, she continued.

"And it really hurts me, because he spent months... crafting this letter, because it was one of the most painful things he felt he ever had to do.

"And when he writes that last email to the Kathrada Foundation, he says: 'I have said my say, and I have no more to say.'"

She said that the tactic of not looking at the message, but rather attacking the messenger, was out of order.

"[In] particular, a member of that status. It's shocking," she said.

The Kathrada Foundation on Sunday sent out both draft and final versions of Kathrada's letter in order to prove its authenticity.

It demanded an apology from Zuma for attempts to "defame the memory of Kathrada".

The letter was also read out at his funeral by former president Kgalema Motlanthe in March, and received a standing ovation from those in attendance.


Ramaphosa won't 'smash' ANC for his own ego - Hogan

Johannesburg – Former ANC NEC member Barbara Hogan says she would prefer Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed Jacob Zuma as party president at the ANC's national elective conference.

Hogan on Monday told journalists at Nasrec, where the party is holding its 54th elective conference, that she had not lobbied for any particular candidate, but could not deny Ramaphosa's credentials.

"My preference is for Cyril Ramaphosa. He's always been, in his history, an incredibly smart negotiator, and he always has the long view in mind.

"He is not the kind of type who would smash an organisation for his own ego."

Ramaphosa and other frontrunner Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have gone head-to-head for the party's top job on the final voting ballot, after nominations on Sunday cancelled out all other candidates.

All other positions for the party's top 6 were also divided between the two slates as well, with two candidates competing for each position.

Hogan spoke plainly about the divisions in the party, and said the idea of unity was only achievable if it was built around good governance.

"I think there are deep cleavages. It really has to be, not unity of people in positions, but unity on a set of values and ways in which we behave.

"If everybody is committed to an incorruptible government, then I would love unity.

"But if there are still going to be elements who believe it is their right to rob and steal from the poor, using our money, then what is the point of unity?"

She said she would wait for the outcome to determine if unity was still possible, as she was no longer at the centre of the party.

Whichever leadership team emerged though, it was important for the party to keep them accountable.

"Everyone must be held to account. Even if we think 'God' has been brought in, we must hold this government, and whatever comes in its wake, to account."

ANC President Jacob Zuma on Saturday said the party's Veterans League, of which Hogan is a member, was overstepping its advisory role, by giving instructions to the ANC's "mother body".

The league had been critical of Zuma's leadership earlier this year, calling on him to resign, following his March Cabinet reshuffle.

Hogan, though, said the party's veterans were crucial.

"These aren't just veterans who decided they want to put their feet up at the coast. There are veterans who fought the fight in the ANC, understands its dynamics, its history, and understands our country."

The emergence of young activists was always good, but it needed to be balanced with a good generational mix, and input from older generations.

She added that she was proud of delegates who were fighting to uphold the party's constitutional processes.

Recent court judgments had only upheld what the ANC had decided in its own constitution, and delegates were fighting to maintain the party's own rules.

Earlier, Hogan rejected Zuma's "shocking" comment that her late husband and struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada had not written his final letter asking Zuma to resign.