Johannesburg – Chants of "Zuma must fall" erupted as Ahmed Kathrada’s widow, Barbara Hogan, declared at his memorial service on Saturday that President Jacob Zuma worshipped at an altar of corruption and must step down.
"Mr President, if you had ears to hear and eyes to see you would step down as Kathy would want," said Hogan before being drowned by a crowd screaming, clapping singing and dancing in calling for Zuma to step down.
Hogan lashed out at Zuma suggesting that if he had "ears to hear and eyes to see" he could not have hired and fired so many finance ministers over the last few years.
"You would not have recalled one of our finest finance ministers from an international road show," she said in reference to former minister Pravin Gordhan who was axed this week during a cabinet reshuffle.
Gordhan, and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas’s, appearances at the memorial service caused the overflowing crowd of hundreds at the Johannesburg City Hall to rise up in honour, as did that of axed tourism minister, Derek Hanekom, and fired public service and administration minister, Ngoako Ramatlhodi.
Hogan also said that Zuma should have fired Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, and declared that a nuclear deal in which he is alleged to be involved would "be the destruction of all of us".
With steely fury, Hogan spoke out as if directly addressing Zuma. "You have sacrificed everything we stood for on an altar of corruption, greed and more greed...
"Mr President, this country is not for sale and a people united will never be defeated."
Hogan dismissed the last-minute cancellation of her late husband's state memorial as a sign of a terrified leadership. "They are so fearful of even his voice that they saw fit to cancel his commemoration because they were afraid it was going to become…" she declared before being drowned out by a crowd calling for Zuma to go.
The memorial, was originally to be held jointly by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the SA Communist Party, however following the cancellation of a state memorial, the Gauteng ANC also joined in on the commemoration ceremony.
Hogan, herself a stalwart of the anti-apartheid struggle as well as a former minister of health and of public enterprises, earlier spoke emotionally on a more personal note about her relationship with Kathrada.
"In all the pain I have been suffering and all the grief I feel, I just say thank you, thank you, for all those wonderful years with you."
Kathrada died on Tuesday morning, and his funeral service was held at West Park cemetery in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Zuma was asked by Kathrada’s family not to attend the funeral.