Ramaphosa to blame for Kathrada memorial postponement – Mokonyane

NEC member defends Zuma and chastises those who have been calling for his removal

Ramaphosa to blame for Kathrada memorial postponement – Mokonyane

5 April 2017

Germiston – ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Nomvula Mokonyane has slammed former finance minister Pravin Gordhan for encouraging mass mobilisation against the ANC, and blamed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for the postponement of the state memorial service in honour of anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada.

Mokonyane was addressing members of the ANC Youth League at "The future is bright" rally in support of President Jacob Zuma at the Germiston Stadium on Tuesday night.

The NEC member, who is also minister of water and sanitation, defended Zuma and chastised those who have been calling for his removal.

Zuma has faced numerous calls for him to step down, as both leader of the country and of the ANC, by some within his own movement. This was sparked by a shock Cabinet reshuffle he announced around midnight on Thursday last week, in which he fired Gordhan as minister of finance.

Three of the ANC's top officials have complained that he left them out in the cold when making decisions about who to fire and who to keep. His deputy Ramaphosa described the developments as totally unacceptable.

"The Cabinet reshuffle has helped us out, we have now seen the hyenas in sheep's skin," said Mokonyane to the crowd of young ANC supporters on Tuesday night.

"You cannot support the opponents of the ANC's national democratic revolution and even invite people into your press conference and sing 'Senzeni na [What have we done]?' when you could not do it before you got redeployed," she said, taking aim at Gordhan.

Staffers at Treasury sang the struggle song as Gordhan and his former deputy Mcebisi Jonas bid them farewell last Friday.

Mokonyane, turning her attention to the passing of the man fondly known as Uncle Kathy, bashed those who spoke out against Zuma at both Kathrada's funeral and memorial service where calls were made by the ANC stalwart's widow, Barbara Hogan, for Zuma to go.

" Se seng kganago senthola morwalo [that which doesn't want me lessens my burdens]," said Mokonyane.

She said the director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Balton, told ANC officials that the family did not want Zuma to attend the funeral, but despite this the president decided that Kathrada should still have an official funeral.

"You respect the feelings of the family, even when we know people don't get invited to funerals. Even your enemy comes to your funeral but president respected that," she said.

Mokonyane said Zuma had passed on all responsibilities to Ramaphosa in this regard.

"The person who decided to postpone the memorial service indefinitely is comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, not Zuma, but because everybody is passionate about talking bad [about] Zuma, even when the Presidency issued a statement we never read about it," she complained.

The Presidency denied it was at fault for the postponement while the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) claimed it called off the memorial service because it could not come to an agreement with the family on logistical issues around the event.

Mokonyane, in expressing shock at those who made political speeches at both the memorial and the funeral, said it was un-African to do so.

"Even those using funerals to swear at us, maybe that's why they have bad luck and are reshuffled because at funerals you talk about death, you go there to comfort the bereaved. You don't turn members of the NEC into celebrities, 'Comrade X we love you, the world loves you, and you are good'," she said.

She also shared her views on what would happen should Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete allow for the motion of no confidence against Zuma to go ahead.

"We can't go to Parliament and have the minority wanting to dictate to the majority about the future of this country. It can be a Mmusi Maimane, but there's a white behind him," she said.

She said there would be no secret ballot as her own party members know nothing is hidden from other members.

ANC members who "cannot toe the line" should leave, she said. "There are a lot of us in the ANC.

"They can call a sitting whenever they want, we will be ready to deal with it," said Mokonyane.

The minister also urged ANC supporters to turn out in their numbers to support the party when the DA gathers to march against the party on Friday.